Change the world


“It’s important for people to turn negative situations into positives,” this is the outlook of Public Relations Management graduate, Ross Dakin, 23.

Despite his physical challenges, due to cerebral palsy, compounded by the global Covid-19 pandemic, it was this motto that carried Ross through the final stages, to complete his studies.

Ross had just started his in-service training at a local PR company, when the National Lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic was implemented. As was reality for many businesses, the lockdown meant that the company didn’t have much work coming in. However, his positive, can-do attitude helped him self-generate work, in order to complete his mandatory in-service training and successfully qualify to receive his diploma.

Ross, who is differently abled, is wheelchair bound, cannot write and has challenges with his vision, yet these challenges didn’t stop him from obtaining 14 distinctions out of the 19 subjects required to complete his qualification.

“People often underestimate the abilities of those who are differently abled, thankfully I am very confident, so I always try my best to exceed expectations. “

Ross praised Nelson Mandela’s Universal Accessibility and Disability Services (UADS) unit, for the support he received, and the various forms of assistance provided throughout his studies.

He wrote all his exams in a formalised space solely dedicated to him. His UADS appointed assistant, would read him the questions and then scribe the answers he gave verbally.

“I am very grateful, my studies were made easier by having a wheelchair accessible campus and the necessary concessions from the UADS unit,” said Ross.

Ross has an identical twin brother Brett, who also has cerebral palsy and is a four-time, South African Boccia (a precision ball sport, related to bowls) champion.

When Ross started studying, he decided to take a break from sport, to concentrate on his studies. “You can do most things, if you try but not everything.”

During a gap year in 2017, Ross became part of the Ward 3 Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership. He was also one of the founding members of the Walmer Renewal Association, a non-profit civic organisation. The NPO was formed to carry out minor maintenance, repairs and public beautification in the Ward 3 area and is reliant on donations.

“I felt that this was a perfect opportunity for me to be social, by interacting with the residents while giving back to society.” 

During his studies, Ross volunteered to assist the UADS unit, by managing its social media and communications and has been entrusted with managing its Facebook page for the past three years.

He hopes to complete an internship with a department at the University and then start the Advanced Diploma in Public Relations Management. 


Contact information
Ms Lyndall Sa Joe-Derrocks
Publications Practitioner
Tel: 27 41 504 2159