Blind Grauate 300x226Visually impaired Nontsikelelo Siba is accompanied on stage to be awarded her National Diploma in Human Resource Management during the October WSU graduation ceremonies.

She is one of many with special needs and disabilities who have paraded the stages of WSU’s graduation ceremonies over the years.

WSU has been known to support those with physical challenges which dates back to the year 2014 when Tsolo-born Dr Beauty Makiwane, who’s also the only black female with a disability to ever head an academic department at WSU.

Her unwavering relationship with WSU can be traced back to her beginnings as a secretary at the University’s Mthatha campus in 1990.

It would be six years before Makiwane would obtain her first post-school qualification – obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from the University through the aid of a study subsidy – all the while disabled.

“I would later pursue postgraduate studies, obtaining my Honours and Master’s Degrees in 1999 and 2001, all the while still employed as a secretary,” says Makiwane.

WSU Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Rob Midgley has committed to leading the charge in ensuring that the institution fulfils its duty in offering inclusive and equitable education for students living with disabilities.
“The issue of care assistance for disabled students who’re unable to fully care of themselves must also be addressed as a matter of great urgency. The University’s student affairs division must be beefed up and have a capacity within its ranks that looks specifically at issues of disability,” he said.

Midgley said the immediate challenge that he would personally see to would be the establishment of an examination committee that will look at ensuring an inclusive and equitable examination process for disabled students.