42, Cape Town
is an Administrator, in the Disability Unit, at CPUT. She’s been in this role for the last 9 years.
Her work involves working with students who have various disabilities, from assisting them when they’re applying to study at CPUT to when they’ve become students (such as applying for bursaries or in their everyday life and studies on campus) to assisting them in career advice post-studies. At CPUT, they have a broad range of students with many different types of disability, including: physical, sensory, mental health, as well as learning and intellectual disabilities. The Disability Unit assists them all, which can be challenging given the range of the needs combined with the constraints in the campus facilities.
Also, currently, she is studying a Masters (in Disability Studies, with a focus on: young women with visual-impairment and their participation in recreational sport) at UCT.
Dellicia has a condition called albinism, which results from a reduction or absence of the skin-pigment melanin. It can vary in severity and the symptoms can be white skin, light hair, and/or visual-impairement. For Dellicia, this makes her skin very sensitive in the sun and she is photo-sensitive (meaning she finds glare or direct light in her eyes very uncomfortable). In order to assist with this, she wears spectacles that automatically tint when she’s in bright light.
The other challenging aspect of albinism is how other people react in regard to it, which can be upsetting due to people sometimes staring or having a ‘rejecting’ attitude towards Dellicia in regard to it. Previously, Dellicia had a colleague at work who refused to have anything to do with her because this colleague’s (misinformed) belief was that if she touched Dellicia then the ‘whiteness’ would ‘rub off’ on her too (somehow). Another colleague complained that Dellicia ‘invaded’ their personal space when talking with her, due to her lack of sensitivity and understanding of albinism and how it can affect a person’s vision. (Because of her visual-impairment, Dellicia would need to be slightly closer to be able to see the other person to whom she was speaking – so she wasn’t intentionally doing this and,
naturally, she wasn’t aware it was a ‘problem’.) Obviously, these incidents were upsetting for Dellicia and they were based on a lack of sensitivity and awareness in those particular colleagues.
However, Dellicia says that the moment she started to accept herself and understood that she can’t change the way she looks nor can she change how other people react to people whom look like her, she felt life became a bit easier as she didn’t waste time worrying about what people think or their per-
ception of her. She applies this insight and attitude in her work too: she goes to work and does it to the best of her ability so that she can impress people with the quality of her work and its results.
Outside of work, Dellicia suspects that she’s ‘secretly’ an extrovert, because she enjoys socialising and spending time with other people, including with friends and family. She enjoys playing board-games and watching movies, as well as a bit of dancing (but not singing). She feels that she’s a well rounded person who is easy to get along with.