Without the privilege of sight, Calvin launches his third book

By Kgothatso Monono

14 September 2023

Calvin Mogajane (24), a blind Language Practice student at the Department of Applied Languages at the Soshanguve South campus, launched his third book, titled Strong Woman, at the campus on 12 September. The book honours the role of mothers and reminds people to be more appreciative towards those who gave birth to them.

An aspirant blind author, Calvin Mogajane.

“The journey of writing a book is a monumental task for everyone, but when it is undertaken by someone who has navigated a world primarily reliant on visual perception without the privilege of sight, it becomes a story of exceptional courage and tenacity,” said Dr Etienne van Wyk, Interim Soshanguve Campus Rector, in his address at the launch. 

“We gather here today to celebrate a remarkable achievement of determination and creativity. We are here to launch a book that not only displays the power of the written words but also serves as a testament to the unyielding resilience of its author, Calvin Mogajane,” Dr van Wyk said.

“As we embark on this book launch, let us remember the importance of inclusivity and accessibility in our society. Let us recognise that every individual, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, has a unique perspective and story to share. It is through stories like Calvin’s that we are reminded of the power of literature to bridge gaps, foster empathy and inspire change,” Dr van Wyk added.

The event was honoured by the presence of Catherine Mokoena from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture who also sponsored it. Other attendees included Thabo Malema, Scandal actor who was the programme director; Lowy Nzimande, Director of the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB); Philemon Tiego, Calvin’s mentor; as well as Marriam Mogajane, Calvin’s mother.

“I have always shaped Calvin to be respectful. It is his respect and resilience that took him places and still does. I had to let go of my fear of not letting him be himself when he was still at a tender age. His passion allowed me to free him. I became a mother and loved him regardless. I held the knife by the blade and became his support system, his biggest fan. The road was never easy. It has been rocky and thorny, but I am glad we are here today, and greater heights are yet to locate him,” said Calvin’s proud mother.

Edward Phala, Chairperson of the Disabled Students Organisation (DSO), mentioned that Calvin made history at TUT as the first blind and youngest author to launch his third book. “We are very privileged to have a person of such bravery here. He does not see his disability as an inability. It motivates him to excel beyond measures. No one should ever be the victim of circumstances, as differently as we are made and as differently as we are able. The time to end peoples’ stereotypes about disability is now.” 

“This day marks one of most joyful days that I will forever cherish. It is the first time I am granted a platform to launch a book, and I am grateful to the Campus Rector for his support. I am just a guy with permanent load shedding, yet a role model to many, for I stand firm in all that I put my mind to,” Calvin said.

Calvin was recently interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Power FM on his achievements. 

He also participated in the Inclusive Africa Conference Awards where he won third place. Subsequently, he was sponsored by the Kenyan government, who hosted the competition, to visit Nairobi for the awards function at the end of May. 

Strong Woman is available as an e-book and a printed book. A braille version is also available. The book can also be found at exclusive bookstores.

Students and staff that honoured the book launch.
Catherine Mokoena from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
Dr Etienne van Wyk, the interim Soshanguve Campus Rector, and Marriam Mogajane, the author’s mother.

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