In Conversation with: Dumi Sithole
What is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities?
For me, International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is the time we highlight issues that people with disabilities face every day. We also look at achievements that have been made and things we want to see be done.
What does disability mean to you?
Disability means nothing to me, society is the one that still does not understand that we the same and have rights just like anyone else
What inspired the video?
I decided to do the video because I got tired of not seeing any African media platform that gives people with disabilities a place to speak up. Most videos or documentaries are made by people that speak FOR people with disabilities. I wanted to give us platform that we actually have a voice. I also wanted us to celebrate international day of persons with disabilities by reflecting how far we've come. Are we satisfied? Are things really changing or they the same? Give people with disabilities a platform and you will learn a lot. It was great that Hona Africa saw my vision and were willing to make this with me. A big thank you to Lawrence.
What do you hope people will get from watching the video?
I hope people and other media outlets get to give people with disabilities a platform to speak. I hope that by watching the video society gets to acknowledge that inclusion is important, accessibility is important, that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. Lack of education and unemployment is a serious and growing issues.
How does your disability affect you?
I face a lot of discrimination. People look at me and judge me just by my physical appearance alone. Before I even open my mouth any opportunity that might be on the table is taken away because of that. Lack of accessibility also affects my day to day living.
How would you advise people who aren't disabled to better deal with people who are disabled?
My advice would be just take an hour from you time to get to know people with disabilities. Get to know us and what we are about. When you think that you sort of understand, go and teach the next person. The more people get to understand disability struggles, the faster we break the norms of society and be more inclusive. Also stop pitying us or calling us an "inspiration' every time we do things that you normally do. You may mean well, but it is insulting. Be supportive, help us to fight for our rights, open more inclusive opportunities.