‘Albinism won’t stop me’

Thubelihle Mpisi, a successful young lawyer living with albinism.

DO not call me an albino, I am an African man living with the condition of albinism.

These are the words of Thubelihle Sibonakaliso Mpisi, a 24-year-old commercial law attorney who was born and bred in Gamalakhe and now works for Adams & Adams Attorneys.

Thubelihle was approached by this prestigious South African law firm in 2013, when he was still at university. “I just couldn’t say no to this offer of a lifetime,” he said.

Thubelihle on the Mandela bridge in Johannesburg.

Thubelihle Mpisi on the Mandela bridge in Johannesburg.

“There is a difference between wanting a job and wanting to work. Adams is a firm that has people who are pioneers in their own capacity as individuals. It’s a great platform for people who are focused, but also have a great sense of legal creativity and most importantly, have purpose. So I thought it’s best I join them,” he added.

Thubelihle has described working for the law firm as stressful at times but very rewarding.

He has had the privilege of being involved with major cases such as the Nkandla constitutional issue as well as the Robert McBride case.

“It has taught me a lot about human relations and built my esteem as a young lawyer,” said Thubelihle.

Thubelihle is proud of his ability to not concern himself with the stereotypes of albinism, pointing out that with or without the condition, one will always face challenges in life.

“My approach has always been to say that as people, we will always accentuate fundamental and necessary biological differences such as race and skin colour.

Thubelihle Mpisi has defied the odds.

Thubelihle Mpisi has defied the odds.

“My simple view is that, it starts with equality and ends with equality. Pigment is just but one part of human biology,” he said.

He firmly believes that perceiving success with reference to assets is a narrow understanding of success.

“While I consider myself to have achieved some success, which I have worked very hard for, I do not consider myself to have attained this out of greed but out of the ever-evolving dynamic nature of success- you have to keep working towards building and getting more,” said Thubelihle.

He also feels strongly about making the most out of the present moment and making it count, without expecting to derive anything from it.

He says the biggest achievement you can ever have in life is knowing that you have lived up to your full potential.

“I am currently working towards obtaining my doctorate in law, perhaps once I have done that I can say with more certainty that I have made it,” said Thubelihle.

With all this said, albinism is not a disease or a plea for pity but rather a human condition that does not prevent anyone from reaching their full potential and excelling beyond society’s expectations.

Thubelihle Sibonakaliso Mpisi is living proof of this truth.

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