Bergvliet disability activist Chaeli Mycroft has won the Forbes Woman Africa Young Achiever Award, recognising an individual who is an inspiration to other young people on the continent.
She was presented with the award at the eighth annual Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit and awards evening, held on International Women’s Day, Wednesday March 8, in Pretoria.
“These awards recognise the stellar work of women on the continent, and the judging panel and editorial team adopted a set of well-entrenched criteria to shortlist deserving nominees.” said Renuka Methil, managing editor at Forbes Africa and Forbes Woman Africa.
Ms Mycroft has dedicated her life to dismantling stereotypes about disability. She graduated from UCT with an MPhil in human rights law; she is the first female quadriplegic to climb Mount Kilimanjaro; and she has completed back-to-back Comrades Marathons.
She co-founded The Chaeli Campaign in 2004 with her sister, Erin, and three friends. They were all between the ages of 6 and 12 at the time. Today this social justice foundation claims to impact the lives of 9000 people every year.
In her acceptance speech, she said: “We talk about equity and equality, and I think it’s about understanding and bringing everybody exactly as they are into every conversation that we need to be in. Then we can work together to build the equality that we all talk about.”
Ms Mycroft’s self-published book, Unapologetically Able, reflects on “25 years of living and laughing with my disability”. She is now working on a second book, which will describe her conquest of Mount Kilimanjaro.
In June, she will embark on her next adventure, “7in7”, which will see her and running partners Mark Ferreira and Ivo Riva running seven Comrades Marathon distances in seven days – six days from Benoni to Pietermaritzburg and ending with the Comrades Marathon (Ms Mycroft’s sixth) on day seven.
Visit www.chaelicampaign.org and www.chaelisports.co.za to learn more about Ms Mycroft and her work.