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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tribute to Wenzu Dalli - disability activist (and more) Part 1

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of being invited to an unveiling of a bust in honour of Wenzu Dalli (1955-2005), an important contributor to local disability activism. I cannot do justice to his memory in these short posts but I’ll try to capture some of the moments and feelings I had following this event.

Wenzu, which is the Maltese equivalent of “Lawrence”, was blind from birth and lived together with his sister Carmen (who was also blind) in the local town of Hal Ghaxaq. He lived in that locality for all of his life. When he died back in 2005, he managed to touch the hearts and change the minds of many people on what it means to be disabled in Hal Ghaxaq and beyond.

But first, a short biographical sketch…

Wenzu, unlike other children of his generation, had to attend a special school in his early days since he was blind. It was there that he learned Braille. He then proceeded to become one of the first disabled students to attend a mainstream school. If we consider that disabled people were in the majority excluded from mainstream schooling, this opportunity helped Wenzu greatly in developing a thirst for knowledge and learning. Sadly, he couldn’t continue expanding on his formal education. Indeed, Wenzu would have been considered ‘lucky’ to have received mainstream education in the first place!

So Wenzu had to find a job…