A young blind man named Thabang Manamela has finally achieved his dream of becoming a lawyer as he bagged a master’s degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Thabang Manamel was at birth partially blind and was diagnosed with glaucoma, which resulted in him losing his eyesight at an early age. He lost a substantial part of his eyesight but that did not stop him from achieving his dreams.
Manamel obtained his first bachelor’s degree in International relations and affairs from the University Of Pretoria and bagged his second degree in Law (LLB) from the same university.
During an interview with Sowetanlive, he mentioned that he managed to attend classes using a computer, but he found it difficult since he was already used to using Braille, a tactile writing system employed by individuals with visual impairments, including those who are blind, deafblind, or have limited vision.
“The institution was huge and I had to share a lecture room with more than 400 people, which was way different from my high school where I shared a classroom with only 12 pupils. I used to rely on braille but when I joined UP, I had to fully rely on computers,” he said.
Manamel added that he would record all his lectures and type up his notes using a computer software program that enables visually impaired people to read text on a computer screen with time he was able to adapt to the new environment and with the help of his colleagues, moving around was easy.
“However, with time it got better and the institution’s disability office helped me to get my way around campus. They also helped me with extra time for tests and exams. I had friends who helped me navigate around the campus and these days I know all the corners of UP campuses,” he said.
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He said that another serious challenge he experienced was people’s attitudes, which really affected him. “There are those who think the quality of what you can give is less important because of your situation,” Manamela said.
“But I learned to teach people how to treat me. Never allow people around you to ever think of you through the prism of disability. As a result, ask for and receive as little help as possible from people around you,” he added.
Now he has bagged his Masters of Law (LLM) in Law and Political Justice from the University of Pretoria.
In 2022, Manamela was called into the bar as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa. He attributed his success to his mother and grandmother for their support and encouragement.
”I am delighted to share that I have been admitted as an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa. I am indebted to my mother and grandmother for helping me find my feet amidst the storms of life, I am richer for it,” he wrote on his LinkedIn.