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Nonhlanhla Ntuli and her fellow Casual Day Ambassadors for Casual Day 2018


Kempton’s Nonhlanhla Ntuli is an activist for equity this Casual Day and every day
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When she was 11 years old, Nonhlanha Ntuli was travelling with her parents when the family was involved in a partial head-on collision. Both her mom and dad escaped with minor injuries, but Nonhlanhla was flung forward in the car, and her spine was crushed. She’s been in a wheelchair ever since.

Now 27-year-old Nonhlanhla is happily married to Clint (a registered dietician who she met in 2010), and the couple are proud parents to Pascale, a delightful 7-month-old baby girl. The family lives in Kempton Park.

Casual Day is a big day every year in the family’s life. Always held on the first Friday in September, Casual Day asks South Africans to buy a Casual Day sticker, dress according to theme, and be part of a growing call for equity and universal access to human rights.Ado

The 2018 Casual Day theme is Be an Everyday Hero with Persons with Disabilities. It’s a theme that Nonhlanhla feels very strongly about because, she says, persons with disabilities are the real heroes in the world. “We’re just so much stronger than average people. We have to be. We need to get on in a world that’s not made for us, and that excludes us.”

Nonhlanhla remembers being discharged after the car crash in 2002. She’d been in hospital for four months undergoing various surgeries and rehabilitative therapy. She insisted on going back to her old school. Everyone there welcomed her return with open arms. “But it was dreadful,” she says. “There were stairs everywhere: into class, onto the playing fields, into the school hall, to the tuck shop. I had to spend all day sitting in the principal’s office because I could not get anywhere in my wheelchair.”

After a few months, her family gave up, and Nonhlanhla moved to a school for children with disabilities. “Life began anew for me,” she says grinning. “Suddenly I was in an environment where disability was normalised. Where it was easy to do things: to play sport, to spend time with my friends, to do really well academically. When you’re living in a world that’s designed to accommodate you, you live a successful life.”

 

Today, Nonhlanhla is an activist for disability rights and, to her, this is what Casual Day stands for. “When you buy a Casual Day sticker, you’re not just giving money to persons with disabilities. You’re saying you support us in our demand for an equitable, fair world. You’re being a hero with us and you’re aligning to our cause.”

There’s no reason at all for persons with disabilities not to excel in whatever they choose to do. “Just give us the means to work, to study, to compete and we’ll be there,” Nonhlanhla says. “This Casual Day, your sticker proves to the world that you understand this, and that you support human rights for everybody.”

Get your R10 Casual Day sticker from Edgars, Edgars Active, Jet, Jetmart, CNA, Boardmans, Game, Dionwired, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Alpha Pharm or Express Stores nationwide. Visit www.casualday.co.za for more information and wear your sticker on Friday, 7 September 2018.

About the Author

Able online

Hi, I’m Able the Casual Day mascot and ambassador for disability. I encourage you to see the ABILITY in people and not the dis-ABILITY. We’re all able, we can all live our fullest lives if the barriers are removed. Join me each year, on the first Friday of September and raise funds to support organisations that render services in the field of disability. This year Casual Day falls on Friday, 7 September. Your donation of R10 for a sticker makes a difference and improves lives all across South Africa.

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