Denis Hurley Centre

Thembi explains the highlights of the Hurley Exhibition at the DHC to a group of learners from St Benedict’s in Pinetown. (Photo: Sithembiso Shoba)

Helping visitors see with the eyes of faith

34 year old Thembi lost his sight at a young age. But that does not prevent him from catching the bus from his home in KwaMashu to the City every day and finding his way through the streets of Durban to the Denis Hurley Centre, where he is employed as a full-time guide.

Even before he came to the DHC, Thembi already knew a lot about the late Archbishop Hurley and the Centre which bears his name – through listing to radio programmes and audio books. Thanks to a voice-enabled computer and a phenomenal memory, he has been able to learn even more, and confidently shows people round the four floors of the building.

When people listen to Thembi’s tour, they start to reconsider their assumptions about what disabled people can do. Thembi is involved in Province and Municipal disability rights forums and is leading our work in disability activism. Before he joined the DHC, he had never had paid work.

Dr May Mkhize, patron and former trustee, was astonished by the tour: “I saw everything in a new light,” she said.

Thembi offers tours of 20, 40 or 60 minutes (from Tuesday to Saturday) which can be booked directly with him by calling 071 378 4227 or just dropping in.

“The DHC is a Festival of Ideas,” comments Thembi, “I meet so many interesting people, and each day I feel closer to the late Archbishop.”

[with acknowledgement to Raymond Perrier of the DHC]

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