MBOMBELA – Ms Lender Malope, known to her fans as “Mancane,” has been living with a disability for 22 years.
For the first time, she opened up about her disability as being the result of road negligence, and urges motorists not to drink and drive, buckle up, be vigilant, rest when tired and respect road signs.
“Being involved in a car accident and being told that you’ll be spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair is a traumatic experience; most people find it difficult to accept,” she advocated.
Adjusting to this “new life” presented many difficulties and challenges for both her and her family.
She had to modify the structure of her home to suit her immobility, which was an expensive exercise. It was also painful for her to lose friends as a result of not being able to adjust to her disability, but that never stopped her from achieving her dreams and making new friends.
Mancane has a positive attitude and with the support of her family and Ligwalagwala FM, she remains optimistic and has let go of any resentment and anger she may have held against her perpetrator.
She wanted her plea for road safety heard, and not only limited to Disability Month but to prepare South Africans to tread cautiously, what with Easter holidays under way.
Mancane said someone else’s carelessness on the road meant that everything she did now had to be planned or done with additional time.
“For someone like me who is spontaneous, it took some getting used to. I had to devise ways to do things quicker and to be creative.”
Despite her difficulties, Mancane is well groomed and loves looking presentable.
“I enjoy being fashionable and wanted to continue to dress as I please.” Mancane pursued her dream of entering beauty pageants and in 2002, won the Miss Confidence South Africa competition, a beauty contest for young women with disabilities.
She holds a diploma in public relations. Mancane joined Ligwalagwala FM in 2004 – almost 10 years after her accident and
currently hosts the Asikhuleni Kiddies Show on Kusile Mzansi from 09:00 and 10:00.
Working for Ligwalagwala FM has meant a lot to her as a person with a disability, as most do not get such opportunities.
The station is open to her promoting initiatives around disability and allowing her to lead those initiatives on the ground, which she finds healing.
She is also a member of the SABC National Disability Committee, representing people with disabilities in Mpumalanga. Her workplace is fairly accessible and enables her to move around with ease.
Mancane is hopeful that she will walk again; in the meantime, she will stand against any disregard for road rules to
save lives and to prevent a situation like hers from happening to someone else.