Disability in Africa 2014

Wheelchair in traffic

December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with a disability and celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with a disability.

On December 16th the ASC highlights the subject by organizing a seminar, presented by visiting PhD student Kate Sherry, entitled “Disability in South Africa: from research to practice and policy, and back again”. In this seminar disability scholars, practitioners and activists are invited to join for a session of discussion and reflection on disability practice in Africa and other developing-world contexts.

In light of these events, the ASC library has made a follow-up to its 2008 web dossier on Disability in Africa. This web dossier contains recent titles on the subject of Disability, added after 2008, from the library catalogue. Each title links to the corresponding record in the library’s online catalogue, which provides abstracts and full text links (if available). The dossier concludes with links to a number of relevant websites.

Disability (general)
Physically disabled
Mentally disabled
Special education
Selected web resources


More than a billion people, or about 15% of the world’s population (based on 2010 global population estimates), are estimated to live with some form of disability. This percentage is higher than previous World Health Organization estimates, which date from the 1970s and suggested around 10%. The number of people with disabilities is growing, because populations are ageing - older people have a higher risk of disability - and because of the global increase in chronic health conditions associated with disability. Across the world, people with disabilities have poorer health outcomes, lower education achieve­ments, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), adopted in 2006, aims to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with dis­abilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”. It reflects a major shift in global understanding and responses towards disability (World report on disability, WHO 2011, https://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report/en/).

African States strongly embraced the adoption of the CRPD. Sixteen African countries signed the CRPD on the first day it opened for signature, and over forty have so far ratified it (UN-website, 25-11-2014, https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-15&chapter=4&lang=en ), contributing to a rapid entry into force. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has included experts from the continent, and the current Special Rapporteur on Disability is South African. Also significant is the declaration by the African Union of 1999-2009 and 2010-2019 as African Decades for Persons with Disabilities.

The CRPD has therefore been enthusiastically embraced on the African continent, but the CRPD remains a challenge for Africa’s States - as it does for States from all regions of the world - to ensure treaty implementation in a manner that responds to broad obligations while being duly consonant to domestic social and legal norms (Stein & Lord, African Disability Rights Yearbook, 2013).

Disability (general)

Threats to inclusive education in Lesotho: an overview of policy and implementation challenges / Paseka Andrew Mosia African disability rights yearbook cover
In: Africa Education Review: (2014), vol. 11, no. 3, p. 292-310.

A call for a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa / Serges Alain Djoyou Kamga
In: African Journal of International and Comparative Law: (2013), vol. 21, pt. 2, p. 219-249.

African disability rights yearbook 2013 & 2014 - [Pretoria]

Applying BronfenBrenner's ecological model to identify the negative influences facing children with physical disabilities in rural areas in Kwa-Zulu Natal / Brenda Ben-David & Norma Nel
In: Africa Education Review: (2013), vol. 10, no. 3, p. 410-430.

Informed consent for sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities in the light of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities / Willene Holness
In: Agenda: (2013), no. 98, p. 35-54.

Admitting, retaining, and graduating students with disabilities in higher education in Liberia / Sakui W. G. Malakpa & Sammy J. Spann
In: Liberian Studies Journal: (2012), vol. 37, no. 1, p. 93-104.

Count me in : include people with disabilities in development projects : a practical guide for organisations in north and south / Paulien Bruijn & Ulrich Eigner. - Veenendaal : Stichting Light for the World, 2012

Disability rights activism in Kenya, 1959-1964 : history from below / Fikru Negash Gebrekidan
In: African Studies Review: (2012), vol. 55, no. 3, p. 103-122.

Facilitating disability inclusion in the national development agenda in Uganda : what role can the human rights-based approach play? / Moses Mulumba
In: East African Journal of Peace & Human Rights: (2012), vol. 18, no. 2, p. 482-498.

Fighting the odds : a study on how Zimbabwean female caregivers try to realize the well-being of their disabled child and how this affects their own quality of life / Elise van der Mark. - [S.l. : s.n.], 2012

Mainstreaming disability equality in the world of work at country and institutional level in Zambia / Fatima Mandhu
In: Zambia Law Journal: (2012), vol. 43, p. 87-106.

Substantive equality for disabled learners in State provision of basic education : a commentary on 'Western Cape Forum for intellectual disability v Government of the Republic of South Africa' / Charles Ngwena & Loot Pretorius
In: South African Journal on Human Rights: (2012), vol. 28, pt. 1, p. 81-115.

