Marlin aims high

2017-10-31 06:01
Marlin Kolbee was awarded the Disabled Person of the Year Award at the provincial police awards ceremony.PHOTO: Nicole mcCain

Marlin Kolbee was awarded the Disabled Person of the Year Award at the provincial police awards ceremony.PHOTO: Nicole mcCain

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As a small child, Marlin Kolbee dreamt of being a police officer. After losing his sight 35 years ago, he thought his dream had come to an end.

He, however, found a way to bring his skills to Cape Town Central Police Station and was recently awarded the Disabled Person of the Year Award at the provincial police awards ceremony.

“As a child I wanted to be a policeman but when I lost my sight I [was no longer able to]. But in this job I can still serve my community by helping them when they call in,” he says.

Kolbee had been working in a call centre for an insurance company, but found himself without a job as cuts were made during the recession in 2009.

He decided to apply instead for a government position and sent his CV to several police stations.

He was appointed at Cape Town Central in 2011.

Kolbee works in the station’s radio room, where he answers calls and diverts them to the correct­extensions.

He also takes complaints and dispatches a vehicle to them, monitoring that there is a response time of 15 minutes.

Although his colleagues are very helpful, especially when it comes to filling out paperwork, Kolbee still faces some challenges.

“Sometimes people come into the room and say nothing,” he explains. “Or when I go to the toilet, people queueing for help at the service centre don’t move out of the way for me and I bump into them.”

Kolbee lost his sight during surgery to remove a brain tumour when he was five years old. It was initially difficult but he has now come to terms with his disability and leads a full life despite it.

He plays blind cricket for the League of the Friends of the Blind and was selected to represent the South African team in 2012 and 2014. In 2013, he captained the provincial side.

“When I still worked in a call centre, I learnt that you need to set yourself goals. If you’re not positive, you get nowhere in life. If you don’t do it for yourself, no-one will do it for you,” he says.

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