I was born at just over 6 months, and thus suffered severe damage to my retina and optical nerve, resulting in me been almost totally blind since birth - I believe a form of RP or Rop. I could distinguish light and dark and large objects at close range with the left eye and since 2004 my left eye went totally blind due to retinal detachment. After two unsuccessful ops, I lost all the 0.05% vision I had in the left eye. My right eye can only see very extreme light, thus extreme light and dark percepsion.

I do often use a white cane as a mobility aid, but only in very strange areas if I'm not been guided by a sighted colleague.


I went to a mainstream nursery school in Johannesburg, and then onto Prinshof school in Pretoria from Grades 0 to 2, where I was taught braille. I learnt how to write Braille on the Perkins Brailler, a mechanical braille embossing machine like type-writer, and learnt to read basic words and small sentences from Braille books.

I then did my primary and secondary schooling at Pioneer school for the blind in Worcester, Western Cape. Here we followed the Western Cape main stream curriculum from grades 3 until matrick. I matriculated in 1993 with Science higher grade, Maths standard grade, and typing and languages as other subjects, including a bit of German.


I went to a college for the blind in Pretoria, OPTIMA College, where I learnt basic computer skills and how to use the screen reading software, which reads screen text and prompts via synthesized speech. I advanced to Dbase and Clipper programming also at OPTIMA. I then did 2 years of the Technicon SA Information Systems correspondence course, and also did my Telephony and small business courses back at OPTIMA.

I then took 2 years to find a job. Out of desperation took a switchboard position with De Beers, and after another 2 years fighting to get into I.T. resigned, but withdrew resignation as they suddenly offered me a position in I.T. as E-mail administrator, managing the E-mail quarantine system. I advanced in I.T. and became their SQL Database administrator.

In 2007, De Beers outsourced us to Business Connection still doing DBA support for De Beers as their client. Since 2008 BCX allowed me to work remotely from home, always a dream as transport in Joburg for a blind person is a nightmare.


I take interest in the following, and keep myself busy with most:

  1. Long distance sport - mainly endurance Horse riding, and some road running, tandem cycling, and Canoeing
  2. Computers - enjoy hardware, Database development, Internet and multi-media
  3. Trains - Love Railway locomotives and rolling stock, especially steam power
  4. Music and good Hifi - All types of music, prefer Modern rock and alternative
  5. DIY - enjoy wood and steel work
  6. Cars and motoring - although I don't drive, a great interest
  7. Hiking and out-doors, I love nature
  8. Animals/Pets - love horses, also larger dog types
  9. Fishing and other - On odd occasion go fishing on the Vaal

My main hobby is endurance horse riding, and then when possible I still do road running, and to a less degree Tandem cycling, and paddeling. I also do weights on a regular basis to help tone and strengthen. Click on my Sporting interests and achievements to see more. Also check out the following cool sites:

Endurance Riding Association of South Africa
Neigh-bours blog site where I sometimes blog on my riding
Horse and stable web page
Runner's World home page (SA)
World of endurance home page Cycle Lab home page (SA)

Although I work daily with computers in my job, I enjoy hardware, as well as surfing the Internet for interesting info, and playing around with multi-media. Check out some links here below that I enjoy:

Tom's hardware guide home page
PC World magazine home page
Computing SA magazine home page

I also spend a lot of time listening to all types of music, as long as it sounds good. I especially enjoy modern rock music, alternative, classical, jazz, african and some house/club. I thus appreciate good audio equipment and can't stop upgrading and changing speakers, amps, etc.
Check out these real cool links below I often visit:

What Hifi Magazine home page (UK)
Audio Video magazine home page (SA)
Audio and home theatre equipment reviews by customers
Stereophile magazine home page for high-end stuff
HFX Systems - My dealer

I grew up traveling on the South African Railways Trans-Karoo, and have always loved trains. I like Diesel-Electric locomotives, as well as Electric, but especially enjoy steam. I'll be adding quite a bit of info, photos, and sounds to my train page, but click on Carl's Train page to check it out in the meantime:

I also enjoy making high quality stereo train recordings, currently using the Audio Technica AT822 stereo microphone running into my Plextalk Pocket Ptp1 Daisy book player / recorder. Plextalk site for more info

I also enjoy, for relaxation, listening to audio books in mp3 and daisy format. Check out for a good selection of audio books online.

Even though I don't drive on public roads, my brother grew up in the garage, no actually in the house, but you would find him in the garage under a car. He started off building up an old Escort GT (A Ford, and it didn't even leak oil!) and has owned and modified many cars such as AC Cobra, Audi's, Subaru's, Nissan 200/300 ZX's and 350Z, BMW, Merc AMG, etc. I learnt a lot about cars from him and enjoy visiting the following pages:

Wheels24 excellent motoring site (SA)
Top Car magazine (SA) web site) My collection of Ford jokes

I also love nature and animals, especially horses. I only got involved with horse around 2005, and for a while leased a horse, Dewaal, privately at Stirrup Glen Horse and Game Farm where I lived for a while and in 2008 bought my very first own horse, Billy: Click here to read more

The rest of the time I enjoy DIY, woodwork, braais, visiting friends, and enjoying camping, hiking and nature. If I need any info on say woodwork, or any topic for that matter, I use
Google to search anything on the internet. It works well with JAWS, my audio output screen reading software. Check below under the heading EMPLOYMENT for more info on JAWS.


I currently stay on my own in a rented 2 bed-room cottage at Drum Blade just south of JHB, in the Walkerville area, where I work from home.


Firstly to make people more informed on blind persons and how they live - creating public awareness.

Giving fellow blind Internet users easier access to useful pages on the webb, and also hopefully to motivate them too.

Metric conversion table

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