The Guard

The Truth On Board

Embracing our differences on Mandela day

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – Zoleka Dotwana the director of student affairs from UFS said the legacy and values left by tata Nelson Mandela will help everyone facing different challenges overcome them while working together as a community.

She said this during Mandela day celebration which was held at Thiboloha which the University of the Free State’s (UFS) department of community engagement alongside the Agape foundation and the Department of Social Development (DSD) joined hands to spend their Mandela day with the children of Thiboloha who are living with disabilities and deserve acts of kindness and solidarity.

“When we express ubuntu we become human, we must show a bit of kindness to each other and practise the values of ubuntu. People living with disabilities need us to treat them with respect and kindness and we are here to show that they are part of us and that we are empathetic towards what others are going through,” Dotwana said.

Daniel Moloi from Agape said that people living with disabilities experience a lot of discrimination and that sharing this special day with them is an act of kindness and solidarity to say that the community needs to support people living with disabilities and that his organisation and all the people here support and recognise the remarkable work that the staff at Thiboloha is doing.

The purpose of the day was to spend time assisting with the cleaning of classrooms and some of the hostel rooms where the children who live at Thiboloha are accommodated and to hand over gifts collected and contributed by students from UFS.

Human rights ambassador Sebenzile Mvelase a student from UFS said that in the spirit of Mandela day we must confront the barriers that are present in our communities and try to create a more inclusive society. “Mandela once said that ‘it always seems impossible until it is done.’ No one is defined by their disability and together we can shape a world that is better for all of us regardless of our ability or disability,” Mvelase said.

The Department of Social Development also spent their day at Thiboloha and this is what Kgaketla Tankiso from DSD had to say, “The work that the staff here is doing is worthy of being lauded because taking care of children with disabilities can only be done with love and kindness that is why it is clear that the staff working here have the spirit of ubuntu.”