‘Wheelchair mechanic’

Livhuwani Sakkie Sigogo doesn't let his disability keep him from chasing his dreams.

LIMPOPO – This zealous achiever from Vuwani is a self-taught motor mechanic who didn’t let the loss of his legs stand in the way of his dreams to contribute to the economic development of his community and the country as a whole. Dreaming of one day becoming a famous car designer, Sigogo decided to prove he’s got what it takes and built his own Toyota Cressida.

His skills include welding and engineering but struggling to find employment he realised he would not be able to afford a vehicle so instead of giving up, he decided to build his own car. Dropping out of school in Gr 9, he has been fixing cars under a tree at Itsani village, employing five people, including his wife.

“I wanted to set an example to other people with disabilities that being handicapped does not mean one is useless. It all depends on one’s attitude and determination to succeed as well as the urge to complete a task. Most people think the only thing a disabled individual can do is sit and wait for government’s social grant and I want to prove to them disabled people are useful people who are also gifted and creative,” he said.

Sigogo slowly but surely made a name for himself fixing cars and refrigerators. While many people prefer talking the simple language of computers, pen and paper, Sigogo speaks the tough language of spanners, radiators, gearboxes, bolts and nuts.

He lost his legs after they had to be amputated following a shooting accident in 1994 but his hard work and dedication to achieve his goals had kept him going.

“My future is in my hands and I don’t want to depend on handouts and a disability grant for survival. Many people look down on disabled people because they think we are useless. It is only our bodies that are deformed, but our minds are razor sharp. The time for sleeping is over and we need to be strong enough to realise our dreams. Disability has never been an excuse for self-development. Why stay at home and wait for the government’s disability grant? The money is too little and it cannot cater for all my needs. I dream of owning a decent workshop where I will conduct my business professionally and I am working toward this dream each day. Success does not depend on who you are, it depends on how you apply your dreams in real life situations.”

Contributing to other people’s lives, he added, makes him proud because he does his part toward the country’s economic growth. “I never studied mechanical engineering, but the recipe of my success is hard work, motivation and self-discipline. I also believe in myself and I never allow my handicap to have a negative impact on my job.”

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Dovhani Nengovhela

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