It seems whenever the words “disabled” and “access” are mentioned in South Africa, and particularly in the Mother City, Artscape’s CEO, Dr Marlene Le Roux’s name and face will somehow be attached.

Le Roux received yet another award at the weekend – this time a Woman of Valour Award for her contributions to creating an awareness around, and continuing the struggles of, disabled persons. The Western Cape Provincial Government and Mhonko Foundation sponsor these awards. MEC of Health Nomafrench Mbombo (pictured with Le Roux) and National Minister Human Settlement Nomaindiya Mfeketo (pictured with Le Roux) were also in attendance.

This award comes just months after having received an award from Queen Elizabeth II recognising Le Roux as the 5th Commonwealth ‘Point of Light’ in honour of her exceptional voluntary service promoting disability rights in South Africa.

Le Roux humbly says of awards in general: “Awards are not about me. I use them as a platform to inform and to educate. I know disability well – as a person who lived with it all my life and I know it as a mother who had a son who needed me 24/7. I know how one’s life is all about planning each day around that disability. I know exactly what mothers, especially the poorer ones, go through and what we can do to assist. So, if an award gives me yet another platform to speak to people or to help those poor mothers and to make those who don’t understand, understand, then I say bring it on. Long after the award is forgotten, the work must still continue and that is something we must not forget.”

Le Roux finds it laughable that some people still think all disabled people want are disability grants. It is her wish that disabled people will have all the right and access as their able-bodied equivalents. “When I think of the word ‘accessibility’ with respect to disabled people, I aim to make Arstcape a bastion, even a pioneer, in this regard.”