Wheels of change: Wheelchair beauty queen wants to change the status quo

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Lebohang Monyatsi is no stranger to adversity. She was diagnosed with polio at three-years-old, and has struggled to walk for most of her life. Although she has some movement in her legs, she prefers using a wheelchair to get by.

"I move much faster that way," she laughs.

She is South Africa's very first wheelchair runway model. Lebohang is currently in Warsaw, Poland, where she will be competing for the inaugural title of Miss Wheelchair World — a beauty pageant created specifically to change negative attitudes around people with disabilities. 

But her road to Warsaw was not without challenges either. 

"I went through hell - I took a loan to pay for my own aeroplane ticket, because I couldn't get sponsors."

She vowed to prevent her successors from facing similar challenges. 

Monyatsi spoke to News24 at her grandmother's house in Vryburg, in the North-West.

Lebohang was raised by her grandmother after her mother passed away. She was only nine-years-old at the time. 

It was Elizabeth who taught Lebohang to push the boundaries. 

"She always said to never give up. You try, you fall, you stand up and you try again, until you succeed. I will take that with me, forever." 

Lebohang has a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology and is currently studying BA Communication at UNISA. She dreams of being a full-time, international model. 

Watch for more. 


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