GEORGE NEWS & VIDEO - Most people in George know Richard Albertse (60) as the blind person who on weekdays walks to his office at a bank in York Street, but it is not commonly known that he has a creative side.
A few days ago he received the first copy of his first book, Vision: The story of a seeing blind man. Albertse said although it is fiction, it is in many ways based on his own life. It depicts the life of a person who had to cope with the reality of slowly losing his eyesight.
In the pages of the book, the reader will discover inspiration and courage to tackle and better overcome life's more difficult challenges.
The book is described as a novel packed with adventure, comedy, romance and drama. "It is a relaxing read," said Albertse.
The official book launch will be on 8 May at the George Library. Depending on the number of people indicating attendance, there may be a change in venue.
Albertse has come a long way. At the age of 10, it was established that he had eye problems. He could still see, but his sight deteriorated over the years. At a young age he could still ride a bicycle and read books in large print.
He later married Riana, who had been born blind. He lost his vision totally in the early 1980s.
He has been working in the banking sector for more than 39 years as a switchboard operator.
The couple moved to George in 1988. He and Riana cope well with their everyday challenges. Richard can play the piano and the guitar and has also written two gospel songs that were officially registered.
"I have this creative drive," he said.
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He started writing the book at the beginning of 2016 and it took him a year to finish it. In 2018 he won a competition with the manuscript and received a grant that made it possible to publish the book.
He said the practical side of writing the book was challenging. He used a specialised screenreader and computer software.
"I won't be able to read the printed copy of the book myself," he smiled. "I trust that what I wrote is what is published."
While Albertse can read braille, the book won't be published in braille, but the plan is to also make it available as an audio book. He hopes people can take a positive message from his book. He said people sometimes complain too easily, mentioning the example of people complaining that they don't have shoes - until one day, they meet someone who doesn't have feet. His message is that whatever challenges you have in life, you can overcome them.
Asked if he would write another book he said, "Perhaps, at a later stage".
Riana is very proud of Richard for persevering and completing the book.
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