War and embodied memory : becoming disabled in Sierra Leone / Maria Berghs. - Farnham : Ashgate, 2012

A comparative analysis: everyday experiences of disability in Sierra Leone / Maria Berghs & Myriam Dos Santos-Zingale
In: Africa Today: (2011/12), vol. 58, no. 2, p. 18-40.

Affirmative action and disability in South Africa / Marguerite Schneider & Motsoakgomo I. ' Nkoli
In: Transformation: (2011), no. 77, p. 90-106 : tab.

Disability, society, and theology : voices from Africa / Samuel Kabue (ed.). - Limuru : Zapf Chancery Publishers Africa, 2011 Disability, society and theology cover

Handicap et société africaine : cultures et pratiques / Patrick Devlieger & Lambert Nieme (ed.). - Paris : L'Harmattan, 2011. - (Études africaines)

Intentions, pillars and players / Theresa Lorenzo (ed.). - Cape Town : UCT Press, 2011. - (Disability catalyst Africa series ; no. 1)

Kwame Nkrumah, disability, and rehabilitation in Ghana, 1957-66 / Jeff D. Grischow
In: The Journal of African History: (2011), vol. 52, no. 2, p. 179-199.

Marginalisation of the marginalised : plight of children with disabilities / Alice Kuyayama
In: Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research: (2011), vol. 23, no. 2, p. 146-169 : graf. , tab.

Naissances insolites en terre africaine / F. Kabasele, S. Nkongolo & M. Anganga. - Paris : Karthala, 2011. - (Chrétiens en liberté)

Shirley Adams : portrait of a mother / Oliver Hermanus & Denise Newman. - [Wevelgem] : BrunBro Home Entertainement, 2011. - 1 dvd-video (89 min.). : kleur, geluid, breedbeeld.

The right to economic empowerment of persons with disabilities in Nigeria: how enabled? / Anwuli Irene Ofuani
In: African Human Rights Law Journal: (2011), vol. 11, no. 2, p. 639-658.

The social consequences of raising medically fragile and developmentally challenged children in Ghana / Robert B. Kuganab Lem
In: Ghana Journal of Development Studies: (2011), vol. 8, no. 2, p. 38-48.

Sexuality of the aged and people with disability : challenging popular folkways / Adobea Yaa Owusu & John Kwasi Anarfi
In: Research Review / Institute of African Studies: (2010), n. s. , vol. 26, no. 1, p. 61-79.

Tanzanian women in their own words : stories of disability and illness / Sheryl Feinstein & Nicole C. D'Errico. - Lanham, MD. [etc.] : Lexington Books, 2010

Tilling the hard soil : poetry, prose and art by South African writers with disabilities / Kobus Moolman (ed.). - Scottsville : University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2010 Tilling the hard soil cover

Assessment of HIV-positive in-patients using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg / Hellen Myezwa & others
In: African Journal of AIDS Research: (2009), vol. 8, no. 1, p. 93-105 : fig. , graf. , tab.

Debout mon enfant / Seydi Sow. - [Dakar] : Fama Éditions, 2009

Disability equality rights in South Africa : concepts, interpretation and the transformation imperative / Faisal Bhabha
In: South African Journal on Human Rights: (2009), vol. 25, pt. 2, p. 218-245.

In the wake of our shadows : promoting lives of women living with children with disabilities / Audrey Charamba & Eresina Hwede (ed.) / Zimbabwe Women Writers. - Harare : Zimbabwe Women Writers, 2009

Tanzania 2008 disability survey report / Tanzania. Ofisi ya Taifa ya Takwimu;Tanzania. Department of Social Welfare. - Dar es Salaam : 2009

Disability and income generation: reflections on affirmative action in Kampala district / Jimmy Mugisha Maguru
In: Aspects of social development in Uganda / ed.by Nicholas Awortwi & Charles Kanyesigye.- Maastricht : Shaker Publishing: (cop.2008), p.15-52 : fig.

Kambisa! on screen : documentaries 2007-2008 / Gift Phiri, Mathew Tembo, Victor Sasoma, & Macfellan Nkhoma. - [S.l.] : Kambisa!BeHeard, 2008. - 1 dvd-video (103 min.). : kleur, gel.

La lutte contre la précarité des enfants en Mauritanie / Haimoud Ramdan
In: Penant: (2008), année 118, no. 863, p. 189-226.

The recent decline in the employment of persons with disabilities in South Africa, 1998-2006 / Sophie Mitra
In: The South African Journal of Economics: (2008), vol. 76, no. 3, p. 480-492 : graf. , tab.

