Mainman Thwala did not allow his disability to stop him from being the voice that keeps Cosmo City FM listeners entertained with current affairs in the afternoon.
By Ditiro Masuku – Fourways Review
Mainman Thwala beams with pride for not letting disability stand in his way to success even though he was not born with it. Many may recognise him by his roaring voice as he says his favourite stance when he goes on air, “We are your number one community radio station, especially from the northern suburbs of Joburg!”
And just like that, listeners get to enjoy the best of radio while being updated with current affairs on his show, Cosmo Drive, which tackles all kinds of topics on Cosmo City FM.
If he is not doing what he does best, the local media personality is browsing through the website of his favourite newspaper, Fourways Review, for more local news.
Thwala’s life changed completely after he lost his vision when he was only a nine-year-old boy, but that did not stop him from pursuing his dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist.
The-36-year-old said he fell in love with the radio because he enjoyed how it kept him informed and entertained with his favourite music at the same time.
But when his vision got impaired after he accidentally bumped into a pole while playing, he said he did not worry much about it but had faced challenges before his triumph.
“I am still facing challenges even now because I am forced to explain to every person, I meet about how I use the phone; how I am walking and knowing my way around, and other things because many people doubt that I am blind.
“Another challenge is teaching, for instance. I use a talk back tool on my phone for me to be able to use it, and I always tell people about it, but there will always be that question coming up repeatedly. So, I have learnt to be patient.”
He said the challenges do not end there, the unemployment rate among the people with disabilities is also concerning.
“The environment too is not conducive for us; we are excluded in some areas because our special needs are not accommodated by the infrastructure, for instance, there are no wheelchair ramps in some office buildings.”
He added that he still battles with acceptance. “Sometimes we feel left out, especially in certain companies with people because you do not get to see things that they talk about for instance.”
What could be the solution, we asked. “I feel like the idea of having special schools is getting a bit old, maybe if the government can include everyone in the same place with infrastructure that catered for the needs of everyone, then we will win the fight for inclusivity,” he replied.
Thwala speaks to us as we celebrate the annual fundraising campaign of the National Council of and For Persons with Disabilities.