Limbless but limitless: Three-year-old inspires SA with her determination

22 May 2024 - 13:04
By Modiegi Mashamaite
TikTok star Lesego Marame recently went viral in a video of her having a conversation with her mother about President Cyril Ramaphosa buying her cake.
Image: Supplied TikTok star Lesego Marame recently went viral in a video of her having a conversation with her mother about President Cyril Ramaphosa buying her cake.

In a world often defined by limitations, Lesego Marame is breaking barriers and redefining what it means to be resilient.

Born without hands, the brave three-year-old has captured the hearts of thousands with viral videos showcasing her incredible ability to navigate life using only her feet.

In an interview with TimesLIVE, her Mother Martha Marame said from the moment she was born it was clear her journey would be different. Lesego was born with Phocomelia, or amelia, which is a rare condition that causes very short limbs. 

Despite the challenges, Lesego approaches life with a radiant can-do attitude that has inspired people of all ages on social media.

Phocomelia can vary in type and severity. With some it might affect one limb, the upper or lower limbs, or all four limbs. In Lesego's case she was born without both her upper limbs.

“At first it was hard. I didn't know there were people like this in the world. It was the first time I was seeing it with my daughter. I didn't understand anything, I asked myself how is it possible a person could be born without hands?” Martha said when she recounted her birth experience.

“They called other doctors. Doctors came and they started showing me videos of people who were like my daughter. Some of them were getting married. I was so shocked. It was my first time seeing someone like that.” 

With not much knowledge about her daughter's condition, Martha was confused and scared about whether she was capable of taking care of her.

“I was so scared because I didn't know how we were going to teach her how to eat, how to bath herself, maybe if she wants to pick up something. I was so stressed. How are we going to teach her because we don't understand? We don't know how to use our legs.” 

Her TikTok videos, which have recently gone viral, offer a glimpse into her daily life.

From writing and drawing to eating and playing games, Lesego performs all tasks with her feet, demonstrating extraordinary dexterity and creativity.

Each video is a testament to her determination and serves as a powerful reminder that physical limitations do not define a person's capabilities or spirit.

“With TikTok I want to show the world that these people are not different to anyone else. They are the same as us and sometimes they can do better things. I want the world to see that it is possible. Where they thought it is impossible, it is possible,” Martha said.

In one particularly touching video, Lesego is seen using her feet to carry food from her plate to her mouth with precision and ease, something many might consider impossible without hands.

Another video shows her having a conversation with her mother and asking President Cyril Ramaphosa to buy her a cake for her birthday. 

The video caught the attention of the head of communication in the Presidency, Athi Geleba, who contacted the family to make her dream a reality. 

“The people from the president's office called and said they saw the video. It has gone viral. People have been tagging us and calling us, so we will see what we can do. Surely they will deliver. I trust them,” she said, with a giggle from Lesego when she heard the word “cake”. 

Her story has not only highlighted the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities but also sparked a broader conversation about inclusivity and accessibility. Many have been moved to action, advocating for better resources and support systems for people with disabilities.

“I am not alone in this. I am not the only parent for this child. Whenever I post videos people contact me and say 'how are you doing this because I am raising a child and she was born without both hands', and “I am raising a child I never took out of the house. She was born with one leg'.

“I started to speak to people and say these things are real and we need to accept our children as they are,” said Martha.

Despite her fame, Lesego remains a humble and joyful child, continuing to share her journey with the world.

Her family, who have been her unwavering support system, are immensely proud of her achievements and the positive influence she has on others.

In a society often quick to define individuals by their limitations, Lesego's journey is far from over, and the world eagerly watches as she continues to navigate life with grace and courage, one step at a time.