"A drunk driver left me paralyzed for life at just 3 years old"

Nobathembu Peter is not letting her disability deter her from her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm (PHOTO: Supplied
Nobathembu Peter is not letting her disability deter her from her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm (PHOTO: Supplied

Now, the 25-year-old is finally sharing her story and how she is not letting her disability deter her from her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm.

This is her story.

“I was on my way to church with a group of kids from my neighborhood when a drunk driver drove into me. I don't remember anything that happened that day because I was only three years old but I do know that the driver was prosecuted.

However, due to the injuries sustained on my spine, doctors said that I would never be able to walk again.

Life was not easy growing up with a disability because of what people said about disabled people which played a big role on my self-esteem.

Nobathembu Peter

Being the middle child of five children, my parents have not treated me any different from my siblings. I still have to do house chores just like everyone else. My family has supported me a lot even though I sometimes felt like they were limiting me because of my disability.

My siblings also learnt to understand that being disabled doesn't mean I'm any different from them.

I was in my teens when I started to notice the many misconceptions around my disability especially the typical stereotypes made against people with disabilities.

I believe that I was born a fighter and most of the time I would just fight my way out of such experiences where I felt discriminated against.

My dream as a young girl with a disability has always been to motivate and inspire others.

I remember during lunch breaks in school I used to day dream being in front of a big audience motivating and uplifting people.

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Even though I decided to venture into counselling and communications after school, studying fashion has always been one of my biggest dreams.

I haven’t given up on my dream of becoming a fashion designer, it’s still something I would like to pursue in the near future along with modeling – particularly because I have seen a great exclusion of disabled people in the fashion industry.

I hardly see people with disabilities being featured in magazines for any other reasons besides being ‘disabled’. I want to open doors for people living with disabilities who want to be part of the fashion industry, despite the discrimination we experience on a daily basis. 

I really want to make a difference for people in South Africa living with a disability.

My advice to anyone who is going through life changing events:

Be patient with yourself. We don't become strong overnight but we become strong by overcoming obstacles and challenges. Everything happens for a reason and how we respond to life's challenges is all in our power.”

This story was submitted to DRUM and has been minimally edited. If you want to tell your story email Lesego.Mkhize@drum.co.za.

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