CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s Miss Wheelchair Tamelyn Bock jetted off to Mexico this weekend to compete in the Miss Wheelchair World pageant on 29 October.
Tamelyn was crowned Miss Wheelchair South Africa in August last year. She hails from a small town in the Northern Cape, Nababeep, north of Springbok. She says:
“I am very excited to meet the beautiful ladies from all the different countries. We all share the same mission, to change the world and to highlight that beauty has no limits.
“It is a huge achievement to be able to represent our country.”
Last year Tamelyn launched a fundraising campaign on website backabuddy.co.za to enable her to compete at the event in Mexico. It was an injection of R50 000 from a local Nababeep copper producer Copper 360 that sealed the deal for her aide (assistant) travel sponsorship; as well as Tourvest Group sponsoring Tamelyn’s ticket.
Jan Nelson, chief executive of Copper 360 says: “We are a small community, and we all live for one another, and when we heard that Tamelyn needed a donation to get over the line, it was a no-brainer for us to help her out.”
Jan says he views Tamelyn as a champion whether she comes home with the crown or not. He said that the awareness the pageant creates is the real victory.
Jan adds: “When Tamelyn returns she will head straight to our plant and begin interrogating every aspect of it, and help us to make it safer, easier to navigate and more friendly for physically challenged people.” He adds that the resources sector was traditionally not a friendly place for disabled persons, and Copper 360 plans to change that with Tamelyn’s help.
“We intend to publish a guide next year that includes Tamelyn’s recommendations and our progress towards inclusion and make it available to any company as a downloadable blueprint on how to just make a few changes that can change someone else’s experience of the world significantly more positive.”
Tamelyn says: “I hope to gain worldwide recognition for women in wheelchairs to gain the necessary opportunities and support in our various countries with the main focus on inclusivity. I hope to raise awareness about the challenges we face on a daily basis and to bring change. Most of all I aim to be a voice for women in wheelchairs. I am very driven by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’.”
Due to financial constraints, Tamelyn had to use the funds for transportation, visas, and accommodation on two occasions in Cape Town. Northern Cape Tourism Authorities came forward and generously also contributed R10 000 to the shortfall.
The Miss Wheelchair World pageant celebrates its sixths instalment this year. It was founded by two disabled Polish moms who believed there should be no limits in the manner that beauty is perceived and appreciated.
Tamelyn says: “I am excited to show the world that nothing is impossible, and anything can be achieved through hard work.”