Marlene le Roux is the CEO of Artscape Theatre Centre. She is a proud woman with a disability and although it was a painful journey to get to this point, she still works tirelessly to share her journey with other women that are going through similar experiences. She has two beautiful children, Aimee and Adam. Adam has Cerebral Palsy and he is mentally and physically disabled. Marlene is an activist and an advisor to both abled and disabled persons and uses her experiences to mentor company executives and government institutions how to overcome their fear to employ persons with disabilities.
In 2008 Marlene set out to change perceptions with her book ‘Look at me’. This book showcases the real life stories of 23 courageous, strong and sensual women with various disabilities in South Africa. Some of the women were born with a disability; others were disabled through an accident or illness later in life. “I realised from a young age that society puts people with disabilities in a box with an ‘ag shame’ attitude and I felt I wanted to celebrate who I am – disability and all,” says Marlene. “I realised that only a person with a disability can change the mindset of society.”
Marlene le Roux is a true inspiration and leads by example when it comes to living life to the fullest. Her soul purpose in life is to highlight the lack of “humanity” which marginalized groups face on a daily basis in South Africa, especially women and the disabled.
She is the brains behind the annual Artscape Women’s Humanity Arts Festival that culminates on August 9 every year. This is an opportunity and platform for organizations to connect, network and forge partnerships to do work together as a united front. Workshops offering legal counseling – offered by legal practitioners – partner with Artscape annually, giving their time and sharing advice. The festival is balanced with book launches and entertainment that also offer the conduit of art for healing, learning and change. The aim of this Festival is to be that voice through the arts and to express the elements needed to have a more embracing society towards the issues women face on a daily basis. It is a day where all women regardless of their nationality, ethnic, cultural, economic or political divisions are recognized for their achievements. The Humanity Walk symbolizes the spirit of women who have marched to the Union Buildings more than 60 years ago. It has become an integral part of the festival. The day ends with a lunch sponsored by The Next 48hOURS and kindly supported by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Grand West CSI, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Tygervalley Centre and Jive.
There are many people who want to be recognized for their goals and remembered as visionaries, or who want to change and save the world; then there are those who make a difference and are remembered for just being there for the people and help them lead the life they were meant to live – these are phenomenal people. We salute you.
Happy Women’s Month.
Lentils and Lace