Deaf dancer shows life is so much more than disability

2015-06-23 06:00
Simone Botha in her lead role of Phrygia

Simone Botha in her lead role of Phrygia

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Profoundly deaf professional ballet dancer Simone Botha has had to overcome major obstacles to become a dancer, but she wants no pity.

“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me and say, ‘Oh shame, she is deaf’. That’s life. There is no point sitting on a heap feeling sorry for our inabilities.

“The real reason of life is to see what we can do with the bodies we were given. How far are we willing to go? I really look forward to the unknown challenges that the rest of my life will throw at me. It’s what makes it exciting.”

Botha, a Cape Town Casual Day ambassador, issued the annual challenge to the youth of South Africa to spring into action for persons with disabilities.

“My love for the stage has made it very easy for me to be a voice for the hearing impaired as both an ambassador and motivational speaker.

“If I can change one person’s life a day or just inspire somebody to be the same change for somebody else, then I am thrilled,” she says.

Casual Day ambassadors are out in force to tell South Africans that Casual Day is on Friday 4 September this year and the theme is Spring into Action.

In honour of Youth Month, ambassadors are encouraging young people to follow their lead and volunteer for Casual Day by helping organisations to raise donations for stickers and to get their schools to celebrate the day.

Casual Day ambassadors are asking communities to pay attention to youth with disabilities in this Youth Month.

“I am so honoured to have been appointed as a Casual Day Ambassador. Casual Day is a household name and really well supported by the public. Being a part of this platform is an amazing stepping stone for me, but at the same time it is an even bigger responsibility to further educate the public about hearing impairment. I hope that this year will reach an even higher benchmark of success than last year.”

Simone’s latest stage appearance is in Veronica Paeper’s large scale production, A Spartacus of Africa, which is on at Artscape from 27 June to 12 July. She has just completed the production’s run at the Joburg Theatre, where she performed in the lead role of Phrygia.

She is encouraging all mainstream schools to come on board and partner with the schools for learners with disabilities in their areas. “Getting learner in a school environment to participate in Casual Day is one of the best ways of raising awareness for persons with disabilities, so spring into action for this year’s campaign.”

Casual Day is South Africa’s most successful fundraising project for persons with disabilities – and the amount raised for last year has climbed to R28 million. Sponsored by The Edcon Group, Casual Day is the flagship project of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa.

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