Motoring industry opens doors of opportunity to those with disabilities

With Sambra's support, Londa aspires to realise his grand visions for the future. He aims to gain funding to enhance his workshop's recognition by insurers and acquire additional equipment, ultimately expanding his business and creating more employment opportunities.

Disability is not a roadblock, just as a mistake is not the end of the world.

The South African Motor Body Repairers Association (Sambra) plays a pivotal role in reshaping perceptions regarding the capabilities of disabled individuals.

Jacques Viljoen, Sambra’s national director, proudly affiliated with the Retail Motor Industry Association, emphasised that disability poses no insurmountable challenges in this sector. “The motor industry offers a multitude of opportunities, and in fact, we have exceptional individuals with disabilities who are climbing the career ladder and inspiring others to do the same.”

Viljoen highlighted the inspiring story of Luvo Londa, the owner of a motor body repair business on the East Rand and a proud Sambra member, as a testament to this notion. Londa’s journey began at the age of 19 when a car accident during a trip from the Eastern Cape to Johannesburg left him with a spinal cord injury, rendering him a quadriplegic. Despite this setback, he remained undeterred and pursued his passion for the industry, becoming a true inspiration to others.

Today, Londa is the director of A+ Auto Panel Beaters, where he leads a team of six staff members specialising in dent and scratch removal, full resprays, minor motor body repairs and paint restoration.

“I’ve always had a deep love of cars. I have fond memories of our family’s old bakkie, which belonged to my grandfather. My dream car has always been a BMW,” he shared, reflecting on his teenage years.

“Eventually, I started purchasing salvaged cars and enlisted professionals to perform complete overhauls. It dawned on me that I could turn this passion into a career.”

With his work impressing onlookers from his own backyard, he quickly expanded his expertise to include panel beating and repairs, attracting a growing clientele. “People could witness the exceptional quality of my work. More opportunities came my way, leading me to establish a small motor body repair shop. Finally, I was living my passion, fully immersed in the world of cars!”

Acknowledging the challenges of living with a disability, especially within a service-oriented industry, he emphasised the importance of gaining customer trust through delivering high-quality workmanship consistently. “Maintaining a high standard of work is crucial for the success of your business. Word of mouth spreads rapidly and can greatly benefit you if your work consistently exceeds expectations.”

In conclusion, he shared a valuable piece of advice. “You can transform your dreams into reality. The choice is yours. Persevere on the path you desire. I am living proof that with determination and passion, you can achieve success in any endeavor.”

Source: Cathy Findley PR




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