Assisting you to live as independent a life as possible.
“It always seems impossible until its done. ” Nelson Mandela
Zimele is Xhosa for independence. This word is central to what Zimele wants to give its clients. Assisting clients to live as independent a life as possible is the first of our three main objectives. No one ever chooses to become physically disabled. The choice is made for them for a variety of reasons. In that moment, the individual loses the power and agency over their body. A physical rehabilitation journey allows such an individual to take back that power and agency. To achieve this, it requires a team backing the person in that journey. We aim to provide that backing and support through an interdisciplinary team approach. At Zimele we approach a person’s rehabilitation journey holistically, which means a number of health professionals (such as a medical doctor, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a prosthetist and a psychologist) are involved to ensure all aspects of the individual’s life are considered.
In doing this, we hope to instill a sense of self belief and a return of self-agency in that individual. With self belief, comes the awareness that such individuals are so much more than the disabled part of them and that they have many other very abled parts. This awareness creates the realisation of the potential of their abilities. Zimele’s other two objectives focus on the societal re integration of our clients and support and encourage the economic self-sufficiency of those whose rehabilitation journey we assist. Zimele will strive to achieve these objectives by playing an advocacy role and by encouraging intersectoral collaboration. Zimele will also assist and encourage our clients to understand and rely on relevant legislation and policies, to enhance their quality of life.
MEET THE DIRECTORS
Dr Sarah Whitehead
Sarah is a medical doctor and is a person with a physical disability. She qualified with an MBChB from the University of Cape Town in 2010. In her final two years of her medical degree her mobility impairment and subsequent disability began to manifest. This meant that Sarah graduated and started working armed with the unique knowledge of what it is like to be both a disabled patient and doctor. During her community service year at Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (for the rehabilitation of physically disabled individuals), she discovered her passion and enthusiasm for physical rehabilitation medicine.
Her PhD thesis focused on proposing disability specific competencies for inclusion in the undergraduate medical curriculum in South Africa.
She realized how her own disability provides her with a level of empathy, enabling her to develop an instant and meaningful connection with her patients. She has worked exclusively in physical rehabilitation since then. Because of her unique position and voice within society, she has taken on a Disability Rights advocacy role. During her work in in-hospital physical rehabilitation medicine, she became increasingly aware of the challenge physical disabled people face when they leave the supportive environment of inpatient rehabilitation and have to now piece their domestic lives back together with little or no support. This awareness caused the idea to develop, of creating a stepping-stone between in-hospital rehabilitation and someone’s return to living as full a life as possible. Her work in The Cape Amputee Clinic with fellow co-director Jayson Chin, helped to crystalize this idea, which led to the formation of Zimele.She intends to use her qualifications and Zimele as tools to help further her disability advocacy work.
Jayson is an orthotist and prosthetist. He studied Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics at Pretoria Technikon and qualified in 1995. Jayson established his private practice in 1999 and has been actively involved in the profession ever since. He is passionate about his profession and extremely committed to providing the highest level of care to all his orthotic and prosthetic patients.
Jayson has a special interest in comprehensive amputee rehabilitation and prosthetic management. He co-founded the Cape Amputee Clinic in 2007 and has chaired this free bimonthly clinical team meeting since its inception. The interdisciplinary clinical team provides information, guidance and advice to ensure that the process of amputee rehabilitation is addressed from all the various perspectives, as amputation affects the individual and their family on so many levels. The amputation clinic team members are a; medical doctor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist and prosthetist.
Jayson’s passion and desire to provide comprehensive physical rehabilitation to all those in need, is what motivated him to co-found Zimele, and to reproduce what The Cape Amputee Clinic has been doing for over a decade but with a bigger reach into society.
Rodney is a director in the company Africa Stereos (a graphic design and printing company) and is a bilateral amputee. As a result of a car accident in 2014, both he and his wife lost their legs. Rodney is a very positive, enthusiastic person and faced the challenge of his rehabilitation journey with the same positivism and enthusiasm. His rehabilitation showed him just how important it is that all aspects of an individual’s life are addressed in their rehabilitation journey.
He felt fortunate to be able to access the resources that he and his wife needed for their rehabilitation. He also became acutely aware that many people are not as fortunate as he was. This awareness coupled with a personal understanding of the daily challenges that people with disabilities face, strengthened his resolve to become actively involved in supporting and advocating for the disabled community (amputees in particular) in any way that he can.