Guaranteeing the right to adequate housing and shelter in Uganda : the case of women and people with disabilities (PWDs) / Henry Onoria. - Kampala : Human Rights & Peace Centre, 2007. - (HURIPEC working paper ; no. 6)

Population and housing census - 2003 / Gambia. Bureau of Statistics. Vol. 12: Disability / Gambia. Bureau of Statistics. - Kanifing : Gambia Bureau of Statistics, 2007

Population des personnes handicapées aux Comores : analyse des données du recensement général de la population et de l'habitat 2003 / Athoumani Mhoma (ed.) / Union des Comores;Ministère des finances, du budget et du plan, Moroni. Direction nationale du recensement. - Moroni : Commissariat général au plan, Union des Comores, 2007

Sozialraumorientierung als Ansatz in der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit / Eike Pöppelmeier. - Hamburg : Diplomica, 2007. - (Diplomica)

Budgeting for children with disabilities in South Africa / Susan C. Philpott. - Cape Town : IDASA, 2004

Physically disabled

ICT use in information delivery to people with visual impairment and on wheelchairs in Tanzanian academic libraries / Rebecca M. Majinge & Christine Stilwell
In: African Journal of Library, Archives and Information Science: (2014), vol. 24, no. 2, p. 151-159 : graf. , tab.

A comparative study of availability and access to alternative format by visually impaired adults and students in Nigeria / ' N. Adetoro
In: African Research and Documentation: (2012), no. 119, p. 15-25 : tab.

A journey through darkness : a story of inspiration / Margareth Maganga. - Dar-es-Salaam : Mkuki na Nyota, 2012

Divine bud : testimonies of God's intervention / Philip Mutaka. - Bamenda : Langaa Research & Publishing CIG, 2012

La Guinée face au handicap : la problématique des déficiences motrices à Conakry / Vitaly Tchirkov. - Paris : L'Harmattan, 2012. - (Etudes africaines) Benda Bilili DVD

The silent chaos / Antonio Spanò. - Siena : Office Number Four, 2012. - 1 dvd-video (45 min.). : kleur, gel.

Benda Bilili! / Renaud Barret & Florent de La Tullaye. - [Amsterdam] : CineÌ??art, 2011. - 1 dvd-video (84 min.). : kleur, geluid, breedbeeld.

Causes of road traffic accidents induced physical disabilities and its socio-economic consequences to victims and their families in Dar es Salaam region of Tanzania / Mariana Josephat Makuu. - Rotterdam : Erasmus University, 2010

Characteristics of visually impaired information users in Nigeria / ' N. Adetoro
In: African Research and Documentation: (2010), no. 114, p. 47-58 : tab.

Deaf culture : the problems of recognition within contemporary Kenyan politics / Marianne Sogaard Andersen
In: Mila: (2010), n. s. , vol. 11, p. 17-32 : fig.

Football in post-conflict Sierra Leone / Anneke G. Niet
In: African Historical Review: (2010), vol. 42, no. 2, p. 48-60 : foto's.

HIV/AIDS knowledge among adolescent sign-language users in South Africa / Victor de Andrade & Bontle Baloyi
In: African Journal of AIDS Research: (2010), vol. 9, no. 3, p. 307-313 : tab.

Interventions socio-éducatives par des jeux de communication pour la formation des handicapés sensoriels d'Abidjan / Kouadio Patrick Adon
In: Annales de la Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines: (2010), no. 40B, p. 109-128 : tab.

Deaf, gay, HIV positive, and proud: narrating an alternative identity in post-apartheid South Africa / Karin Willemse, Ruth Morgan & John Meletse
In: Canadian Journal of African Studies: (2009), vol. 43, no. 1, p. 83-104.

Policy perspectives for the visually impaired : post-apartheid South Africa and India / Ramesh Kumar Sarin. - Delhi : Academic Excellence, 2009

Disgust, bodily aesthetics and the ethic of being human in Botswana / Julie Livingston
In: Africa / International African Institute: (2008), vol. 78, no. 2, p. 288-307.

Levels of ability and functioning of persons living with HIV and AIDS using the WHO DAS II in a South African context / Karl Peltzer & Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya
In: Journal of Social Development in Africa: (2008), vol. 23, no. 2, p. 33-53 : tab.

'Local' justice meets embodied symbolism : an anthropological perspective on perceptions of justice of people physically mutilated during the course of the conflict in Northern Uganda / Stijn van Rest. - [S.l. : s.n.], 2007

An analysis of the exclusion of people with disabilities from employment in Botswana: a case study of people with physical impairments / T. O. Mmatli
In: Pula: (2007), vol. 21, no. 2, p. 278-293.

