June 15, 2024

Nolonwabo Mzwakali


By Simukele Ngema

Likuthi Disability Development is hosting its first gala dinner on the December 5 at the TRC Community Hall at Nqamakwe, Eastern Cape.

The gala dinner is part of celebrating National Disability Rights Awareness Month, observed annually between November 3 and December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Nolonwabo Mzwakali (38), the director of Likuthi said that “Disability awareness is necessary because it motivates people with disability and [helps to remove] barriers that people with disabilities are facing.”

The gala dinner is open to the public. The dress code is formal and tickets will be sold at the gate for R100 per person. All the funds raised at the gala dinner will be used to buy assistive mobility resources such as wheelchairs and crutches.

Mzwakali, who was born and raised in Nqamakwe, said other than raising funds, the aim of the gala dinner is to raise awareness about different types of disabilities; educate the community about the needs of people with disabilities; attract sponsors to invest in people with disabilities and to motivate other people with disabilities to host such events.

In 2018 Mzwakali, an admin clerk at the department of justice, started Likuthi, a non-profit organisation (NPO), after receiving a request for a wheelchair from a 15-year-old child through Facebook. After she bought the wheelchair she saw another child on Facebook that was living with his grandmother and his grandmother was struggling to get him a wheelchair, and again she bought him a wheelchair.

She started the NPO so she could help many more people since she knew the pain of not having a wheelchair being a wheelchair user herself. So far she has helped more than 15 people.

Bulelani Kobe, an admin officer in the Mnquma Municipality’s department of social development, will be one of the speakers at the gala dinner. He said his core massage is to motivate people with disability that disability does not stop anyone from achieving what he or she desires to achieve.
“I’m feeling so delighted to be part of the event,” said Kobe.

The gala dinner was advertised through posters around the area and through social media platforms such as Facebook.

Likuthi’s Mogove Tirivanhu told ThisAbility that “As the compliance committee working on the gala dinner we are very mindful about the need to make sure that all 250 guests are adhering to [covid-19] regulations.”

The regulations that will be followed include: wearing of masks; screening of guests an hour before the 16h00 start, and not admitting anyone with temperature that is above 38°C; observing social distancing of 1.5m with the seating arrangement; fixing the microphone on a stand to avoid touching; markings on the floor for the queue to the bathrooms; serving all the food and beverages in take-away containers to avoid sharing; and keeping an attendance register. No hugging, handshaking or grabbing will be allowed.

Local artists will showcase their talents as part of the entertainment at the gala dinner.

“Disability is not inability! As Likuthi Disability Development it is our priority to help all people with disabilities of all ages to grow their self-esteem, confidence and self-pride,” Mzwakali said.

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