Reader Profile - Nozi Manzi
Nozithembiso "Nozi" Manzi has a disease called Pyknodysostosis, which means she is shorter than the average person and suffers from bones that break easily, forcing her to rely on the use of crutches and wheelchairs to move around.
However, she has never allowed her disability to get in the way of her achievements.
Nozi started at Hope School as a live-in student in Grade 5, in 1997 when her parents relocated from the Eastern Cape. She flourished in this school environment that provided quality education, therapy and accommodation to physically disabled learners and by the time she reached Grade 10, she earned the Top Student Award. During the same year she was approached by a corporate sponsor and was exposed to the working environment during school holidays, assisting her in securing permanent employment after matriculating as Head Girl in 2004. She joined Sasol Oil as a Contact Centre Agent in January 2009, where her job entails processing fuel orders from various Sasol forecourts, as well as dealing with queries. Nozi is also a proud member of the company's Employment Equity (EE) Forum where she co-chairs the sub-committee for the people with disabilities.
This is the role I enjoy the most. With the help of great colleagues I help raise awareness for people with disabilities within the workplace.
"The biggest misconception people have about people with disabilities is that they think that we are incapable of thinking for ourselves. People still act surprised when a disabled person achieves something like getting a job and buying your own car, or even drive a car,"she says. "The biggest challenge for society to accept is that we can do everything that any other person can do even though it may be achieved differently to what society is used to.
My dream is that we would all live in a world where having a disability is part of life and is accepted as a norm. I want people to think of a sexy lady and envision a woman on crutches or in a wheelchair," says Nozi.