Wheelchair bound woman boogies up a storm to Jerusalema

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Charne Hugo has never let her disability stop her from living a full life (Photo: Supplied)
Charne Hugo has never let her disability stop her from living a full life (Photo: Supplied)

The record-breaking single has more than 160 million views on YouTube and the numbers keep growing as more and more people take part in the Jerusalema dance challenge – and being in a wheelchair hasn’t prevented Charne Hugo from getting in on the fun.

Using her arms and shoulders and swinging her wheelchair from side-to-side, Charne (29) has created her own version of the popular dance challenge as she sings along to the smash hit.

The bubbly young woman from De Waterkant in Cape Town, has never let her disability stop her from living a full life. She’s participated in singing competitions, beauty pageants and gone scuba diving. “I don’t see it as a disability,” she says, “I see it as a different ability.

“I want to inspire people and tell them they can do anything.”

Charne was born with a narrowed aorta and underwent surgery to correct it when she was five years old. But due to complications during her heart surgery, she lost the use of her legs.

The day following her surgery she says doctors were surprised “because I was sitting up in bed and singing to everyone”.

She’s always loved singing and entered South Africa’s Got Talent and Idols SA in the hope of carving a career for herself. “I never thought I’d make it to the final round of Idols, that was beyond my wildest dreams,” she tells us. 

She may not have won the sixth season of the singing show, but it didn’t stop her from pursuing other passions. Earlier this year Charne was crowned Top Model South Africa 2020. She was one of eight people recognised in the diversity category, which allows people living with disabilities to enter the pageant.

Yet singing is still her first love and Charne has gained a following on social media for her cover song recordings. Now she’s working on her debut album, which she hopes will be released in time for the festive season. “I try everything out of the boundaries to show people they can do it as well,” she says. “You’re not defined by your chair so you can do anything.”

Check out the cover songs Charne has done:

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