A Sherwood Park man who has been wheelchair-bound for nearly three decades has shared his story as a klopse voorlopertjie on the Cape Flats YouTube show Jawwap.
As South Africa approaches Heritage Day on 24 September, the team at the Cape Malay online documentary show interviewed Nizaam Hendrics, 31, and have invited the public to view the documentary.
Jawwap relies on views and subscriptions on YouTube to sustain their community feeding scheme, Pinkie’s Chow, and their madressa.
Nizaam was involved in an accident at the age of two when he was knocked down by a car while running after a ball in the street.
Although his chances of survival were slim, he recovered against the odds, but was left with damage to the spinal cord which left him paralysed from the waist down.
Despite his impediment, Nizaam grew up to be a free-spirited, optimistic young man and when mense flock to the streets of Cape Town for the annual Klopse parade, he would be right there in front in his wheelchair, in the colourful sequinned gear of the Orients Minstrels.
Nizaam lives with his father Riedwaan after his mother Fatima died of cancer in 2015.
“I’ve only known being in a wheelchair, so I don't really know what I’m missing,” he says.
“Besides that, I rely on family and friends to help me along at certain times. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to gain access to our home because the yard is full of holes and I need to be lifted up at the front door because of a step there, so I really need a ramp.”
Nizaam says he is driven by his love for the minstrels: “Being Heritage Month, I’m proud to share my heritage as a minstrel with the Orients team.
“I enjoy dancing in front and getting all the attention from people who like to take pictures with me and wave at me.
“I’ve been part of this team since I was eight years old. From Green Point Stadium to Athlone Stadium, hulle kan os’ie beat’ie.”
Nizaam says everyone wants to push him in his wheelchair when it comes to road marches.
“Some even give me food and the people stand up in the stadium when I come in.”
Nizaam wants to encourage others like him to reach for their dreams.
“Don't give up and become smothered in your disabilities, live life to the fullest and take advantage of the borrowed time we have here on earth, alles gan okay wies.”
To watch his story go to https://youtu.be/hbStx2nsRyY.