Human Rights Day, 31st March, 2000
Leonard Gregory sits beside the soccer field at Bhongweni Stadium in Kokstad. Leonard is a Griqua who comes from the East Griqualand area in KwaZulu- Natal. He is watching Bush Bucks from Mthatha play an invitation team made up of players from teams around Kokstad. A large crowd has come to watch the match which is part of the Human Rights Day celebrations.
After this match the main event is on – the Dangerous Dinosaurs from Durban against Vukuzenzele from Bizana. This is a soccer match of a very different kind. It is crutch soccer. The players have physical disabilities and play on crutches. The crowd is amazed that people on crutches can play soccer. These players use their crutches like another pair of legs and have great soccer skills. The crowd has never seen anything like it before.
They whistle and cheer to encourage the players. Leonard Gregory is the person who arranged the event. As he watches the players rushing around the field on their crutches and listens to the cheers of the crowd, he smiles with satisfaction. His plan has worked.
He knows that the community will now accept that people with disabilities can do things for themselves. They are not useless and helpless. They have a great deal to contribute to the life of the community, just like Leonard Gregory.
Leonard Gregory has a disability. He uses a wheelchair. When he walks he uses crutches like the players on the field, but he was not born with a disability.
In this story you will find out more about Leonard, his life, his faith and his work with the disabled people in his community of Kokstad.