Queen On Wheels with Maureen Bvuma
In July 1985, the most beautiful baby girl was born in a room full of love. She got warmly welcomed by her mom Maree and her ‘mhani’ ( biological mother ) Molly. Vongani Maureen Bvuma was a girl with the most beautiful smile. Her smile is contagious, and it lights up every room she enters. She is the most amazing woman who inspired and touched many people with her book Queen on the Wheels to keep going. She went on to study and become the great dynamite that she is.
Her assertive personality, bravery, positive mindset, and tenacity made this beautiful woman stand out from the crowd.
She grew up in Johannesburg with her parents Ernest and Molly, younger sister Moira, and other family members.
In today’s piece, we explore further what it took for Maureen to make it despite all the hardships.
The Sanctuary of Greatness is blessed to pen down this beautiful story of a life well-lived.
“The story of my birth is one for the storybooks”, Maureen whispered.
“My parents got employed by the Lascaris family, and stayed on the property in the leafy suburbs of Rosebank”.
On a beautiful Sunday on the 17th of July, Maureen’s mother had severe labor pains. There was no time to rush her to the hospital. So her employer Maree, as known as ‘Mom’ had to be a midwife to her and delivered Maureen at home. The midwife flowed along at a lenient pace as she safely delivered the baby. Upon her delivery, they told her that she had a deep voice in which they thought she was a ‘boy’. They later found that she was unique with an amniotic sac over her head.
Her mother fully embraced her as she believed that the amniotic sac represented luck. Maureen got born with a fortune covering her head. Her destiny began flourishing from birth. She was an apple her mother treasured from the first time she carried her. Her testimonial birth was the story her mother would narrate to everyone to show off and to boast about the grace of the Lord.
“Everyone knew about my testimonial birth story”, Maureen said. “My mom used my birthdays as an opportunity to tell the story to everyone yet again. It was embarrassing for her at some point, but she secretly loved it because her mother would seal the story with a kiss on her forehead, it made her feel like the only queen in her kingdom. “My mother loved me unconditionally, Maureen giggled, for that I was grateful.”
Maureen was born with a condition called Osteogenesis Impefecta, which is a genetic disorder. It is a lack of calcium in the bones that then prohibits growth and strength.
The initial memory of her condition in understanding that she was relatively different and needed extra supervision, was when she visited her family doctor. The man was old, and he hardly chuckled. Surprisingly he took care of her and made sure she had all the necessary attention she could have ever asked for medically.
She gave Maureen everything to assist her growth into a healthy child, including calcium powders.
” Due to my condition, (yes I am going to blame my condition), I am wheelchair-bound. I did not have to be if I worked hard enough during physiotherapy”, Maureen explained.
Instead, I was never interested.” Every time the physiotherapist mentioned crutches and attempts to walk, her brain spun. She did not understand why she had to walk because she was short and tiny. She imagined that it would not look good to learn to walk with her state. She refused and told her parents. Luckily they supported her and summoned the Doctor to write a letter that explained why crutches were a bad idea for her. She solely protected her rights to love her wheels because walking looked like an extreme sport for her.
Growing up in a diverse household of two sets of families, black and white, caused Maureen to be the center of attention. Her family never made her feel different. Her older sister also had the same condition, which made things even easier. Her legs would randomly experience pains that sometimes felt like a pinch. Even at that, she found herself climbing the kitchen cupboards or playing on the dusty and gravel roads of her village Bungeni. She also walked distances to the mall to watch movies. She chose joy over self-pity. In a nutshell, Maureen’s childhood was joyful and adventurous, especially with someone of her condition.
She started school at the age of 7 and she could already read and write because her ‘mom’ ( mother’s employer ) was her teacher. The first school she went to was a boarding school, Adelaide Tambo. It is based in Soweto (formerly known as J.C Merkin School). That was her first reality check. Seeing so many kids with different disabilities in one setting was a shock for her. She got forced to stay there, which was something she was not ready for. She eventually made great friends, and they shared everything including toys and snacks.
