Paraplegic man graduates with master’s degree thanks to his wife’s support

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Mr Malapela's wife, Daphney, was beside him at his graduation.

A paraplegic man, Mr Thabang Malapela, graduated with a master’s degree in public administration in September at the University of Pretoria, and it is all thanks to his wife.

Mr Malapela faced significant obstacles in obtaining this degree as he was involved in an accident in 2008 after the driver lost control of the vehicle, breaking his neck and backbone causing paraplegia.

He has been in a wheelchair ever since, and has limited use of his hands. His wife, Ms Daphney Malapela, drove him to campus and sat with him throughout, taking notes on his behalf.

“The support my wife has given me is incomparable, because many would not be able to tolerate a paralysed person like me. They would perceive me as a burden. But Daphney supported me,” says Mr Malapela. The couple has been married for 25 years and have three children.

Thabang Malapela currently works as a director of disability rights at the City of Tshwane.