Thabo David Mofokeng, born on July 3, 1981, in Boksburg, has faced numerous challenges throughout his life but has remained determined to pursue his passions and make a positive impact on his community.
At the age of 1, Thabo was diagnosed with Yellow Jaundice, which resulted in a year-long stay at Leratong Hospital. At 4 years old, he experienced partial blindness in both eyes due to Glaucoma. Raised by his grandmother, who had limited income, Thabo relied on state support for his education. He attended Thiboloha School for the Deaf and Blind in QwaQwa, Free State. Tragically, Thabo’s grandmother passed away in 1997, leaving him without a caregiver. Social workers placed him in the Tshireletsong Children’s Home in Bloemfontein. When he turned 18, Thabo’s eye condition worsened, leading to a year-long break from school for intensive treatment. However, he persevered and enrolled in Grade 11 at The Philadelphia School for the Blind in Pretoria, where he eventually completed his matriculation.
In 2003, Thabo pursued his passion for assisting the physically challenged by attending Optima College for the Blind. He chose Orientation and Mobility (O&M) as his course of study. Following the completion of the one-year program, Thabo sought employment at the National Council for the Blind (NCB) but faced limited success. Instead, he turned to his other passion—dancing and music. He auditioned at the Sebikwa Art Centre in Benoni and secured a learnership at Mapssita, where he studied dance, music, and African drumming.
Thabo’s achievements at the Sebikwa Art Centre were noteworthy, as he excelled in his studies despite being the only physically challenged learner at the time. After graduating, he landed a part-time job at Masutsa Dance Theatre in Qwa-Qwa, where he served as a resident choreographer and managed outreach programs for African Drumming.
In 2011, Thabo faced another setback when his Glaucoma worsened, resulting in complete vision loss in his right eye. This prevented him from continuing his work at Masuta Dance Theatre. Undeterred by the disease, Thabo founded his own group, Jazz Afro Arts Productions, which focuses on uplifting underprivileged communities through African drumming.
Thabo strongly believes in giving back to the communities that have supported him. With his small disability grant from the state, he finances Jazz Afro Arts Productions. The initiative has been able to volunteer its services to schools and community development programs. However, the current funding is no longer sustainable, and Thabo seeks outside support to continue the important work of Jazz Afro Arts Productions.
Despite the challenges he has faced, Thabo remains resilient and committed to making a difference. His love for music, dancing, and community upliftment drives him to overcome obstacles and inspire others with his positive attitude and dedication.