The wheelchair tennis player from the rural village of Vhuri Vhuri in Limpopo has opened up an NGO called Wheels life changer and he talks to Eyewitness News about the change he hopes to invoke in communities like the one he grew up in.
Wheelchair tennis player, Ronewa Mudzanani. Picture: Supplied.
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa celebrates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between 3 November and 3 December.
According to the government, Disability Awareness Month offers an opportunity for all of us to remove these barriers and to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through concrete action.
“As someone who is living with disability and as a person who has been an inspiration to a lot of kids living with disability through my tennis journey, I feel so good knowing that I am part of a South Africa that is doing something good for those who are living with disability,” said Ronewa Mudzanani.
The wheelchair tennis player from the rural village of Vhuri Vhuri in Limpopo has started an NGO called Wheels life changer and he talks to Eyewitness News about the change he hopes to invoke in communities like the one he grew up in.
“Growing up with a disability in a rural area was not easy for me. I didn’t enjoy my childhood as I was different from other kids. I was raised by my mom and granny who are so loving, they took me to boarding school at the age of six.”
Looking back on how far he has come, Mudzanani and his team at Wheels life changer are determined to make a difference in society.
“As an organisation, it makes us happy knowing that we are responsible for bringing hope to someone who felt hopeless and living with disabilities.”
Mudzanani says all he wants is to see people with disabilities treated like other people, being accommodated in workspaces, and having access to education.
“We are targeting mostly in rural areas. Most kids in rural areas who are living with disability come from a poor background and they’re hidden by their families because they are the most vulnerable and mostly cannot afford to offer the support needed.”
In 2016, Mudzanani was nominated as one of the finalists in the Limpopo Sports Awards, where he won the top prize. He then captured the interest of Tennis South Africa, where he was selected to be part of the national side’s quad class.
The tennis player was part of the South African quad’s wheelchair tennis team that secured a bronze medal at the 2021 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Alghero, Sardinia.
“Tennis has changed my life, now it’s time to change other lives. Tennis will always remain the red line in my career.”
The athlete said that when he was born, at first, the doctor didn’t see that he had a spinal problem. It was only identified when he was supposed to start walking, and he was unable to do so.
“Most of the people living with a disability rely on disability grants, which is not enough. There are a lot of individuals now in rural areas who just are sitting and doing nothing because of not being able to afford equipment that can make their lives easier. Someone’s life requires an electronic wheelchair but because the wheelchair is expensive, that individual is just sitting at home now doing nothing.”