We meet the resilient Walter Maphalala from MTN Eswatini. Walter shares a glimpse into his life, living with Albinism and how we can each play our part in creating an environment that is accepting of all MTNers. Take a look below.

Before you see me, or know about my condition, I’d like to introduce myself and share a bit about who I am…

Y’ello, I’m Walter Maphalala from MTN Eswatini. I have 4 siblings and grew up with my mum and sisters in Hlathikhulu, a rural town in Eswatini. I have worked hard throughout my high school career and later on obtained a Certificate in Accounting and Entrepreneurship from Bellevue College. In 2022, I joined the big Y’ello Family as a Payroll assistant. I am a proud MTNer and thrilled that I get to be part of the MTN team, working together to achieve our goals. I absolutely love listening to music and it’s usually my escape when the world gets too much. I am kind, outgoing, enjoy learning new things, love having fun and when spoken to, I can be quite chatty.

What you may not know by reading this, is that I had quite a difficult upbringing. I’m grateful that the hardships I’ve been through, have made me more resilient and less afraid to make mistakes. Some of these hardships have to do with my condition.

We’ve all heard the English idiom, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ meaning to not judge the worth of someone based on their outward appearance, which is why I wanted to introduce myself, before telling you more about my condition.

I was born with Albinism, a rare genetic condition caused by a reduced amount of melanin in my skin, hair and eyes, which can affect people all over the world in any gender and regardless of ethnicity. As you can imagine, due to my condition, I am often judged by my ‘cover’, instead of people getting to know me for who I really am.

You see, like all of us, I too look different. But for people living with Albinism, it’s not always so ‘cut and dry’. Yes, I have different colour skin, eyes, hair and abilities, but it doesn’t affect the effort I put into my work, or my hopes and dreams for the future. At times, my ‘differences’ are often met with immense stereotypes and discrimination because of this condition. Growing up, I’d often change who I was, or hide behind a façade, just to fit in.

I am not so different to most people though. Like many, all I truly want in life is to love, and be accepted for who I am. But then again, don’t we all?

In commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, I challenge you today to be the change in the world… It’s up to all of us to stand up against stereotypes and the stigma around people who live with different abilities and disabilities.

If at all you bump into me, or anyone else with Albinism or perhaps another disability- don’t shy away. Let’s connect. Just ask, be curious, get to know them for who they are- beyond the ‘cover’ you may see. Take an interest and show care to one another, you could change that person’s entire day and life, for that matter. We all face our challenges and difficulties in life but the bravest thing you can do, is to show kindness. We can all do with a little extra on most days. 

Walter M.”