South African Man With Visual Impairment Overcomes Challenges, Bags Masters of Laws and Political Justice

Thabang Manamela

A young South African man, Thabang Manamela, who was diagnosed with glaucoma at an early age, which resulted in him losing his eyesight at an early age, has graduated with a Master of Laws (LLM) in Law and Political Justice at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law.

Perseverance Knows No Boundaries

Thabang’s inspiring journey began with his first bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Affairs from the same university. However, his path was not without hurdles.

Manamela started experiencing difficulty seeing the chalkboard at primary school and later lost a substantial part of his vision.

He was then enrolled at Siloe School for the blind and later matriculated at Prinshof School for the partially sighted and blind.

In 2014 he was accepted into the University of Pretoria and pursued a BA general degree. In 2015 he enrolled for an LLB degree and graduated in 2019.

The transition from a high school where he shared a classroom with only 12 pupils to a university lecture room filled with more than 400 students was daunting.

“The institution was huge and I had to share a lecture room with more than 400 people, which was way different from my high school where I shared a classroom with only 12 pupils. I used to rely on braille but when I joined UP, I had to fully rely on computers,” he said.

Adapting to the new environment was initially challenging for Thabang, as he had to shift from using Braille to relying solely on computers.

With the help of computer software designed for visually impaired individuals, he diligently recorded lectures and typed up his extensive notes.

“However, with time it got better and the institution’s disability office helped me to get my way around campus. They also helped me with extra time for tests and exams. I had friends who helped me navigate around the campus and these days I know all the corners of UP campuses,” he said.

Thanks to the support from his colleagues and the university’s disability office, Thabang quickly found his way around campus and mastered the art of navigating the sprawling institution.

Fruits of Labour Finally Reaped

After months of hard work and perseverance, Thabang Manamela finally achieved his dream of becoming a lawyer as he bagged an LLM degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Despite being diagnosed with glaucoma at an early age, Thabang never let his visual impairment hinder his ambition. With sheer determination, he achieved the impossible.

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