Hope For A Disabled Attorney

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Hope For A Disabled Attorney

In this day and age any good news and news of hope is something we need to cherish and hold on to. With all the injustice and horror stories we hear every day, it is easy to get caught up in a negative head space or lose faith in your country.

The reality is that not all news is bad news! There is a lot of good going on in the world and a lot of hope, we just need to become aware of it. In this article we wanted to share a story of hope, persistence and a positive outcome that saw a young disabled candidate attorney find a job and an opportunity to start living his dream.

According to the Derebus Law Society of South Africa magazine, Mr Sabelo Nzuza, aged 27, who is originally from Umlazi Township in Durban, is serving his articles at Legal Aid South Africa’s (Legal Aid SA) head office in Johannesburg.

He appealed to the media in June when he was struggling to find an opportunity to serve his articles.

The Severe Challenges

Sabelo was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a very serious condition which often leaves patients suffering with some of the following symptoms:

    • Severe learning disabilities;
    • Increase in spasms;
    • Increase in shortening of muscles;
    • Joint problems;
    • Increase in back pain;
    • Poor wheelchair seating and posture; and
    • Spinal deformities;

Cerebral palsy is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination or spastic paralysis typically caused by damage to the brain before birth or at birth. These are all terrible symptoms which deteriorate over time. Sabelo had always aspired to be an attorney and refused to let his condition ruin his chance to join the legal fraternity.

Sabelo recounts,

‘One memory that is particularly vivid was when I read the novel ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. The novel had as its main character an attorney named Atticus Finch; I was particularly fascinated by the manner in which he proved the innocence of his client Tom Robinson and the courage he had in insisting to represent him despite the community hounding and intimidating him and his children for representing a black man.

I guess that made me see how noble the profession of being an attorney can be’.

Sabelo said that one of the difficulties he faces is that his written work is illegible. In primary school and high school, he needed to utilize an electronic typewriter for any written work. ‘I had trouble when it was the end of a lesson and time to change classes.’

When the school bell rang Sabelo would need to depend on some of his classmates to help him carry the very heavy typewriter from one class to the next.

‘For homework again, due to the fact that I could not travel to and from school with my typewriter, I would have to get home and have to dictate to my mother, who would help me to write. My mother has been a pillar of strength in my life.’

The Advancement of Technology

‘As technology became more advanced, and when my mother had finally saved up enough money, she bought me a desktop computer which helped us both in that, I did not have to wait for her to come back from work, with her having to do other chores first and only thereafter could we finally sit down and write my homework.

It was only upon entering university that my bursary helped in buying me a laptop, as well as a Dictaphone for lectures. These were too expensive and my mother did not have the means to get that type of computer and assistive device for me,’ he said.

Mr Nzuza said Sabelo  is loving his job and that he particularly enjoys the research aspect, as well as being one of the first ones to draft or review a contract.

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