Vol. 18 Nos. 1 & 2 (2022): Special Issue: Disability and Sub-Saharan Africa; (and additional International Research in Disability Studies)
No.1: Special Issue: Disability and Sub-Saharan Africa
Elvis Imafidon, Charlotte Baker
This article introduces the themed content of this issue of the journal. The issue looks at disability in Sub-Saharan Africa (which is generally considered the parts of Africa south of the Sahara).
Research Articles and Essays
Podoconiosis (a skin disease from exposure to clay soil) affects many people who walk barefoot many years on soils that irritate skin. Many people have this disease in Ethiopia and other places. Even though the condition can be caused by being poor and can cause being poor, not much attention has been paid to the disease. This is especially true if we think about people’s right to health in Ethiopia. Although there are many international and regional agreements that should guarantee people’s rights to health in Ethiopia as a basic human right, there are still major gaps in care for people with podoconiosis there. This article shows this through observations and interviews.
Enoch Acheampo, Anthony Kwaku Edusei, Peter Agyei-Baffuor, Reindolf Anokye, and
Fear people may be treated differently because of their disability can keep them from getting healthcare. This study looks at the experience of people with disabilities at places that provide healthcare in the Bosomtwe District of Ghana. Information from 30 people with disabilities was collected in interviews and focus group discussions. This was audio and video-taped, transcribed and then organized into themes that are presented here with quotations. This showed many problems, including: (1) problems communicating between people with disabilities and healthcare providers; (2) long hours of waiting at the hospital; (3) neglect and nepotism (people who are friends and relatives get unfair advantages); (4) abuse and insults by healthcare providers; (5) and sometimes people didn’t get the medicines they needed. The study shows that things need to improve in the Bosomtwe District of Ghana to meet the goals for equality that the United Nations set out in ‘Agenda 2030’.
Although the idea of obligations is central to African communitarian (emphasizing community) philosophy, we know little about how it considers people with disabilities. A new way of thinking about disability is offered, and tax is suggested as a way to fulfill obligations to people with disabilities.
Disability carries different meanings depending on social and cultural contexts. This may cause or help negative and discriminatory (causing people to be treated unfairly) attitudes and behavior towards people with disabilities. In this paper, I discuss an African idea of disability, keeping in mind the social and cultural aspects of disability and standpoint theory (the idea that our own position impacts our research) as part of my larger aim of exploring disability in Africa. I consider ideas about disability and look at the importance of valuing difference, taking the experiences of people with disabilities seriously, and helping support an inclusive culture.
Kenneth Uyi Abudu
This essay looks at how ideas of color and discrimination (treating people unfairly) come together in the experience of people with albinism (a genetic condition causing extremely pale skin, eyes and hair, and some related health risks, including to vision) in sub-Saharan African traditions. In particular, the essay looks at understanding color in Akan and Esan cultures. It also explores the roles that the arts may play in representing people with albinism in a more inclusive way in Africa today.
Firdaws Oyebisi P-Ibrahim
This paper looks at how characters with disabilities are portrayed and sometimes empowered in selected Nigerian writing. The study uses a literary sociological approach (looking at the relationship between literature and society). Findings showed major characters in the texts are used to represent physical and psychological kinds of disabilities.
How people understand disability is complex and often religiously and culturally based in Ghana and Africa. Some foods are thought to cause disability when eaten during pregnancy and infancy. This paper looks at some of these food taboos across some ethnic groups in Ghana and how they impact how we think about and support disability.
Oliver Chikuta, Chitambara Lovemore Rutendo and Phanos Matura
This study considers how often people with disabilities (PwDs) are employed in the hotel sector in Zimbabwe. Using a qualitative approach (from interviews with hotel managers), this study revealed that PwDs are not employed in Zimbabwe’s hotel sector. Ignorance about disabilities is the main challenge to the employment of PwDs in the hotel sector.
Jean L. Cathro
This piece gives a description of the development of a sculpture and its significance to the project discussed.
‘The Matutu Girl’
These are several production stills from DemWaMa3, a web series about a young woman with albinism.
This is a poem made up of a series of questions.
No. 2: Additional Research in Disability Studies
Heather Came, Tim McCreanor, and Leanne Manson
Health policy is one way to both help make sure people are treated fairly and to protect native people’s access to health. Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Māori text) is an agreement between the British Crown and Māori (the native peoples of Aotearoa). It was negotiated in part to protect Māori health. This paper examines New Zealand Disability Strategy to determine its compliance with Te Tiriti. It also looks at whether this might help other places be more responsive to native peoples elsewhere. The paper finds that Tāngata whaikaha (Māori disabled people’s) views need to be given more central importance. It also finds there need to be deeper engagement with intersectionality (the idea that different parts of our identity [like race, sexuality and age] may connect with each other in ways that can cause discrimination or alternately help build community).
This article analyses 13 interviews of mothers who identify as advocates or activists. The author describes how mothers’ experiences and understandings of disability impact the stories they tell and the actions they take when advocating for their children. While participants identified positive results of advocacy, many mothers recognize there are limits to their advocacy. This work is important because the kinds of stories that parents tell about their experiences are powerful since they can challenge existing ideas about disability.
Counselor Perceived Competencies
Tamekia R. Bell, Theodore P. Remley, Jr., and Tara H. Hill
Persons with learning disabilities (PWLD) have the second most common disability, yet there is limited counseling literature on them. This study looks at counselors’ perceived beliefs and knowledge serving PWLD and their self-reported multicultural competency. Findings suggest a need for additional training and educational experiences focusing on serving PWLD.
James Montgomery, Andrew Sithling, Fairlene Soji, Matthew Reeve and Nathan Grills
This study looks at the relationships that develop for people with disabilities who join Disabled People’s Groups (DPGs) (support groups for people with disabilities) in low-income communities in Nepal and India. We use surveys to ask about the relationships group members had before and after joining DPGs. We also interview group members to learn about the difference these relationships made in their lives. We found that participation in DPGs results in positive changes for the people with disabilities interviewed.
The country of Lebanon continues to fall short in putting in place rights-based laws that support persons with disabilities. This article presents a theoretical framework for better understanding principles that have been effective in the US and UK to help move into action social allies and to help change ideas in Lebanese society about disability.
This announcement talks about the 38th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. The conference is hosted by the Center on Disability Studies, College of Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The conference takes place in person this year in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 6th and 7th, 2023 HST.
These are dissertations and theses related to disability studies.