17 April 2018 Photo Johan Roux
Be an ambassador for hope - Miss Deaf SA Chantelle Pretorius
Chantelle Pretorius, Miss Deaf South Africa 2017/2018, spoke at the April graduation at the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. Spotlight photo: Rulanzen Martin

Chantelle Pretorius, Miss Deaf South Africa 2017-2018, delivered a speech filled with hope at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Education April graduation ceremony.

“In the words of Tata Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” said Chantelle.
A journey filled with triumph 
Chantelle’s journey to becoming a UFS graduate and foundation-phase teacher at Barkly East Primary School in the Eastern Cape is an inspirational one. When she became a UFS student in 2012, she showed promise on the football field and represented the university’s first football team from 2013 to 2015. She graduated with a BA in Education in 2015.
“Each person will experience the journey of life differently, but when we let our light shine, we unconsciously allow others to do the same,” said Chantelle. She encouraged the graduates by reminding them there is no obstacle too big to overcome.
No discrimination and people-centred university
“I am honoured to stand here today, before you all, as an ambassador for hope. I have never focused on my weaknesses but rather on my strengths. I pushed myself to be a better person in life and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to obtain a degree from the UFS, even though I am a deaf person. The university does not discriminate against anybody with a disability. So I salute this institution for allowing me to make my dream of becoming a graduate come true,” said Chantelle.

Pillars of strength and inspiration

She reminded the graduates that teaching was about being a pillar of strength and inspiration to the children they will teach. Chantelle said success did not happen overnight and that the graduates would need to live life with the right approach. She encouraged them to be enthusiastic, positive and motivated teachers. “Be the teacher that touches the lives and hearts of the children you teach because in the end, it is not what you say that matters but rather how you made the child feel, that will be remembered,” she said. 

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