For most people, owning their own vehicle is a luxury. Yet, when public transport is inaccessible and your assistive devices don’t fit in a friend’s car, owning your own, adapted vehicle becomes a necessity. At least this is true for Jonathan “2J Harmonix” Groenewald, who has muscular dystrophy (MD), which has resulted in the wasting away of his muscle mass and strength.
Following a Facebook post on the ROLLING INSPIRATION social media page, 2J Harmonix said: “I would so like to own an adaptable vehicle to move around freely for social reasons and to further my music career. It hurts my body to leave my chair so I end up deciding to stay home and miss out on going to see my favourite Marvel movie. I recently won two tickets to a concert but couldn’t go. I also couldn’t attend my mom’s birthday as it was in a different province. I’m content with my life, but wonder how it would be to have my own vehicle.”
As an employee at the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and ambassador for Casual Day and Nappy Run, 2J Harmonix relies on the NCPD to transport him to work and on a friend to transport him to social events.
“My friend has a Nissan Alvina where I can fit with my wheelchair when I remove the back wheels, but this is only when he’s available. I’m more comfortable in my wheelchair so options for cars are limited,” he says. With limited access to transport, he mainly spends time at home, at work or at the shopping centre 2 km from his home.
However, owning an adapted vehicle would mean a world of difference to the musician. He recalls: “I always speak about my holiday in Cape Town where I could go wherever I wanted without rushing for time, because all the buses are accessible and run till 11pm. I could even get to the top of Table Mountain and to the airport without hassle.
“With my own adaptable vehicle, I could do much more for my music career, like attend interviews and concerts. I could also enjoy a more social life because I do love going out…”
Check out this video of 2J Harmonix testing out the public transport system
2J Harmonix currently lives in Pretoria with friend, music producer and caregiver Kimro. His family lives in Rustenburg. He explains: “It would cost me too much to hire an accessible vehicle and didn’t want to burden my friend by asking for his car to help me get to my mother’s birthday. I’m blessed to have a friend like him who understands what I face.”
The hip-hop artist mainly focuses on motivational music. His experience as a musician has taught him the diverse and inclusive culture of art, and he requires transport in order to ensure his career is sustainable.
“Luckily, Kimro has a licence and we brainstorm fundraising ideas to get my own vehicle. My disability has become quite severe and don’t think it’s possible that I could drive,” 2J Harmonix concludes.