Palesa Deejay Manaleng is a 32-year-old, Journalist, a 2nd-year student at the University of Johannesburg and a national athlete in two sporting codes. She had a cycling accident in September 2014 and is now a paraplegic. Palesa spends her days moving from one activity to another and on her downtime, she writes short stories or reads books.
When asked, "what is the one thing that drives you?" she answered:
"I'm driven by the fact that no one is going to hand me my dreams."
Palesa is a force to be reckoned with and we were thrilled to have had the opportunity to get to know her better!
So, Palesa, Why did you choose sports and journalism?
I didn't choose sports, writing, and journalism, they choose me. No matter what happens in my life, this continues to be my path.
That's powerful! Please describe an average day in the life of Palesa Deejay Manaleng...
I work shifts so I have two different schedules. I go to training at 7am, head to classes at 10am then go to work at 1pm. Other days I go to work at 5am, head to training at 2pm and then go do school assignments or group work at 5pm.
That's amazing time management skills! What do you enjoy most about your days?
I love quiet times. Laying on my bed for a few minutes to listen to music while the world is moving gives me joy.
Sheer Bliss that! So, what social issue are you most passionate about?
Access! Access to everything in life for differently able people especially black girls, and I mean more than just having ramps. They need to have access to education, access to jobs that pay them according to their experience and qualification instead of exploiting them. Access to spaces that allow them to flourish and gain their independence.
Talking about ACCESS, where will you be in 5 years' time?
I would like to be competing at a professional level in both my sporting codes which are wheelchair racing and hand-cycling. A published author of several books fiction and non-fiction. And hopefully living in a world that doesn't feel like it has to tolerate differently abled persons but sees us as part of society as a whole.
Yes to that! Now, we have had you as a speaker at our past summit and loved the input you gave! What are your thoughts on QWB+A?
I like the concept. A space for black women to help build each other up, to pull each other to higher and more positive stages in their lives.
Thank you for reading!
The QWB+A Team