On a warm, overcast Saturday, 4 November 2023, wheelchair users with their friends and family gathered at St James Beach, Cape Town, to join the QuadPara Association of the Western Cape (QAWC) for a beach day. While St James Beach might be a small cove, it offers wonderful access for wheelchair users. Additionally, the walkways are mere metres from the ocean, which allows beachgoers to enjoy the ocean without venturing onto the sand.
At midmorning, as the QAWC members gathered on a grassy patch beyond the brightly coloured beach houses that line the walkway, the cove was already bustling with families enjoying the fine weather. The cheers and laughter of children mixed with waves crashing ashore instantly made it feel like the height of summer despite the mild weather.
Coloplast and Pick n Pay sponsored food and drink for the event. After a light meal, members who were feeling adventurous were encouraged to explore the 1,5-km accessible walkway that runs between St James Beach and Muizenberg.
Hugging the water, the walkway offers beautiful views of the ocean, but is a bit narrow – forcing members to explore it in single file. Most only ventured in for a few hundred metres. One member, however, made the entire journey to Muizenberg and back to travel a total of three kilometres. Before wrapping up, members enjoyed more snacks.
The beach day served as an opportunity for QAWC members to enjoy the ocean, socialise and network, but also created awareness. QAWC General Manager, Anthony Ghillino, explains: “While we are here, we create awareness. I think it is quite powerful for all the people attending the beach today to see that wheelchair users like to get out and can get out just like everyone else.”
To view more highlights, visit the QASA website here.