Adversity spurs on gifted DJ Lloyd Babedi
26 July 2018
Condemned to a life on crutches, Lloyd Babedi never wallowed in pity. The 31-year-old Alexandra DJ not only fo0year alone he donated more than 130 wheelchairs to destitute people living with disability. And this year the number already stands at 15 and his beneficiaries are from Pretoria and Alexandra. He plans to donate five more wheelchairs to others in Tembisa this month.
“I had a proper support structure in dealing with my disability but there are a lot of disabled people out there who have no one. I know what they are going through,” he said.
“Without a proper wheelchair you cannot go for job interviews. Some of these people simply need a hand up, not handouts to enable them to turn their lives around. It fulfils me to know that I help improve people’s lives,” he said.
Babedi said he had always dreamed of being in the entertainment industry from a young age, so it was no surprise he started an events company called Barkzz World.
Through the company, Babedi organises fundraising events to buy wheelchairs. He also uses money from his gigs and part of his salary to purchase wheelchairs.
Babedi wants to give away 130 wheelchairs again this year. He has been inundated with requests from all over the country since his first fundraising event in 2015.
Babedi, who also works as a call centre agent, said through motivational talks he also taught people that those who are disabled need more than equipment to move around but community support as well.
“We need to break the stigma around disabled people. It is sometimes hard to get donations because people do not see disability the way we see it.”
Barkzz, as he is known, was born with a C-shaped spine and when a back pain operation that went wrong left him paralysed he had to come to terms with the difficulties that disabled people go through.
“I grew up as a normal child but as I got older I started to experience severe back pain,” he said.
“When I was 16 I had an unsuccessful operation which left me in a wheelchair for two years. Eventually, through the help of physiotherapy, I was able to start using crutches.” Babedi said though he believed God was punishing him at first, his father’s support made him realise that being disabled was a “mind-set”.
“Before the operation I loved going out and having fun. I lost my mother the same year I had the operation and I started to believe that I was being punished,” he said.
“I lost confidence in myself and I was embarrassed to be around people. Through all this my father became my biggest support structure. “Through him I regained my confidence and accepted my disability.
I changed my mind-set and started to believe that it was my purpose in life to experience both lives so I can help disabled people.
“I motivated myself into believing that it (disability) is not about being unable to do things but about finding alternatives.”
Story by Pertunia Mafokwane