By Sophia Rahman
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Videographer / director: William Chingombe
Producer: Nora Hakramaj, Ruby Coote
Editor: Beth Angus
Sinikwe Kademaunga, from Harare, Zimbabwe, manages to do her own and others’ makeup and hair without hands - using just her arms, which end at the elbow.
The pretty 24-year-old has an unknown disability that caused her limbs to stop growing in the womb, leaving her with shortened legs which stop before the knee.
“When I was born, it was very hard for my family to accept that I was born with a disability because by that time when a child was born with a disability it was considered to be a curse from the gods,” Sinikwe told Barcroft TV.
From a young age, Sinikwe began using just her mouth and the bones at the end of her arms to feed and dress herself, write, and eventually even apply makeup and use her phone.
Despite her grandma doing everything she could to make her home accessible, and ensure she didn’t feel too different from other children, Sinikwe said growing up without limbs was still very difficult.
“Everything was comfortable for me, but when I went out, people used to stare at me. Some kids laughed at me. When I was 15 or 16, that’s when I felt different, because society has its own standards of beauty.
“When someone is beautiful, they have to be a tall person, with a certain kind of body. I realised that I couldn’t fit into that standard of beauty, and felt really insecure.
“But now I’ve realised that when people stare at me, I have to give them something to look at,” Sinikwe told Barcroft TV.
Sinikwe began developing her personal style, and doing motivational speaking, travelling to schools to teach people about disabilities.
She said: “People still have a negative mindset towards disability. But I think a huge shift came for me when I went to university because I had a chance to reflect on my life and who I am.
“I realised I have to be kind to myself and love my body, because if I don’t love my body, who is going to love me? This is the body that God gave me."
Sinikwe said she began posting pictures on social media, and she now gets frequent messages from her 4,000 Instagram followers saying how inspiring she is, and that she has given them hope.
In 2016, Sinikwe received recognition for her courage at Zimbabwe’s International Women’s Awards, and decided to start a blog - Life In The Shoes Of A Short Girl.
Danielle Mutseriwa, Sinikwe’s friend, said she’s got such a big personality, and is very loving.
“When I look at some of the things she’s been through, I wouldn’t have been able to get through half of them and still have a positive mentality and attitude towards life,” Danielle told Barcroft TV.
While motivational speaking, Sinikwe said the nicest thing she’s experienced is from a woman who approached after the event.
She said: “She hugged me and said about her condition, and problems in her marriage, and I have given her hope, and she’s not going to give up anymore.
“I know I’m going to live in this body forever so I just have to love myself and accept that this is who I am."