UP student gets a boost from the Department of Social Development

Posted on February 12, 2015

A University of Pretoria (UP) second-year BA International Relations student, Thabang Manamela (also a registered first-year law student), is set to achieve his goals despite his disability. Manamela, who is visually disabled, received a new tablet computer from the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu. In addition to the tablet, he received a bursary to the value of R102 000.

In recognition of his outstanding academic performance and to achieve the goal of the Disability Unit at UP to render a quality service to disabled students, Manamela was presented with the tablet at the 2014 National Disability Awards. The competition, an initiative of the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (Inseta), is organised by the Department of Social Development in partnership with the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). Thabang won the National Young Leader Disability Award. The tablet came with Job Access with Speech (Jaws) software already installed. This software operates on the basis of sound output to aid visually impaired persons.

Minister Bogopane-Zulu congratulated Thabang on the commitment and dedication he demonstrated in his studies and encouraged him to continue working hard with the assistance of his newly acquired gadget. “With this tablet and the software a load has been taken off your shoulders as braille in itself is … [already difficult]. This technology will introduce a level of independence in your studies and we expect you to work hard,” she said.

The tablet will help Thabang to read or work on whatever he downloads to his tablet via its USB portal. The software can also take a picture of a hardcopy document and read it to the user.

Prof Themba Mosia, Vice-Principal of UP, congratulated Thabang and acknowledged the efforts of Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu in ensuring that disabled students are well supported at tertiary institutions. He also lauded different stakeholders for their support in the field of education and for being sensitive to the needs of differently abled students.

“Thabang has everything that he needs and … [all he has to do] is work hard to achieve great results. As the University of Pretoria, we are dedicated to supporting students with disabilities and we are very proud to be associated with the Department of Social Development,” said Prof Mosia.

Thabang Manamela welcomed the gift and pledged to live up to the expectations of both the sponsors and the University.



- Author DUR

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