What we are on the outside does not determine what we are made of; do not judge a book by its cover.

“Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor,” but for this particular human being life was neither of those but a challenge in which she desperately had to overcome. Very dark toned skin, black and exquisite African hair, extremely thin, exceedingly short, beautiful piercing blue eyes and born with a very rare condition. She lived with her mother and younger sister in the rural areas in the northern of KwaZulu-Natal as she lost her father at the tender age of eleven. She was a witty, audacious and exuberant young lady but she did not have numerous opportunities.

This is a story of a girl who demonstrated that no matter what your circumstances you can achieve anything, that people should not be judged because of how they look on the outside because in reality there is more than meets the eye.

Akhona was not born an ordinary child but one that made her loved ones realise that life is a gift from the creator but what we make out of life is entirely up to us. Akhona was born without arms and legs. As she grew up she had to learn to accept that she was different from everyone around her. As she longed to fit in, life proved to be gruelling in the eyes of this beautiful yet delicate young lady. Her childhood was not one full of contentment, goals to achieve, dreams to fulfil and a life worth looking forward to but it was a sorrowful, horrendous and unpleasant one.

Everywhere she went people gossiped and ridiculed her. Her peers would always say to her, “Why are you here at school? Don’t you know that people like you do not make it anywhere in life.” How could she speak when tears cloaked in her throat? How could she put one foot forward when the ground beneath her was trembling? At some point she failed to succumb to the darkness, the empty void and the solitude. Life had drained even the slightest of faith in her. Somewhere in between all these tragic events, she lost herself and lost the will to live. She tried to commit suicide, but because everyone was created to fulfil a purpose, life refused to let go of her.

When she somehow made it out of an impossible situation, she realised that she had to dust all the dirt, pick herself up and keep moving forward because yesterday had gone but tomorrow was yet to come. Despite all the challenges she had to endure, she graduated out of high school, she did not just graduate, she excelled beyond expectation achieving above ninety percent in all her subjects. A lesson learnt that if u put your heart and soul into anything you do, you can rise above the mediocre.

She received a bursary to study law at Howard University. She completed her degree and is now a well-known business lawyer, not only in South Africa but across all boarders. She does not only represent people as a lawyer in front of the magistrate but she also motivates disabled students to keep moving forward, despite the excruciating encounters that life presents.

What we are on the outside does not determine what we are made of, where we come from does not determine where we are headed, do not judge a book by its cover because the story within may just be a life changing and fascinating one. This is a lesson learnt from Akhona who was disabled but searched for a new perspective in life and proved to people that no matter the circumstances of your birth, everyone has a purpose.