Guests : Delicia De Vos
Delicia De Vos is an expert at using self-confidence to navigate discrimination. Living
with albinism showed her how difficult it can be if you don’t believe in yourself.
When her parents sent her to a school for the blind in Cape Town, De Vos was
confronted by negative perceptions of albinism. Aware that the way people treated her
was caused by ignorance, De Vos leaned towards the education sector as a career
choice. She now works in the Disability Unit at the Cape Peninsula University of
Technology, where she has implemented a number of services to support students with
learning challenges. These range from large computer screens for the visually impaired
to an embosser that converts written documents into braille, and digital recorders for
students struggling with hearing.
Morena Leraba steps on stage, a Basotho hat on his head, blanket draped around his
shoulders, and raises the heavy wooden stick in his right hand. What may seem like an
elaborate costume is actually the musician at his most authentic. Leraba is a sheep and
goat herder from Mafeteng in Lesotho. Standing in front of a crowd of screaming fans,
nothing about him seems to make sense. Yet when he begins to sing, everything does.
Herding animals is a rite of passage in Lesotho, initiating youngsters into adulthood. In
the silence of the mountains, Leraba learnt to recognise the call of the cattle, the
whistle of the wind, and the power of his own voice.
Just over two years ago, he began experimenting with famo – a genre of Sotho music
created by mineworkers – by layering on rap verses and hip-hop beats. In an attempt to
get a leg in the music industry, Leraba would take a bus to Cape Town and reach out to
producers. He often came home with nothing. But along the way, people began to
notice his extraordinary sonic fusions.
Who would choose to live in dire poverty? To enter a life of crime just to survive?
Marginalised individuals often have no other choice. Gross violations of people’s basic
human rights lead to cycles of violence. Jessica Dewhurst confronted this reality when
she started volunteering in high school. But the catalyst for her activism came when
Dewhurst was attacked at the age of 18. Facing her assailants in court, she felt
compassion instead of anger. As their stories unravelled, Dewhurst understood the
conditions that drove people to such lengths. If she wanted to solve the most
entrenched problems, she’d have to go to the root of them.
In 2013, Dewhurst co-founded The Justice Desk – a non-profit organisation that works
across South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Her goal is to uplift people through
training and education, and in doing so enable them to protect their human rights. The
projects Dewhurst has implemented range from assisting disabled and elderly people in
Khayelitsha to teaching girls self-defence, mentoring young men on masculinity and
consent, and reaching vulnerable youth through creative arts.
While running an initiative of this scope, Dewhurst also earned a master’s degree in
Social Development. Her team has since improved the lives of over 30 000 people.
Every person they reach now has the ability to lead their own change. To address the
most prevalent and devastating problems in society, Dewhurst is dismantling the
systems of injustice that sustain them.
Olivia Pharo has no intention of slowing down. When the nurse resigned, she could have
taken her pension and travelled the world. But this was actually the start of her bringing
better healthcare to Atlantis, a suburb in the Western Cape. Working at a local hospital,
Pharo experienced the burden that gang-related casualties placed on medical staff. She
grew increasingly frustrated at the disproportionately high number of patients limiting
the time and quality of care she was able to give. To ensure they receive the care they
deserve, she cashed in her pension and used it to open her own clinic.
In March 2019, the nurse started Sister Pharo’s Primary Health Care. Alongside a small
but dedicated team, she offers services ranging from medical tests and suturing to
family planning. Pharo also does house calls, bringing aid to those who are bedridden
or don’t have transport. With more time to spare, Pharo can offer thorough treatments
and long term solutions.
Having been a nurse for close to three decades, Pharo remains as committed as when
she began. If people are in need, she’ll be there. “It’s not only an honour but a privilege
to serve my community,” Pharo says. In little over three months, more than 700 patients
have benefitted from her clinic. The residents of Atlantis can now place their trust in the
compassionate hands of Sister Pharo. When we put others before ourselves, we find
endless opportunities to transform lives.
Guests : Delicia De Vos