In commemoration of Youth Month, the Disability Rights Unit at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) is showcasing an extraordinary DUT student, Sabelo Ngema, who is a para surfer.
Ngema is a 21-year-old student from Eshowe, who completed his matric in 2019 and is currently a second-year student at DUT studying Business Law. He is also a businessman and a counsellor who hails comes from a family of six siblings. The dynamic Ngema is a para surfer, which enables people with physical disabilities to ride the ocean waves on a surfboard. He is a South African surfer who was ranked 7th the World Para Surfing championships in 2020.
Ngema is the first African male from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to represent South Africa in the international surfing arena. He has a colour pigmentation disorder (albinism) but this has not stopped him from doing extraordinary things. He has faced a few challenges in the institution such as adapting to the new procedures that were put into place due to COVID-19, such as online learning, network issues, NSFAS and other university issues.
He said that even though most of the DUT staff has been assisting him, there is still more that needs to be done to help students, especially with the current high rate of suicide cases. “However, we are all working for a better future for ourselves, family and a country,” he said.
Ngema also mentioned that talking to people who were passionate listeners, building a strong mindset and mentality, as well as seeking help and guidance were needed to help overcome the challenges. He stressed that the message he would like to impart to young people living with disabilities is: “You are more than what you think, and limits only exist to those who believe in them. You are more disabled if you see your disability as a disadvantage. Having a positive strong mindset is all about the choices we make, because we are who we are today because of the choices we made yesterday.”
Speaking on his diet plan and schedule, Ngema said, “So far I want to stay fit by eating healthy and keep my mind healthy, so I am consuming a lot of green foods and feeding my mind with new knowledge. My schedule includes gym, exercising, surfing, schoolwork, social and self-care. I train at least three or four times a week.”
Ngema aspires to be a successful businessman with a hope to help reduce high unemployment rate, especially among the youth.
Pictured: Sabelo Ngema