Expressions of emotion

Assistive Technology starts with products but ends up being about the person using it. I could write a book about the amazing people I meet and how they overcome so much and achieve the impossible. I have not met Mynie but we correspond regularly and I would like to share her story of achievement. Celeste Mukheibir

In 2002, Mynie Brits had a motor accident which broke her neck and rendered her a quadriplegic, two weeks before her 39th birthday. Since then she has lived in Cape Town with her children Ras (6) and Katrienka (3), and two home carers.

Before the accident she lived in Magoebaskloof, Mpumalanga and had a thriving business doing creative woodwork, framing, linen painting, embroidery and interior decorating. But the accident had far reaching consequences. Her marriage ended a year later and she became a disabled single mother. She claims she was a difficult quad and she didn’t do well for over three years.

She had no functional movement in her body so she had to train herself to use voice recognition software to communicate with her computer. Then she discovered Celeste Mukheibir’s assistive technology products which opened up a whole new world for Mynie. She started using the infrared SmartNav AT Headmouse system to create her graphic artwork.

“I enjoy it tremendously and learn more every day as I go along,” says Mynie. “Most of my work is an expression of emotions, and I incorporate light and darkness in every piece. To me it symbolizes life.”

She uses up to five photos for her graphic collages, and feels more inspired now that she can ‘use her head’ to write, draw and design. She has taken part in a few group exhibitions and sold some of her works which are professionally printed to A3 size. But she’s not a crowd person, preferring to relate with people one-on-one. “I believe in moving on with what I have and getting rid of the things that hold me back!”

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