In the contemporary generation, beauty is largely assessed by being slender, having a lovely smile, having an hourglass figure, and how one walks. However, this is not the reality because we all have our strengths and flaws, cellulite, more or less weight, impairments that may or may not exist, actual wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks. Nobathembu Peters (30) from Khayelitsha in Cape Town, shares her inspiring story of how she learned to live positively and thrive despite spending most of her life in a wheelchair.
Peters was only three years old when she was hit by a vehicle in 1996, rendering her wheelchair confined ever since.
Peters, also known as Royalti on Wheels, lives by the phrase “take life as it should be”. She is a former digital sex worker who is now a public speaker, a social media influencer for road safety, a disability lifestyle influencer, and a disability advocate.
According to her, she has learnt to make the most of the life she has and to be able to accomplish everything her body can allow her to do.
Blessed beyond measure
Peters adds that being confined to a wheelchair requires a lot of consideration and attention to detail.
“Having a family like mine is a blessing. Others don’t. Being in a wheelchair necessitates some assistance from others.”
She tells Health For Mzansi that due to her ability to engage in conversations on various platforms, some people think she is overly optimistic for a disabled person.
She thinks it’s unpleasant to say that. Yet, people ought to have the ability to express themselves without trying to label everyone with a disability as “sensitive”.
‘I try to convey confidence’
Peters believes being confident cannot be taught. Even if it is possible, only one person can be, and that person is you.
She makes an attempt to live each day to the fullest; going out to dine, attending workshops, and visiting the park.
“I’ve had the experience of people interpreting my comments based on how I look. I try not to personalise anything and it can sometimes be difficult to resist the urge to defend yourself in such circumstances.”
Breaking down the stigma around having a disability
Disability exclusion is a result of the idea that having a disability renders you ‘less than…’, says Peters.
“I had both favourable and negative replies when I was a digital sex worker. Some people misunderstood the significance of the inclusion and freedom of expression that I was striving to emphasise.”
According to her, the majority of people with disabilities within her circle were excited to see her out and about.
Beauty on wheels
With her jovial smile, love for fashion, and knack for looking good, Peters is undoubtedly a diva who gets out there to shine.
“Some people don’t want to see you confident, but mostly because they lack it themselves,” says Peters.
She views beauty as the capacity to be authentic about oneself as well as being conventionally beautiful.
“Beauty comes from kindness, self-assurance, openness, vulnerability, fear, and trauma. While beauty comes in various shapes and sizes, for me, beauty is about being authentic and distinctive.”
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