OTJINENE – A young girl from Otjinene in the Omaheke region dreams of becoming Namibia’s next running superstar.
Vijakura Katjatenja (7), who lives with a disability known as congenital malformation, has deformed lower limbs. She doesn’t just dream of walking; she wants to run.
“My biggest dream is to run, and run very fast. I am confident of winning because I beat some children in the street when we are playing,” said Vijakura.
Congenital malformation, also known as birth defect or congenital disorder, is a condition present at birth. Birth defects result in disabilities that may be physical, intellectual or developmental. These disabilities can range from mild to severe.
Vijakura’s mother, Mbatataiza Katjatenja, explained to New Era that her daughter was born without development legs. “One of her legs has a disabled foot, while the other leg ended by the knee as can be seen in the photo.”
Vijakura means accept what you cannot change. Katjatenja says she is fond of her daughter, who she describes as a helping hand who always has a smile while doing what others are doing at home.
“Vijakura is a very active girl. She is always playing with other children in the street, and running around. You can be surprised seeing her running but yes, she can also run! She is always helping me with washing dishes, cleaning and dancing,” beamed her mother.
She is a third-born from four, and attends the Christopher Ngatjizeko Primary School in Otjinene.
“At school, teachers and children are so caring and helpful towards her. It’s the first time to have a child with that condition at school, but kids are not shocked with her. They do not isolate her from them, which is very welcoming”, she added.
Vijakura hopes to be given a chance to show her talent now that she is in school.
Katjatenja encouraged other kids living with disability by stating “do not limit yourself, you are able to do what others can do as well. Being disabled is not a choice, but you can make choices for your life and better ones”.
Meanwhile, Otjinene councillor Erwin Katjizeu said as a constituency office responsible for the development of constituents, they are dealing with a lot of social issues.
“We have people with disabilities in the constituency, and we are doing all we can so that they benefit from the developmental projects we offer to the constituents. Last year, we had a disability day here in Otjinene to see to their needs, and a lot has been identified,” he explained.
Katjizeu stated that he met Vijakura recently, and was pleased to engage this lovely and joyful young girl.
“She behaves like every other child, and I am urging all parents and caretakers of children with disabilities to bring their children to school so that they can achieve their dreams. They say disability is not inability. They should come out and let the kids exercise their constitutional right, which is to attend school,” he urged. Katjizeu added that there were about 112 people with disabilities who attended the day, while six people have been identified for flushing toilets to be built for them from February 2022.
The councillor furthermore warned parents who misuse the children’s grants to refrain from doing so because his office and the regional social welfare office have embarked on a programme to attend to such issues and if people are caught, the law will intervene.
Vijakura’s family received a wheelchair donation from Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa.
The wheelchair was aimed to help her with movement now that she is in school while waiting for a doctor’s directive for what is the best medical attention she might need, going forward.