A visually impaired man gets things done
Even though Mtale Modise is visually impaired, he can still demonstrate to his boxing students how to exercise and build their bodies.
As you step into the A-Team Gym at Cosmo City’s Multipurpose, you will be greeted by the 27-year old dread-locked Modise who manages and coaches boxing students. In a glance, it is the standard ‘welcoming’ gestures and the warmest smile he could offer.
However, Modise is not like any of his other peers and mates. While he may appear physically normal, his vision is impaired. Despite his inability to see, he can still comprehend orders when his students do not know what to do. He has also trained himself to understand people’s voices so that he could identify them.
Raised in Lenasia, Modise was born in Soweto with perfect vision. He was able to see until he was affected by glaucoma at the age of 14. That was when his vision slowly deteriorated until he completely lost it. Up to this day, he is only able to use imagination and his stick to maneuver from one point to another.
“I came to Cosmo City in 2016,” Modise said. “In July 2018, I joined A-Team Gym to exercise my body just as a regular member. I think they saw my potential and then I was promoted. Right now I am coaching grannies, and some community members who come for weight loss. I also help some people to build their muscles. I am now managing the whole gym, and I am happy for that. The community members have been so friendly to me, especially at the house where I live. ”
Modise is the one who opens and closes the gym on a daily basis. “My daily routine is to work up early in the morning and come to the gym at around 5 am,” he said. “When I get to the gym I set up everything according to what we would be doing on that day. When it is the day for boxing, I set up the ring, punching bags, and gloves for the grannies. When they come, we then start working.”
Demonstrating his abilities to train the boxers, Modise told the Chronicle that his disability does not upset him anymore as he can still work and earn just like any other youths at his age.
“I am also a soccer fan,” he added. “I follow everything even though I cannot watch TV. Currently I understand everything that is happening in Egypt as far as AFCON is concerned. I use a certain application in my phone to read news using my fingers. So I am always up to date.”
Modise encouraged people who are disabled not to isolate themselves from the community.
Clara Nose is Modise’s trainee and she said “Modie is good at coaching and training people. He is brave and confident enough to offer his services to his boxing students.”
There is no discrimination at A-Team Gym and everybody is welcome, said Claude Maphosa the CEO of A-Team Gym. “After seeing Modise’s passion, we made him feel at home,” Maphosa said. “What drives a person is his heart and God is always watching people’s hearts. When someone has got a heart like Modise’s, you have to give him your best.