Leonidas Ndayisaba is one of those people that embody the saying that ‘disability is not inability’ and when you listen to him on air analyzing sports or commentating matches, you can’t imagine that he is visually impaired.
The 39-year old has proven skeptics wrong to make a mark in sports journalism despite the challenges that come with visual impairment.
Ndayisaba works with a local radio station Flash FM where he reports about and analyse sports news and events in Rwanda and across the world.
But, all this seemed a pipeline dream after, at a tender age of three, Ndayisaba was diagnosed with cataracts, a disease that clouded his eye lenses before making him completely blind.
Years later, he overcame several challenges and realized his passion to become a sports journalist, for which he received an award as an outstanding sport presenter in the country. The award was given by the University of Rwanda (UR) in 2015.
“Journalism is a great profession, especially my area of sports. I am encouraged to pursue my dreams and living them as a sports reporter,” said Ndayisaba, noting that “Once you have the zeal to learn and discover something new, you will definitely achieve it.”
He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from University of Rwanda – formerly the National University of Rwanda.
As a visually impaired reporter, he uses special audio equipment and braille labels to read scripts. “With the equipment, I am capable of any work before me.”
“There are many people who think that people with disabilities cannot do anything. That's not true. What can't a blind person do? They can be leaders; journalists [like me], musicians and may more. The challenge is that access to specialised education is still a struggle.”
He started his career with Radio Salus in 2008, a university community radio operating in Huye District, Southern Province, while he studied at UR.
“I loved sports and listening to sports shows since I was young, being impaired never stopped me from believing that I could achieve my dream as a sports journalist. I was always stronger than the challenges I faced along the way.”
“At times it is still not easy for me to access information from sources because some people [up to now] don’t understand that I can be a professional reporter as anybody else.”
Ndayisaba also previously worked at City Radio, Voice of Africa and Isango Star.Follow https://twitter.com/pkamasa