The “Super Crips” of the world
Natalie Johnson

Please could someone in the event/entertainment industry explain why people with disabilities are only invited to be Guest Speakers at events during Disability Awareness Month (3 November to 3 December) annually? Does this only happen in South Africa or is this a global trend?

The 3rd December is known as International Day for Persons with Disabilities which is when everyone somehow seems to remember “hey, let’s do something good for the poor disabled people”. South Africa has decided to make a full month of this by starting on 3 November culminating in a final “big bash” on 3 December where a big entertainment show is put on with Performers (Singers, Dancers, Solo Musicians) are enlisted to entertain, Government Officials  are enlisted as Key Note Speakers for the programme, not forgetting to include one or two people with disabilities to also get on stage to say a few words (if not one of the Guest Speakers).

The entire year we continue with whatever we do each year without any recognition from the able-bodied world and suddenly, from the last week in October onwards, our mailboxes get flooded with invitations to speak at some or other event (mostly expected to do this free of charge as well).

What about those with so-called invisible disabilities? Because their disabilities are invisible, they go through life unnoticed. People with Epilepsy for example, also have to make lifestyle adjustments to cope with seizures – apart from the medication they need to take. People with Autism (on the various spectrums) are another example of people who need to make various lifestyle adjustments just to get through each day. Not brave, not aiming to be an inspiration to anyone – just trying to get through life day by day as independently as possible.

Coming back to the question I asked when I started – can someone please explain to me why people with disabilities only matter during Disability Awareness Month?