I have always been an analytical person as a young girl. I am socially awkward and so my brain analyses the surroundings, and finds a less awkward setting.Maureen Bvuma.
Later on, in her boarding school, the school got vandalized. They were all moved to another school in Germiston. It was far away from her home, but she got glad because most of her friends were there. She needed not make new friendships. She stayed for two years and then moved to another school the following year until she completed high school in 2004. “One thing which I never understood throughout my schooling journey was why we had to have special schools for physically challenged people”, Maureen emphasized. When the children are allowed to grow around others with disabilities. It makes it easier for them to become empathetic adults who are more accepting of others. And they will become adults who do not know how to deal and navigate with or other people. Segregation just breeds hatred.
Attending a special school for Maureen was not favorable for her. If it had not been for her passion for education, she likely would not complete school. It was until she went to college that she got liberated from every bondage of self-doubt. The diversity and the variety of all types of people from all spheres of life made her feel complete. Studying Media and Journalism gave Maureen a sense of belonging because it has always been her dream, and she performed excellently in it.
She is an advocate for women in different spheres of life. “I believe that women can do great exploits as long as they stick together,” Maureen said. She had joined forces with the OBohlokwa foundation. An awareness of body positivity amongst women and children, those living with different conditions from different races. It advocates the importance and acceptance of women.
Internal confidence and healing.
One thing that stands out most about Maureen is her resilient spirit. She grew up in an environment where she did not have a role model that looked like her. She intentionally made a conscious decision to be her role model. Affirming herself daily that she was beautiful, strong, deserving, and loved by God. She spent most of her time writing letters to God. The letters allowed her to pour out her heart and cried when society bashed how different she was from them. She understood that language is power and they heal her. She learned the importance of manifestation, patience with God, and navigating challenges with a clear mind and a heart full of love.
Self – assurance.
At age 36, self-love, self-acceptance, growth, manifestation, hope, love, and faith are still constant reminders in her life. These tools were building blocks of her mental stability. She dealt with the judgments of society that were adamant on reminding her that she was different but she fought back by saying: ” I know I am different, but I am not the problem, you are’, Maureen emphasized.
Achievements and milestones.
Many could talk, but one can never stop the plan of God. Her achievements are humongous. She became an award-winning author in her first attempt at writing a book. Queen On Wheels, is a testament that all is possible when you believe. This book brought healing and a sense of purpose to her.
Public speaking is one of her attributes as she uses her power to influence women to take up space in leadership positions. “It was a great honor when I received the invitation to speak at the MHI Leadership firm. This platform opened a wide array of other perspectives towards leadership,” said Maureen.
She got the privilege to meet former President Thabo Mbeki. And became a Book Reviewer for a kids’ TV show called the Molo Show, flying a glider over the sea. She also became the second princess at a beauty pageant for women living with disabilities, among many achievements. The list is endless. She never allowed her physicality to stop her from achieving her goals.
What is next for me? More books and helping other aspiring authors to write their books. I believe we all have untold stories within us.Maureen Bvuma.
She is currently an employee for a Private Bank. She has been with the bank sector for several years now, and her career has been flourishing. She is also a disability activist and an award-winning author.
“Growth should not be a one-sided effort so I always make sure that all aspects of my life grow as I do. I am a story woman, and I live every day writing a new chapter”, Maureen concluded.
Do follow her on all her social pages and find out how you can purchase her book Queen on Wheels.
Please drop her a beautiful message in the comments section. And if you have not checked my recent posts yet, please click on the links below :
- Happy Women’s Day
- The Madishas – Varsity Connects
- The Kamberes – Love at first sight
- Beauty has no limits
- Love Kinks
Happy Women’s Month. August is Women’s month in South Africa. I will be bringing more phenomenal women to encourage us to stay hopeful no matter what life throws at us.
From my heart to yours. Cheers!!
Wowww!! This is such a touching piece dear..! She is very strong..! Such a inspiring piece..!🤗🤗