Disability no excuse for student

GO-GETTER: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University student Duncan Monks  Picture: MARIO CACCIOTTOLO
GO-GETTER: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University student Duncan Monks Picture: MARIO CACCIOTTOLO


PORT Elizabeth student Duncan Monks is profoundly dyslexic.

When he tries to read or write, the letters morph before his eyes. When he is under stress, it is worse.

Yet Monks, 24, managed to pass matric and is now completing the third year of his BCom (Information Systems and Business Management) degree at NMMU.

He is an officer of the SRC, a spokesman for students with disabilities – and is considering pursuing a career in politics.

Aspects of his remarkable story were published on the photography website of London journalist  Mario Cacciottolo late last year, during the South African leg of his ongoing “Someone once told me” world tour. Since June last year, Cacciottolo has been travelling the world asking people to write down  the memorable words someone once told them.

The words Monks wrote for Cacciottolo were: “You cant yoos yor disubte as a exus” (You can’t use your disability as an excuse).

And he does not. His mother, Maria Monks, told him those words when he was in high school and  fighting to stay  in a mainstream school.  With no reading software available at the time, Maria read all his textbooks to him and his school, Theodor Herzl, allowed him to have scribes for exams.


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2 thoughts on “Disability no excuse for student

  • May 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    way to go Dion. i am proud of you. keep up the good work you are a motivation to others with disabilities. Dallas

  • May 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

    That is the MOST awesome school ever! My kids go there now and I can honestly say that they treat every child as an individual and nothing is considered a disability, it is merely a challenge and the children are encouraged to rise to meet that challenge head on! Well done to this brilliant young man. Theodor taught my children this very important lesson :- “It is your Attitude not your Aptitude that will determine your Altitude!”


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