Blind date affair

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South African Library for the Blind hosted a variety show and exhibition showcasing the talents and skills of blind or visually impaired artists as part of the Makhanda National Festival in Makhanda from 27 June to 7 July. The Library was proud to host this unique and multi-faceted show featuring performers who, while not blessed with the gift of sight, have certainly been blessed with talent.

Hosted by the warm and entertaining Fiks Mahola (7de Laan’s Simphiwe Mashiya), the show featured the poetry of Lelethu “Poetic Soul” Mahambehlala and Dr William Rowland (Chairman of the South African Library for the Blind). The musical talents of Singer/Songwriter Steve Kekana shared the stage with vocalist and guitarist Lois Strachan, singer Melikhaya Hugh, singer and keyboardist Gavin Grundlingh, flute and keyboard siblings PJ and Elna Durr and pianist Michelle Nel.

Melikhaya Hugu, who was born blind and began singing at a very young age, was also part of the lineup. “I am very happy to be given a platform to perform amongst other blind artists as I don’t get the chance to perform at other platforms as a blind person,” said Hugu.

Lelethu Mahambehlala heeded to her call for poetry in 2003, driven by a passion to empower school children and women. In 2013 Mahambehlala lost her full eye site. Despite the challenges that came with a sudden loss of eye site, Mahambehlala strongly believed that everything that happened is a manifestation of how life prepares you for the next dimension. Mahambehlala was part of the programme.

Multi-award winning Steve Kekana, who is a singer-songwriter that lost his sight at age five, graced the audience as part of the SALB variety concert.

Audiences were treated to a relaxed afternoon of entertainment by a talented group of artists who “see” the world in a very special way.

The shows took place at the National English Literacy Museum (NELM) in Worcester Street, Makhanda on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June.

The South African Library for the Blind (SALB) is a Non-Profit organization, which offers library services to blind and visually impaired people of South Africa since 1919. The organization is celebrating 100 years of existence in 2019.

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