Stand up and try again!

Stand tall and defy the odds, says Maruping Phepheng, in this weeks motivating column.

Like many people in distress he contemplated suicide, but recalled that his brother, the one who only had one functioning eye but was a leading neuroscientist in a foreign city, had left him a note before he left last December.

He sat there, and started reading it out loud enough for me to hear.

I know you know that living in the US is one of the most beloved singers alive today called Stevie Wonder. This legendary musician, singer and songwriter, was born blind, yet somehow that did not stand between him and success. I mean, you yourself like saying one would have to be morbidly incurious not to know “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, Stevie Wonder’s hit.

I am actually singing along to that tune as I type this.

Halle Berry–you have always said she was the closest thing to beauty, next to your wife. Remember? –  is said to have acquired unilateral hearing loss after being severely beaten by a former boyfriend. It is said that she has as a result lost 80% hearing ability in her left ear. In spite of the disability, you know that the Oscar-winning actor has not looked back. Even today she continues to shine, prospering far better than most people who have no ‘disability’.

Not too unlike Halle Berry, Foxy Brown – I don’t remember that song of hers that you said was your favourite – revealed that she was slowly losing her hearing after being diagnosed with a rare condition, a severe sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. People Magazine reported that she even started to question God as she came face to face with her disability.  But, adamant to defy the odds, she continued to record by having someone tap out the beat on her shoulder. You like her, I know.

Ray Charles, your other favourite, lost his sight at the age of seven. He entered the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind, where he learned classical piano and how to compose scores in Braille. After being orphaned at sixteen, Charles left school to join a country-western band. Many years later he became the giant we know him to be today. He showed courage and defied the odds.

His ‘disability’ did not stop him.

DJ Black Coffee, you like his “Superman” very much I know – made history and became the first South African to walk away with the prestigious BET award now the other day. Other than that, you know that he is one of the most respected names on the local dance scene and one of our best known DJ/producers internationally.

The man had to face enormous emotional and bodily obstructions after an accident that rendered him able to use only one of his hands, yet he persevered, competing with able-bodied DJs and producers to become the best. His ‘disability’ did not stop him.

I can continue listing people who have shown amazing courage to defy the odds to make it, but I will stop here, and instead borrow HG Wells’ words and say “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.

All the people I quoted above have one disability or the other. You have none.

So stand up today, show courage, and defy your own set of odds. You can!

I stood up and walked away from myself, determined to try again.

Ed Note. Maruping is an independent commentator. Visit other media platforms for his works.

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