Karabo Nguyuza was born 31 March 1990. She is doing a learnership at Etana Insurance Company and is a single mother of a 2 year-old boy. Rolling Inspiration met Karabo at the INSETA awards where she was awarded with the Young Leader Award of 2011.
After completing matric in 2008 Karabo went to varsity (TUT in Pretoria) to study fashion and modelling but had to drop out due to financial problems when her father passed away as he had been paying her fees. It was a double blow for Karabo as "I was doing this course because I love fashion and I am talented when it comes to fashion."
She continues her story. "I am ayoung independent lady of 21 living with disability. I became disabled when I was 14 as I didn't get vaccinated against polio when I was young. After becoming disabled my life completely changed. I had to take medication every day, I started to have seizures and I had to leave my school and go to a special school for people living with disabilities."
"After I found out that I would haveto live with this disability I found it hard to accept, I didn't cope and I have still not fully accepted my disability, even now. There was a point where I tried to commit suicide. There are some days when I sit in my room and look at myself and start crying because my double disability (polio and epilepsy) is an issue that I really can't accept and cope with. Seeing myself no longer able to do the things I used to do is a barrier in my life."
"My life improved when I went to the special school where I saw people with worse disabilities than mine. When they shared their stories with me I become motivated. They encouraged me to play wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball which I am busy with at the moment. I wish to be a top sports lady one day!"
"I am the only one who is disabled in the entire company. I feel like I am an ambassador for other disabled people as Etana has been opened up to the reality of disability through me. I also helped to found a CSR (CorporateSocial Responsibility) committee at Etana. Our committee has, together with the JHB Branch and the whole of Etana, helped many people in need. In 2011 I initiated a project to help the Helen Franz School with blankets and warm clothes for winter. Mandela Day was a highlight for us as we helped the Sparrows Special School for Children with Special Needs by cooking food for them and cleaning their literacy garden. We also helped the Duduza community to recover from the devastation left by a tornado and were able to donate numerous essentials to the community."
For these activities INSETA recognized Karabo and nominated her fortheir Young Leader of the Year category in the INSETA National Disability Awards. "My company is so caring towards me and is user friendly for all kinds of disability so I them for the Company Award. The ceremony took place 2 December and I was awarded the Young Leader of the Year Award for 2011! On Wednesday the next week an article about me was published in The Star Business Report."
Karabo's role model is Oprah Winfrey, "She is a strong, independent woman and she helps people to build their self confidence. I want to be even more like her than she is!! My dream is to one day represent people with disability in the media. I also want to travel the world. Two years from now I want to be helping people living with disability, be a top model, sports legend, a business woman, a good mother to my boy and a motivation to all disabled people worldwide."