MY STORY | Chasing bubbles as a toddler left me with a traumatic brain injury

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Paul Razzano Peters has cerebral palsy after being hit by a car as a child. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Paul Razzano Peters has cerebral palsy after being hit by a car as a child. (PHOTO: Supplied)

He was a playful little boy – just three years old and delighted to be chasing bubbles blown by his five-year-old big brother and four-year-old cousin – but, in an instant, his life changed forever.

Paul Razzano Peters (now 30) from Hanover Park, Cape Town, didn’t have a care in the world as he charged into the road, gleefully pursuing the elusive bubbles – and oblivious to the oncoming car. He tells YOU his story.

It was 10 December 1994, and we were visiting family in Boksburg [now in Gauteng]. My older brother, Delmaine, my late cousin Javase and I were playing with bubbles that we made using water and soap. We all chased after the bubbles, and I was running after them when I was hit by a car.

READ MORE | Doctors said I wouldn't ever be able to live a normal life but I proved them wrong

I was flung 3m into the air and hit my head on the tarmac. Then God appeared to me. He showed me three doors – one white, one yellow and one red. He told me to choose a door, and I chose the yellow door. I saw a light and woke up in hospital. 

family, paul peters
Paul (left) aged one with his mom, Shanaaz Arendse, and brother, Delmaine Peters. (PHOTO: Supplied)

I’d been in a coma for three weeks, having sustained a traumatic brain injury that affected my muscles and speech.

As a result of the crash I had cerebral palsy, and hemiplegia [partial paralysis on one side of the body] and I’m wheelchair-bound. My one eye was completely shut.

I had to attend speech therapy and physiotherapy. I didn’t understand everything that was happening but it felt good to strengthen my body. When I learnt to talk again, it felt good to be able to communicate. 

accident, paul razano peters, brain injury, disabi
Paul says his mom is his pillar of strength. (PHOTO: Supplied)

I attended Frances Vorwerg School in Johannesburg. It's a special-needs school, but despite this I was often bullied because of my injuries. But I did make a lot of friends, who are still my friends today.

I was invited to do ballroom dancing while I was in high school, which I enjoyed. I was 16 at the time. My partner was Samantha Bartlett, and she was also in a motorised chair.

I stopped dancing because we moved to Durban. After finishing school in 2009, I started my own jewellery business, which I ran for about three or four years.

I then decided I wanted to give back to others, so I helped raise funds for a soup kitchen at my old school. They needed money for a stove.

I became a Christian at 19 after moving to Cape Town, and I wanted to help others who were going through difficult times. I devoted my time to Bible studies and completed a bachelor's certificate at a Bible college. I started going to churches, sharing my testimony and doing evangelism. 

Since the pandemic, I mostly do street evangelism in Hanover Park. I do one-on-one sessions with people and on Fridays I run a children's ministry.

Once things get better, I’ll continue to minister at schools and churches. I don’t get paid for this, and I survive on a disability grant, but I do it because it’s my passion. 

I do have moments where I struggle with what happened to me, but I go to the Lord and remind myself I must keep on going. I’m independent, but I have physical needs.

I live with my mother, stepfather and half-brothers, who help me.

I need help bathing, my clothes need washing and I need to take muscle relaxants. But I can feed myself and brush my teeth. 

accident, paul razano peters, brain injury, disabi
His book, Coming into the Light, which he co-wrote with his mom, is available on (PHOTO: Supplied)

Seven years ago I started writing a book, Coming into the Light, with my mother, Shanaaz Arendse. We wrote about my life, dealing with trauma and my parents’ divorce when I was a year old, which had made me angry for a long time.

In the book I encourage others not to give up hope.

I want others to learn how to deal with change in a positive way. It’s supposed to be a form of counselling for people living with disabilities as well as for able-bodied people. The book, which is available on, was self-published in December. We have sold 45 copies so far.

No matter who you are, you’re born with a purpose and must never give up.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()