Back on Stage and Speaking Out

Image of a group of 9 people in front of a banner reading Road Accident Fund.  The people are of diverse genders and races, with one woman being a wheelchair user and another woman being a white cane user indicating she is blind.

Being up on stage and sharing my thoughts about inclusion and diversity in the workplace has to be one of my favourite things to do. Which is why I was so excited to find myself standing in front of an audience again as a keynote speaker at a Road Accident Fund disability awareness day recently. And what a fun event it was!

For me, there were three great opportunities that came out of this particular event. The first I’ve already mentioned – the chance to speak on a topic that is fundamentally important to me. Second was the amazing connections I made during that event – connections that I hope will allow me to increase the reach of the work I do. And thirdly, I premiered a brand new keynote, and it is a presentation I plan to use again in the future because of the audience response it received.

My brief from the client, Creative Space Media, was to help the audience understand how I managed to succeed despite society’s perception of disability being both disabling and limiting. That was a challenge I couldn’t resist and it allowed me to speak openly and honestly about my life and my refusal to buy-in to the way that society may view me because of my blindness. And, judging by the questions that followed my presentation, it certainly sounded like my message landed well.

I was thrilled by the way my talk was received, of course. But even that was overshadowed by the amazing people I had the opportunity to work with at the event. Creative Space Media were a pleasure to work with. They were professional and wonderfully accommodating of my needs as a blind speaker, allowing me to set up a system that would support any area where I might encounter problems, from arriving at the venue (a large hotel and conference event space in Cape Town), to providing a disability-aware audio-visual team member at the event. And in providing me with the contact details for them so I could plan ahead of time.

My second exciting connection was with the organisation Disability Connect, who ran the event, and their fantastic MC, Siyabonga Xaba, who was also a treat to work with. Since then I’ve been delving more deeply into what Disability Connect does and would love to have the opportunity to work with them again as well. I have spent many hours diving into the resources on their website and am excited by what they’re doing in the disability space.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I was able to meet and chat with the other speaker at the event, social activist and disability entrepreneur, Notukela Makohliso. She wowed me with her powerful message and her skill with storytelling. And I was by no means alone in my response, if the audience reaction was anything to go by. One of Notukela’s messages that spoke most strongly to me was her insistence that giving persons with disability a sense of belonging is an essential part of inclusion work, and one that is seldom really integrated.

Since the event, Notukela and I have been chatting on WhatsApp and I hope to be able to feature her story and phenomenal work on my podcast, A Different Way of Seeing, in the near future. Watch out for that episode and I’m sure you’ll be bowled over by Notukela, just as I have been!

Oh, and if you aren’t already connected with Disability Connect, you an find out more about them at or on Facebook at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *