Winston dreams of becoming the first blind tour guide in South Africa
Winston dreams of becoming the first blind tour guide in South Africa

Winston Fani (35), an unemployed blind gentleman, lives in Mfuleni, Cape Town, with his lovely wife, Busi (43), who is also considered legally blind, and their faithful guide dog, Gladys.

Winston and Busi
Winston, Busi and their guide dog Gladys.

Winston was born with glaucoma, a progressive eye disease and from the age of 12, has lived life in total darkness.

Like so many South Africans, Winston, who worked as a call centre agent at a logistics company in Cape Town, was retrenched during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and has struggled to find a job for the last 3 years.

“Due to the scarcity of jobs for the visually impaired, and that Winston only has a matric certificate, he has been unable to secure a job despite his determination, and humble dream to support his family,” says Tania Robbertze (54), a friend of the couple who puppy-raised their guide dog.


A vision for the future

For the longest time, Winston, who loves people and has a passion for history and education, has dreamed of furthering his studies and becoming the first blind tour guide in South Africa.

“I want to make history. I want to show it’s not impossible to do what you want to do, despite the obstacles.”

“I want to be the first blind tour guide in South Africa. I want to make history. I want to show it’s not impossible to do what you want to do, despite the obstacles. I want to meet new people and learn from people from different countries who come to visit our country. I’m on the verge of learning new things,” says Winston.

To help Winston realise his dream and gain independence, Tania, who has built an everlasting friendship with Winston and his wife, launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, appealing to the public to support Winston in receiving his tour guide certificate.

Thankfully, the appeal reached Enver Duminy, the CEO of Cape Town Tourism, who kindly agreed to cover Winston’s tuition fees for the tour guide course, which will allow Winston to expand his career options.

Still in need of funds to cover Winston’s first aid course, a laptop which will help him work through the course material, as well as his data and transport costs, Tania is keeping the fundraising campaign open, for anyone willing to help Winston get back on his feet.

Since the launch of the campaign over R5 800 has been raised towards Winston’s fundraising target of R20 000 with the support of 15 generous donors.

“Winston is a personable, chatty, gentleman, who connects very well with every person he meets. A job in the tourism industry will be a perfect fit for him. By supporting our BackaBuddy campaign, you will give a wonderful man a chance to reimagine his life and restore his sense of dignity by being able to work independently again,” says Tania

Tania says there’s a lesson we can all learn from Winston.

“Seeing the world from the perspective of a blind man changes how we appreciate and see the world around us. Winston can’t wait to break barriers around visual impairment, and share his unique perspective on the world,” says Tania.

WATCH SA Tourism Ad from 8 years ago

It seems fitting to rewatch this beautiful South African Tourism ad from 8 years ago, about the true beauty of South Africa being so much more than what you can see…