Connected & Courageous

Wicked sense of humour

Living in service of others

Passionate (bordering on 'saucy', I am told)

Lidia Pretorius

I was born a child of Africa, fiercely believing in the inter-connectedness between people, in our common humanity, our oneness.

The African saying, “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” – being self through others – is where I find my centre, balance, and inspiration.

So, although I might not have a disability (yet), I am because you are, and we are, therefore, mutually responsible for one another.

I walk in the shadow of giants

Friday Mavuso, Maria Rantho, Mike du Toit, Jerry Nkeli, Fadila Lagadien, Jabu Ngcobo Washiela Sait, Stephen Magagula, Shuaib Chalklen, Beatrice Ngcobo, Thulani Tshabalala, Pam McLaren, William Rowland, Lusani Nevhutalu, Michael Masutha, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Ruth Machobane, Portia Loyilane, Nenio Mbazima, Musa Zulu, Meshack Mndawe, Sue Philpott, Shelley Barry, Eddie Ndopu, Shona McDonald, Charlotte McClain (and, of course, so many more!)

Their guidance, wisdom and inspiration have, in turn, empowered me to cast my shadow for the next generation of disability rights activists – nurturing, inspiring, pioneering.

It was their wisdom, shared so freely, that shaped my thinking and understanding of disability as a social justice issue, a human rights issue, as a unity-in-diversity, rather than a welfare issue.  It brewed in me a resentment of portraying people with disabilities as sources for pity-party stories or being portrayed as ‘aspirational disability porn’.   It inspired my work on, among others, the television disability magazine series #Activated.

Career Highlights

Life has taken me full-circle, from learning from people with disabilities and their families under trees in rural villages to Parliament, the Union Buildings, the public service across all three spheres of government, and the United Nations, back to working with non-governmental organisations and persons with disabilities in my coaching practice. 

Representing South Africa on several international platforms and processes, for example, collaborating with UNDESA and three other African countries on the drafting of the Africa Toolkit on Disability and accounting to the United Nations for South Africa’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is not far behind.

The lived experiences of so many people with disabilities who crossed my road over the past 30 years of working in frontline service delivery as an occupational therapist, a social justice activist, a full-time politician, a public policymaker, a rural development practitioner, and an empowerment life coach, inform my disability empowerment coaching. 

As a life coach, my focus is on impacting the quality of life of persons with disabilities and their families.  I do this by supporting them in designing a more purposeful and joyful life trajectory by bursting their ‘dis’ bubbles and rediscovering their mojo.


White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy


White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


United Nations Social Forum


United Nations Committee on the rights of persons with disabilities



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