About Africane

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1,4 million South Africans are blind or visually impaired. Approximately 80 percent of this population live in rural areas with limited to no access to specialized education and employment services, and the number of trained Orientation & Mobility Professionals in South Africa is not large enough to meet the need.

In this context, the League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) has expanded its services to include Africane, a training programme that serves this population by ensuring access to education and rehabilitation as well as increasing the capacity of professionals interested in pursuing a career in the field of blindness and visual impairment. This works to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for Education and Decent Work.


Diploma Participants


Health Workers Capacitated


Organisations Assisted


Africane offers different services to suit the varying needs of blind and visually impaired individuals.


Two year national diploma, accredited with ETDP SETA, created to educate participants in Orientation and Mobility practices.

Short Courses

Continuous Professional Development courses, designed to teach specific skills around blindness.


Education and awareness events tailored to address the needs of public and private organisations.

Meet the Instructional Team

Heidi Volkwyn took up the position of Africane’s Programme Manager in October 2016. Her role is to lead, manage and develop the programme to ensure it achieves the highest possible standard of excellence. In addition, she offers academic support and mentoring to programme’s participants.

HeidiProgramme Manager

Benita Petersen graduated from the University of the Western Cape with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy and joined LOFOB in 1998. In her capacity as Occupational Therapist, she is responsible for the supervision of Africane’s Orientation & Mobility trainees and clients.


Sergil January came to LOFOB as a client in 2006, and has since worked his way up to become an Orientation & Mobility trainer. He also gives motivational talks, participates in rural outreach efforts on behalf of the organisation, and is a representative for the South African National Blind Cricket squad.


Ruwayda Smith arrived at LOFOB as a client in 2014, receiving training in home management, orientation and mobility, and computer and switchboard. She also volunteered as a Braille instructor and has been an Africane facilitator since 2018. She teaches youth and adults how to read and write Braille.



The programme has changed my view of technology and how to access information. This led me on a different journey of my education and my career development. My goal is to become a leader in the community and train other blind people.

TshekoDiploma Participant

After finishing schooling as the only blind person in the school, I wanted to further my education. The academy has provided me that opportunity and has changed my life. I feel inspired to be a person who can open doors for other blind people.

JodyDiploma Participant

As a fully sighted person, the academy has showed me a lot of things on how to help people that are blind or visually impaired. The instructors are a source of motivation and I hope more people interested in helping others could take part of it.

AlleneaceDiploma Participant

The organisation and the academy, in particular, have helped me realize who I am, my potential and what difference I can make in other people’s life.

CarlaDiploma Participant

Thanks to Africane I have learned to be functionally independent: I can do my own things at home and I can work with computers.

NombuleloDiploma Participant

Here I feel at home. I have come out of my comfort zone, changed my perspective and became involved in activities I had not engaged in before.

AntheaDiploma Participant


Two year national diploma, accredited with ETDP SETA (SAQA NQF Level 5), created to educate participants in Orientation and Mobility practices, enabling them as leaders and change agents in the disability sector. Upon completion, participants will be equipped with the skills to make a difference in the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired by training them to become functionally independent.

View Courses

  • Orientate self to the environment whilst experiencing a visual barrier
  • Demonstrate understanding of communication methods for blind or partially sighted persons
  • Develop daily living skills to enhance independence in blind and partially sighted persons
  • Read and write Braille
  • Enhance visual functioning of persons with low vision to improve quality of life.
  • Travel through environments whilst experiencing a visual barrier
  • Demonstrate understanding of specific medical conditions that impact on the planning of independence training programmes for blind and partially sighted persons
  • Read and write fully contracted standard Braille in any one language
  • Develop and use assistive devices for learners experiencing barriers to learning and development
  • Map aspects of the environment for persons who are blind and partially sighted
  • Refer a person with a disability to specialised services
  • Council an individual in a structured environment
  • Assist with planning and implementing advocacy campaigns for primary health care
  • Apply knowledge of issues of diversity in a specific South African context
  • Facilitate a programme of learning
  • Assist in creating an inclusive environment
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of assessment in a learning environment
  • Coach employers on creating an enabling work environment for an employee with a disability
  • Devise and apply strategies to establish and maintain workplace relationships
  • Manage diversity in the workplace
  • Conduct research and liaison relevant to the learning situation

What is Orientation and Mobility?

Orientation: The ability to know where you are and to move from one point to another. This includes everyday tasks like moving from room to room or following a route to get to the shop.

Mobility: The ability to move about safety like walking without tripping, navigating roads with a long cane, crossing roads and public transport.

Short Courses

Continuous Professional Development courses, designed for persons interested in gaining specific skills within the field of blindness and visual impairment.

Braille and tactile communication

After taking the Braille short course, learners will be prepared to provide instruction in Braille reading and writing to blind and visually impaired youth and adults.

Enabling persons with low vision

The purpose of this course is to ensure that learners are able to facilitate the competencies of persons with low vision, in order to improve their quality of life.

Managing diversity in the workplace

Learners will gain competencies to ensure successful integration of people with disabilities into the open labour market. They will gain and apply competencies learnt and create an enabling work environment for an employee with a disability.

Guide to blindness etiquette

Participants will learn general handling principles of the blind and visually impaired.


The sensitization workshop gave me a renewed appreciation of all our blessings and for all the simple things we take for granted. The activities were fun, however mixed emotions set in when you realise that this is just a game for you and that you can take the blindfold off anytime you feel uncomfortable, but for many it is a way of life.

Deon WillemseManager at The Foschini Group

The Orientation and Mobility training that Africane provides is an essential prerequisite to enable the blind to fully participate in our society.

Hassen KhanCEO at Haven Night Shelter

I visit the facilities every 8 weeks with a different group of students for learning purposes. The organisation acknowledges the challenges people living with disabilities face, however they focus on enhancing the various skills their clients are blessed with. This has been highlighted in many radio interviews with the UCT Radio Station.

Fiona JordaanFacilitator at the University of Cape Town


The estimated one billion people living with disabilities worldwide face many barriers to inclusion in key aspects of society. According to Statistics South Africa, the national disability prevalence rate is estimated at 7,5%, with visual impairment as the most prevalent, and education and employment as the areas most impacted. Africane seeks to address this important issue through advocacy efforts, advising and training organisations.

We have consulted with schools, universities, government institutions and companies on recommendations for reasonable accommodation, training employees on blindness etiquette and general handling principles of the blind and visually impaired. You too can book us to do an education and awareness event at your organisation.

Why the White Cane?

Many people associate service dogs with an improved quality of life for blind and visually impaired people. Unfortunately, many of our clients are unable to afford service dogs. Relying on service dogs also makes it difficult for blind and visually impaired people to become truly self-reliant. With this in mind, Africane instead advocates for the usage of white canes as a more affordable option that will help users be truly independent.