Tributes Excellence 2015
Tomorrow will be a landmark for me – I started writing my book, A Different Way of Seeing: My Life without Sight, on 8 June last year – with 2016 being a leap year, that makes it 365 days since I began this particular journey…
You know, I’d always thought that creating the text would be the hardest (and longest) part of writing a book, but recent history has proved me wrong. After all, the actual writing only took me 7 weeks. Well might you ask what I’ve been doing for the rest of the time!
So, here’s a status check: the text is complete and has been edited, the foreword has been written (more on that later) and I am awaiting brief testimonials from colleagues to go on the back cover. Once I have those, the cover will be designed, the complete text will be proof read and typeset, and I will proceed to printing and online publishing.
On the subject of the foreword, I was thrilled when author, inspirational speaker creative artist, and friend, Musa E Zulu agreed to write the foreword for me. I’ve mentioned Musa in previous articles I’ve written. We first met over 25 years ago before I lost my sight and before the car accident that left Musa in a wheelchair. Musa is the creative Director of Valhalla Arts, and is responsible for the annual Tributes Excellence Awards that honour women with disabilities who have excelled in their fields, of which I was a recipient last year.
So, that’s where I am now on the book. I can’t give you a definite date when it will (eventually) be available, but I can assure you that the end is in sight!
To find out more about the remarkable Musa E Zulu: www.valhallaarts.co.za
Earlier today I submitted an article for the coming book about the recent Tributes Excellence Awards in Mangaung, South Africa at which I received the award for the category of literature and education And I’ve just got a great response from Musa E Zulu, who is putting the book together – mail extracted below:
“Wow! Man, this is packed with emotion and the choice of words employed is the true mirror image of an author extraordinary!”
I’ll let everyone know when the book comes out…
The last month has been a whirlwind of activity, from my initial suspicion when I received the e-mail congratulating me on being awarded a Tributes Excellence award for 2015, culminating in the awards banquet two nights ago.
You must understand the reasons for my initial suspicion – the mail I received was through my website, was related to an award that I had never heard of, was from someone whose name I didn’t recognise, and a few speaking friends had recently received fairly similar scams. So I was somewhat suspicious, as most people would have been. However, after some investigation, not only did the whole thing turn out to be legitimate, but it also turned out that the award put me back into contact with someone I had known when I was studying at the university of KwaZulu Natal, back in the days before I lost my sight.
To explain the whole thing would take far more than just a single post, but perhaps a little background might be of help: the Tributes excellence Awards are awards that are bestowed annually to women with disabilities who are recognised as having excelled in their fields. The list of previous recipients numbers some truly incredible women – to find out the calibre of women who have been recognised, you can take a look at the Tributes website: www.tributessa.co.za
And so, we, the 2015 Tributes Excellence recipients, and our traveling companions, spent a few days in Mangaung (or Bloemfontein, for those of you who know it by that name), being treated to a number of events, experiences and celebrations, courtesy of the Mangaung Municipality. I found the cultural tour of Mangaung of particular interest with my background and love of history, and was moved by our visit to Amelia House, a home for children with severe Cerebral Palsy.
The Tributes Award Ceremony was quite an event, with several government dignitaries from local and national government in attendance, and an audience of around 400 people.
But for me the most lasting impression of the Tributes Excellence 2015 experience will remain the relationships I built with the 12 amazing women who were honoured as this year’s Tributes Excellence award recipients. I was impressed, humbled, motivated, amazed and inspired by the passion and dedication shown by each of the women who were recognised, each of whom is playing a role in making Southern Africa a better place for those who are differently-abled.