After being diagnosed with a severe learning disability and almost going blind, Willemien du Toit went on to obtain a Law qualification from the University of Oxford. She is now using her testimony to motivate women and children around the world. Facebook/ Willemien du Toit “Just 2 weeks before I was born, my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. In those days the medics had no way of knowing or telling that an infant may be suffocating from the grips of an umbilical cord. I was born through natural birth which caused the umbilical cord to grip even tighter. As a result, I was born “black” due to severe oxygen deprivation and I was left with some serious scars to my academic abilities. The extent of the damage was only discovered when I started school and they found that I couldn’t read,” says Willemien.

She adds that her teachers told her parents there was “no hope at all for me finishing school and making something of my life.” But Willemien says her parents pushed her and instilled hope in her that she could achieve anything in life.

“I never understood why my mom and dad had to be so hard on me, always pushing. My dad used to say, ‘your best is just not good enough – do better’. I just thought they didn’t love me. I thought they were setting me up for failure because they always expected the impossible from me,” says Willemien.

Because of her parents’ support and encouragement, Willemien went on to finish school.

“From a very young age, I always wanted to become a lawyer. It was my ultimate dream to say: ‘I am a lawyer’. But it never crossed my mind that I need to be academically strong – I needed to be able to read and write, two skills I really did not have – I could only do the very basic. I flunked almost every subject but by some miracle, I never flunked a year, and scraped through by the skin of my teeth. And eventually in 1988, I finished and passed my matric – […]

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