My name is happiness Samantha Sekwane; I was born on New Year’s Day at Polar Park hospital in the East Rand. When I was young I moved to Pretoria to stay with my grandmother for a few years, those were some of my happiest times. When I was 5 years old I moved back with my mom in Tsakane to start school. I loved going to school but not for learning, I enjoyed playing with my friends and attending dance lessons offered there. I would play for hours to a point where I didn’t care if I get a spanking for coming home late. When I was 9 years old my life changed forever. As I was walking home from school with my friends we would normally stop by the caravan tuck shop to buy ice lollies, it was a long way home so we would save our lunch money to buy lots of ice lollies to cool us down as we walk home during sunny days. After buying our ice lollies and as we waited to cross the street, out of nowhere a car came straight to us.
It happened so fast that till this day I can’t remember most of the details, but I later found out that a car was trying to overtake, never managed to get back to its lane and decided to swerve on the pavement and unfortunately it was exactly where I was standing. I was taken to hospital where my family was told that I was paralyzed from the waist down as I had fractured my t10 spinal cord. I spent the whole year in hospital healing and learning how to push myself in a wheelchair, transfer to the bed, how to get in the bath etc. I think I was too small to understand what was happening, all I knew was that I couldn’t move my legs and that meant I couldn’t play the games I used to play and no more dance lessons. It was devastating for me. My family found a special school that I went to after my one year in hospital, it was different, it was strange, and I learned a lot about myself and other different disabilities. As time went by I adjusted to my new life, and I learned from my other friends who were paralyzed.
Come high school, I went to a special school close to home. I think that is when it hit me that I different to the other girls especially as I started developing an interest in boys. I would get so sad that I was never going to be able to dance close to my boyfriend and hold hands as we walk in the garden. I blame it on all the Mills and boon books I read. All these thoughts kept me from dating for the longest time till I met someone who made all these thoughts disappear. Our interaction was effortless; I didn’t have to worry about my wheelchair or anything when I was with him. I learned that love is simple and it feels good.
After high school I took a year off just to think of what I wanted with my life, I had to come up with new dreams as I said goodbye to my old dreams I had held on to since I was young. I knew I wanted to help people because it brought me so much joy so I decided to study psychology. By the grace of god I finished my BA and honors in Psychology after securing a bursary. After my graduation I got an internship with Transnet, where I did my Psychometric program and now I’m a registered Independent Psychometrist. I really enjoy my job. Hopefully I can study further and see where life will take me.
Paralysis is not an easy thing as there are so many things you deal with on a daily basis like leg spasm, bed sores, and bladder problems amongst other things you just take it one day at a time and focus on what makes you happy. I make it through each day by the strength that I get from God, the family support that I have and seeing other paralyzed people living their best life. I’m living my best life as I stay on my lane and if some people get inspired from me living my life then I’m glad. There is still so much to do and achieve, I look forward to the future and whatever it brings.