My Point of View
Some people do good to look good, some do good to feel good and others just can’t seem to get the combination right!
Now I do not want to bash, insultor upset anyone who assists in making the world a better place for everyone …BUT! Sometimes little details are overlooked and compromises are made in the name of helping out. When it comes to quadriplegics, for example, their needs can be very different from those of paraplegics. Take transport – specialised, accessible vehicles with a hoist and tie downs are required to accommodate quads, whereas many paras are quite capable of transferring into a standard vehicle.
Each and every person is unique, and wants to be treated as an individual, and yet people with a disability are constantly categorised, generalised, and treated as a collective. The best way to avoid making this mistake is to consult and communicate with the person, or people, you are seeking to assist.
Accommodation is a perfect example of where frustration can be avoided. Research and forward planning is essential by both the provider and the consumer when it comes to booking suitable accommodation, and a wealth of information is available from the experts on this subject.
I mention transport and accommodation.I can also relate countless stories about theatres and cinemas but, in summer, one tends to frequent outdoor venues. I would like to share with you my disappointment and frustration with the accessibility at two famous sporting arenas.
In 2007 I went to watch BafanaBafana play Zambia at the Newlands stadium. The tickets were affordable, the venue close to home and the transport free. However … this is a rugby stadium and, in 2007, the arrangements to accommodate spectators with disabilities were not good. The viewing area was behind the goalpost and we could, just about, see the players’ shoulders over the advertising boards! Thank goodness for the 2010 World Cup that helped take care of some of these negative aspects!
The second instance happened more recently. Thanks to the foresight of the late Mr Brian Smith, when he was chairperson of the Western Province Motor Club (WPMC), a section of a stand atthe Killarney Racetrack was made accessible to wheelchair users and, very generously, a few tickets are made available at racing events at this venue. They bring much excitement into the lives of many a Capetonian, wheelchair-using, race enthusiast as we are able to experience the exhilaration of the racetrack. Even the heat of summer, a 35 degree scorcher of a day, could not distract me from enjoying my outing! But the view was so disappointing. Even the beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain seemed removed from me through the obligatory wire fence.
As much as I appreciate the kind gesture of the WPMC, and value the camaraderie from the fans in the stands, I do feel that we miss out at this spectacular venue. Perhaps, with some careful thought and consideration, my viewpoint could be changed and I could see things more clearly.