Vic McKinney: Being Disabled in the South African Built Environment: quadriplegic Dr. McKinney was accompanied by Randall Wynkwart, similarly disabled. Vic was injured when a tree fell on the car he and his soccer-player father were in (his father was killed); Randall’s injury happened as a schoolboy in climbing a fence on a task given him by his teacher. Vic was “fortunate” in that the tree had been identified as a hazard before it fell. Randall not so lucky, and living in a part of Tafelsig where transport is non-existent making things more difficult. There are 50000 people in wheelchairs in Cape Town – in a 4 million population – but you never see them because of accessibility problems which the 2010 World Cup brought home to us.

When Vic was injured he was terrified of being institutionalised, but managed to avoid that and one hopes that his lectures alerting undergraduate engineering students to the needs of the disabled in the built environment, which was the subject of his doctoral dissertation will pay dividends.

A couple of grey-haired listeners said that the question of accessibility for the disabled had never come up in any of their projects, so the need to raise awareness is there.