With the general idea that photography has to do with how the person behind the lens views the world around them at the back of his or her mind, it may come as a shock that Donovan Botha, 22, who is visually impaired actually bagged a diploma in photography.
Botha has broken the record by getting a National Diploma in Visual Communication (photography) at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), making him the first visually impaired student to brave a trial at the department of visual communication.
He said it was not a smooth journey at all as he recounts the difficulties he had to encounter because of his visual impediments.
“It was challenging, I’m not going to lie. I had fun while doing it but it was challenging like when the other students could see things on the materials like a line on a piece of clothing or dust.
“One of the challenges was that I couldn’t always see the finer details but eventually I started to pay more attention.”
“The other difficult thing for me was getting from place to place. Because of my disability, I can’t actually drive but I found a way around it. I made it work and didn’t let it stop me.”
Donovan Botha was born two months before he was due which caused a problem to his retinas. Even after undergoing several eye surgeries, he remained partially blind with 50% sight in his right eye and only 25% in the left.
Botha did not allow all these to kill his dreams of studying photography and building his own studio.
He developed interest in photography when he found an old camera. Hear him:
“My love for photography started when I was digging through one of my cupboards doing spring cleaning and came across this old film camera of mine which I got when I was like in Grade 3. I wanted to get more film for it but the film was no longer being manufactured and from there I just got myself a digital camera and it just grew.”
Botha’s success was made easier with support from his family and friends who supported him in anyway possible.
“My family supported me a lot. They were the main pillar of my support system and friends as well. Everybody believed I could do it. In the beginning they (classmates) wanted to help me out with everything but I told them that if I need help, I would ask for it and I could do things on my own.”
Donovan Botha will receive his diploma on May 10.