Aviwe Mado, who lost eyesight age 13, says only disability in life is bad attitude
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Pretoria - “The only disability in life is a bad attitude,” said Aviwe Mado, who lost his eyesight at 13. He has has proven the notion true after he recently graduated at the University of Pretoria (UP).
He graduated with a BSocSci degree in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies at UP’s autumn 2021 graduation season.
He started losing his eyesight at a young age and became blind at the age of 13. When there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel for Mado, who originally hails from the Eastern Cape, he made his mind up to move past the immediate problems and pursue his dreams.
He chose to move to Pretoria in pursuit of an education in a tertiary institution, which he admitted was the greatest risk he has ever taken.
It took a lot of getting used to, coupled with a strong support structure, he said.
His resilience and determination saw him through.
With the skill of having to listen attentively to navigate his way from place to place, the one skill that he would like to master is singing, inspired by his favourite singer Chris Brown, he said.
His disability did not, however, stop him from obtaining a degree and moving closer to his dream of working in the Constitutional Court, inspiring others, he said, and which he hopes to be doing in the next five years.
“Getting a degree from UP has set me apart from other graduates,” he said.
“The fact that I live with a disability but managed to get a degree is a win for me.
“It is also a motivation for people in my village that they too can achieve their goals,” he said.
Mado admitted that his first year was the hardest as he could not use a computer. Being in a new environment also threw a spanner in the works because he first had to familiarise himself with the surroundings.
Eventually, with some help from Juan Erwee, the university’s mobility trainer from the institution’s disability unit, Mado started relying more on different sources of technology than he did on humans for help.
“Over the past three years Mado has gone from being almost completely dependent on those around him to being a role model, and mentoring incoming students living with visual disabilities. I’ve always encouraged him to make use of technology to perform tasks so that he didn’t have to rely too much on other people,” Erwee said.
TuksSport Director Steven Ball, house parent for Mado’s residence at the Tuks Village, said it was an honour and a privilege to have had Mado there for the past three years.
“I have been fortunate to have engaged with him over many chats and was again reminded that your history, background and disability does not need to define who you are as a person and your willingness to succeed,” Ball said .
Mado said that in five years’ time he sees himself as a lawyer and that he will prosper despite his disability. “I will probably be working in the Constitutional Court inspiring others.”
He advises those living with disabilities to dream big and know their passion. “Don’t let your disability prevent you from achieving your goals. Greatness comes to those who act,” he said.