Silomo Khumalo

Activist legal researcher, Section 27

It was in late 2014 and early 2015, along with colleagues from Section 27, that Silomo Khumalo visited the 22 public special schools for visually impaired learners in South Africa. The report on these visits, titled Left in the Dark, is an indictment on the education system for children with disabilities. Khumalo describes the time conducting this research as greatly upsetting for him as a completely blind person.

Khumalo is an activist legal researcher at Section 27, where he has been working for more than two years. From Clermont, outside of Durban, Khumalo has been blind since the age of 9, and despite the challenges he faced at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he completed an honours degree in public policy and a law degree.

During Khumalo’s time at university he involved himself in various activist and community causes. As a result, when he finished law school he had already connected with Section 27 through his involvement in Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) and began to assist the organisation’s burgeoning work on education for children with disabilities.

He was awarded a Section 27-SLSJ fellowship to work at Section 27, and was involved in the production of research reports, book chapters and opinion pieces. Khumalo has also actively thrown himself into giving educational and motivational talks on his experiences as a person with a disability in South Africa. His commitment to social justice activism is a very necessary contribution to the struggles for disability rights and inclusive education. The 30-year-old will be working as a clerk to Justice Johan Froneman at the Constitutional Court from July 2017.

— Sifiso Buthelezi

Twitter: @silomomk