Nelisiwe the go-getter

2019-06-26 06:02
Nelisiwe Sibiya recently competed at the Build for Better Adaptive South African Surfing Championships, held at the New Pier Beach in Durban, where 36 people with disabilities of all ages competed.PHOTO: supplied

Nelisiwe Sibiya recently competed at the Build for Better Adaptive South African Surfing Championships, held at the New Pier Beach in Durban, where 36 people with disabilities of all ages competed.PHOTO: supplied

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

HOT of the heels of competing at the Build for Better Adaptive South African Surfing Championships, held at the New Pier Beach in Durban, where 36 people with disabilities of all ages competed, the Echocaught up with Nelisiwe Sibiya, who represented Pietermaritzburg at the event, to find out more about her life and her experiences.

Sibiya, who started surfing in 2017, said that at first, being a disabled woman, thinking about surfing was a bit scary for her, especially considering the vast amount of water she would be surrounded by.

“I was a bit scared but at the same time I was excited. When I went in I did not want to get out and actually said to myself that I should have been doing this my entire life,” said Sibiya.

Having been disabled for most of her life, Sibiya said that she stayed at home until she was eight because her parents could not find a suitable school however she did not have a problem with being disabled and said she played like any other child in her neighbourhood.

“My cousin used to carry me when we went to play and she had no problem with it. Eventually I got my first wheelchair and I already knew how to get around in it,” said Sibiya.

Sibiya was diagnosed with kyphoscoliosis at the age of five but maintains that she has always been an independent person, stating that she gave her family quite the shock when she took a taxi for the first time without telling them.

“I told them that they will not always be here to take me from point A to point B and I have to learn to help myself,” said Sibiya, who added that her family did not like it but she did not give them a choice.

Currently studying criminology through Unisa, Sibiya says that she receives constant support from her loved ones but says that some people remain ignorant to the feelings of disabled people.

“It is sad the way able-bodied people look at us; they think that once you are in a wheelchair suddenly nothing of yours works. Some people talk about you to another person in front of you as if your ears don’t work,” she said.

Sibiya said her biggest struggle as a disabled person is transport. “There was this one time when I was at the taxi rank and it was getting late but no taxi driver wanted to help me so I sat there waiting to get to work and I finally broke down because no one wanted to take me. I sat there crying because that situation made me feel powerless,” said Sibiya, who after that day got a driver to take her from her flat to work.

A lover of life, Sibiya said that she also enjoys dancing and is part of the City Celebration dance and the Sinakho African Dance.

“I am currently looking for a sponsor to help me get a light wheelchair because it’s the thing I dream about most,” said Sibiya.

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.