I'M NO QUITER
Lemogang Kgosietsile (23) wants to be famous. And it’s not riches that the Form 5 student at Matshekge Hill Senior Secondary School wants.
He just wants to use his social media platforms to be seen, be heard, and inspire other disabled youngsters like him to remain positive and live their full lives, he says.
“I want to encourage people with disabilities, especially children, to take life as it is, and not think of what happened to them, what could have been,” he says in an interview.
“I have seen that a lot of young people with disabilities tend to have a low self-esteem and are not really accepting of themselves. They just stay in their little corner and don’t aspire for much.”
Of course a few years ago, that was him.
Following an accident in which he suffered a spinal injury while riding a donkey cart in 2012, Kgosietsile says for a while, he struggled to cope and imagine life without the use of his legs. He spent all of 2013 recovering and only returned to school in 2014.
“I had to essentially learn to both live in and operate a wheelchair. It was really hard to adjust. School children knew the normal me before, who loved playing football and just running around with my friends, and now I was returning to school in a wheelchair.
“I’m grateful because my close friends didn’t allow me to wallow in misery. They were very supportive. They didn’t treat me differently and included me in everything they were doing just like it was before.
“Over time, I grew to understand that it is what it is, and you just need to accept what’s happened and get on with it. I have life, and that is all that matters.
“I have, however, realised how incredibly hard to adjust it can be for some people in society, so I try to role model the person I’d like them to see.
“Nowadays, I do and go anywhere I want. If there is an opportunity to put my head or hand up, I do!” says the now former football coach of his junior school, Bobonong Secondary School.
He says coaching football at his junior school opened him up to his potential and that’s how he formed his own team, Bobonong Youngsters outside school. It comprises of dedicated and talented young boys in and out of school who live in the same hood.
"It would be great if we could have a sponsor to ensure the growth and success of the team," he says.
Furthermore, Kgosietsile appeals for good Samaritans to organise him an electric wheelchair to make moving around much easier. He aspires to be a soldier and motivational speaker.
"I want to speak and engage with people the way my role models, men of God Gaone Tshoganetso also known as Pastor Beginning and Odirile ‘Vee Mmampezzy’ Sento do.
“I admire how Vee came to be a star with so much following and influence. I would like to have that and so I plead with Batswana to like my page, 'Lemogang Kgosietsile’ on Facebook.
“It’s not just about creating a haven for disabled people looking to connect with those who have similar experiences, but it is also dedicated to fighting misperceptions of disabilities and talk frankly about our mental and physical health,” he says.