As students living with disabilities, we will continue to advocate for our rights and holistic wellbeing, to ensure that we are not discriminated against or called incapable because  of our disability,” said Siyabonga Mnisi, BOLD Committee’s Academic Officer. PDBY interviewed Mnisi, a partially blind student, about the struggles faced by students living with disabilities within the student community.

Representation at UP

UP has a Disability Unit that advocates for the inclusion of students living with disabilities. Through the help of the Transformation Office, the Disability Unit has created a committee for students living with disabilities, the BOLD Committee, formerly known as the BOLD Society. The purpose of the BOLD Committee is to ensure Living with disabilities: Featuring Siyabonga Mnisi that students living with disabilities are catered for and represented within the UP community. Mnisi told PDBY that, “due to the Disability Unit and its support, the BOLD Committee has been able to spearhead initiatives and projects to ensure that no student living with disability gets left behind socially [or] academically.” Through the BOLD
Committee, the Disability Unit “has made it its duty to create an environment that caters to students living with disabilities”.

Settling in as an individual living with a disability

“Settling and fitting in as a student living with a disability is hard, especially in a university setting, so I will create a platform of my own,” said Mnisi. Mnisi will be organising an event in collaboration with the Disability Unit that will advocate for the rights of students living with disabilities. Mnisi said that after the event, students will be more aware of the struggles faced by students living with disabilities. Hopefully, both staff and students will start creating a conducive student community for students living with disabilities. “In my residence, Tuks Village, when I book for food, there is no screen that caters for my disability, so I continuously have to explain my condition to people for help,” shared Mnisi. It is necessary for the student body to be aware of the issues and challenges surrounding students with disabilities, and that is what the initiatives of the BOLD Committee and future event aim to do.

If students want to reach out to the Disability Unit, they can contact:

  • Email: du@up.ac.za/disabilityconcessions@up.ac.za
  • Tel: 012 420 2064.
  • To contact BOLD Committee, students can dm the society via Instagram @beyond_bold_up.
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