“Pancreas and kidney transplant saved my life”

Nolundi Seluleko Luthuli, The Will to Live: A Way To Survive, author with a disability

Lebohang Monyatsi, 2017 Miss Wheelchair World first princess, shares Nolundi Seluleko Luthuli’s story …

Doctors were ready to throw in the towel with Nolundi Seluleko Luthuli. She had lost her eyesight and spent three years undergoing dialysis procedures in which excess water and toxins were removed from her blood – a function normally performed by healthy kidneys. Luthuli, however, was not ready to give up.

She fought for her life and managed to continue her studies. In 2017, she graduated with an advanced certificate in management and last year completed her BCom (Honours) degree. Moreover, she was recognised for her efforts as a social entrepreneur at the Indondo Awards. This courageous woman loves engaging with progressive people from different backgrounds, socially and in the workplace.

“This helps me to understand other people better and to learn new things,” says the 38-year-old. She sees herself as an achiever, academic, social activist and writer. She enjoys spending time with her siblings and her mother.

“They are my anchor of love, security and peace of mind,” Luthuli says. She is passionate about her community, and about Africa and the potential of its people. Luthuli works hard to plant the seed of self-love, faith and respect among her peers.

She recently published her book, The Will to Live: A Way To Survive, in which she reveals how she survived diabetes, renal failure, blindness and a simultaneous pancreas-and-kidney transplant.

Raised in one of the townships in KwaZulu-Natal that were badly affected by political violence during the late ’80s and early ’90s, Luthuli is passionate about sharing her views on the challenges in townships.

She was inspired to write her book after receiving encouraging feedback from readers of her guest column for a Media24 publication in Richards Bay. But she second-guessed herself until she spoke to longtime family friend Musa E Zulu, a well-known author with a disability. “He gave me the confidence I needed to believe that I really could do it,” Luthuli recalls.

The main challenges of getting her book published were securing a publisher, finding a distributor and fundraising. Only a few copies have been printed and are being sold privately. The book has been approved by the National Library of South Africa and is available on the national database accessed by libraries across the country. It has also been accepted as one of the books on the Nelson Mandela Foundation library list.

Now the challenge remains to secure funding to distribute the book through bookshops, some of which have already placed orders for copies.

Her next book will be more spiritual, Luthuli says. “I want to share my secret of how to cope in modern society. When you begin to think scripturally you begin to live victoriously.”

She believes an inclusive society will only be possible if people with disabilities raise their voices in union to make people aware that they are a vital part of every community. “Let us not shy away from this responsibility,” she says. “The more we make ourselves visible the easier it will be to make what is in the Constitution a reality in society.

“Too many people miss living their best life because they have a problem for every solution,” Luthuli says. That’s why her her motto in life is: Find a way, not an excuse.

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