News / South Africa

Lungile Dube
3 minute read
21 Jun 2018
10:23 am

Disabled musician seeks to break norms in the music industry

Lungile Dube

The positive and confident Thabo Mashaba wants to inspire other people living with disabilities and give them hope.

Thabo Mashaba is an inspiring hip-hop artist who wants to break through boundaries.

A negative mind is the biggest disability one can have, says 22-year-old Thabo Mashaba, who was born with a genetic disorder, Midrand Reporter reports.

Mashaba, who resides in Ivory Park Ext 2, is an aspiring hip-hop artist who was born with a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. The condition, also known as brittle bone disease, is a genetic disorder characterised by bones that break easily.

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He said he wants to break the stereotype in the music industry that physically challenged people are not capable of becoming great musicians.

“When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t see a disabled person. To me, the biggest disability is a negative mind because then a person cannot achieve anything.

“I am tired of people asking how I am going to do music in my condition like I am less capable. I also want to inspire other people living with disabilities to follow their dreams and use their talents,” he said.

The enthusiastic young man originates from Limpopo and relocated to Johannesburg last year to do a Business Administration learnership. “I am trying to raise as much money as I can to pay for recording studios and fulfill my dream of becoming one of the best artists in the country. I want to change people’s perception of disabled people and break all boundaries.”

He is inspired by the likes of Lil Wayne and fresh South African talent like Shane Eagle. “I like Shane Eagle most because he is from Rabie Ridge. He started from the bottom, and is now standing on his own and doing well.”

Mashaba has a single track titled Tell Them About Me, and is currently working on another song called Wheels Of Steel.

“The song I am working on talks about my journey. I have overcome a lot of challenges, and am still standing strong. I want to inspire people in my lyrics and give them hope.”

Although he identifies himself as a positive and confident individual who is not easily broken, society sometimes reminds him that he is different. He is wheelchair-bound and uses public transport to move around.

Thabo Mashaba on his way to a music event in Newton.

“I stand longer waiting for a taxi because some drivers just pass me because I use a wheelchair. Two drivers once told me that my wheelchair was taking a lot of space. I cried … I am human and it hurts. But I have to be patient and think positively,” he said.

He said his ultimate goal is to get into the music industry and also venture into acting.

“It hurts me to see able-bodied people acting as disabled people on TV. It is heartbreaking because there are disabled people that are talented and yearning to be granted that opportunity.

“I want to change that. Once I break into the music industry, I want to help other people like me to be heard, seen and appreciated.”

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