It's everyone’s responsibility to help people with disabilities to shine – Lucas Radebe

Lucas Radebe
Lucas Radebe
Image: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times

Watching his nephew navigate life as a person living with disability has inspired football legend Lucas Radebe’s involvement in initiatives that support the community.

As SA marks National Disability Month, the Leeds United and Kaizer Chiefs legend said it was everyone’s responsibility to do their part to help people living with disabilities to shine.

“My nephew almost drowned in a pool when he was a baby, and the accident affected his brain, which resulted in his disability. He is in his 20s now, and I cannot help but admire his courage,” Radebe said.

‘’Unfortunately, as someone who has friends that are living with a disability I have seen people treat them differently. My nephew is not the only disabled person in my life; I have many, including a blind close friend. It is everyone’s duty to reject stigma, shy away from isolating them because that dampens their light,” he said.

Instead, he says their potential should be recognised and opportunities that use their skills created.

“They are capable of being productive members of society, and should get jobs like everyone else.” The former Bafana Bafana captain, who was at hand to highlight the cause in partnership with Betway at the KwaThema Disability Sports Club in KwaThema on Friday, said the work should not only be of importance for just one month.

With limited resources at its disposal, the sports club has still managed to produce some of the country’s top performing athletes, which includes Zanele Situ – a two-time gold medallist in javelin – at the Paralympics and IPC World Championships.

As part of recognising the club’s work, Betway donated sporting equipment and apparel to the value of R45,000 to ensure it can continue to deliver on its mission of providing access and an opportunities to athletes who have disabilities.

“The corporate community should look to not only shine the spotlight on glamorous individuals, but to embrace all sectors of our nation. In rural areas, some people don’t even have wheelchairs. And in this era of Covid-19, when even people who don’t have a disability to cope with are struggling, you can imagine how much more at risk they are,” he said.

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