Are your rights respected? / The Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA), Braamfontein. - Braamfontein : GALA, 2006

The language of me / Musa E. Zulu. - Pietermaritzburg : University of Kwazulu-Natal Press, 2004

Mentally disabled

Shut up! - social inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities in Ghana : an empirical study of how parents and teachers experience social inclusion of children with intellectual disabilities / Vyda Mamley Hervie. - [Bodø : University of Nordland], 2013 Like a death sentence cover

"Like a death sentence": abuses against persons with mental disabilities in Ghana / Medi Ssengooba & Shantha Rau Barriga. - New York, NY : Human Rights Watch, 2012

Psychiatry, mental institutions, and the mad in apartheid South Africa / Tiffany Fawn Jones. - New York : Routledge, 2012. - (African studies history, politics, economics, and culture)

The lifestyle of the mentally challenged in Abeokuta, Western Nigeria / J. O. Shopeju, C. A. Onifade & A. Dipeolu
In: Legon Journal of Sociology: (2010), vol. 4, no. 1, p. 38-54 : tab.

Growing up and sexual maturation and the culture of silence surrounding disability in Zimbabwe / David Chakuchichi & others
In: Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research: (2005), vol. 17, no. 2, p. 192-211.

Special education

Inclusive education and training in South African higher education : mapping the experiences of a student with physical disability at university / Sithabile Ntombela
In: Africa Education Review: (2013), vol. 10, no. 3, p. 483-501 : foto's.

The response of higher education institutions in Namibia to the needs of students with disabilities / A. J. Hugo
In: Africa Education Review: (2012), vol. 9, no. 2, p. 308-326 : tab.

'The forgotten women' : a case study of reproductive health issues among women living with disabilities and educational implications in Harare, Zimbabwe / Rosewita Murutare & others Special education
In: Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research: (2010), vol. 22, no. 2, p. 151-169 : fig. , graf. , tab.

Accomplishments and challenges facing students with disabilities at the University of Dar es Salaam : thirty years of navigating The Hill / Frida D. Tungaraza
In: Papers in Education and Development: (2010), no. 29, p. 134-155 : graf. , tab.

An evaluation of policies and programmes related to children with disabilities in Botswana / Almon Shumba & Ethel Taukobong
In: Africa Education Review: (2009), vol. 6, no. 1, p. 123-139 : tab.

Information and advocacy : forgotten components in the strategies for achieving inclusive education in South Africa? / Marguerite Maher
In: Africa Education Review: (2009), vol. 6, no. 1, p. 19-36.

Multidisciplinary teams in addressing special educational needs within the inclusive context in South Africa : what are the constraints in Motheo district? / Paseka Andrew Mosia
In: Lesotho Social Sciences Review: (2009), vol. 13, no. 1/2, p. 18-29.

The special needs education and inclusive policy framework 2009-2015 / Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE). Directorate of Basic and Secondary Education, Banjul. - Banjul : Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE), 2009

Processus d'intégration des enfants en difficulté d'apprentissage et d'adaptation scolaires au Cameroun / Pierre Fonkoua (ed.). - Yaoundé : Academia Africana, 2008. - (Les cahiers de terroirs, ISSN 1561-2007 ; 2)

Selected web resources

The ASC is not responsible for the content of any external Internet sites.

The Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV & AIDS
The Africa Campaign emerged in the early 2000s from within Africa when disabled people’s organizations approached Handicap International teams asking for assistance in combating HIV and AIDS. The Campaign was officially launched in Cape Town in January 2007.

African Journal of Disability African journal of disability cover
The African Journal of Disability, the official journal of the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies (CRS) (South Africa), the African Network for Evidence-to-Action on Disability (AfriNEAD) and the Center for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CEDRES) (Ghana), is published for the purpose of advancing scholarship in disability studies and rehabilitation sciences in a uniquely African context.

The African Network for Evidence-to-Action on Disability (AfriNEAD) exits to ensure that research contributes to a better quality of life for people with disabilities in Africa. AfriNEAD facilitates networking among researchers, persons with disability, government representatives, business and civil society within the African region as well as with international communities.

The Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Africa Network (CAN)
The Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Africa Network (CAN) has published a number of books which are for free download.

Disability and social change
HSRC book free download. An overview of disability action in various sectors of South African society, with attention for both progress and challenges, written by key local authors in the disability field.

Disability-Inclusive Education in Africa Program
Information about disability and inclusive education activities in the Africa region by the World Bank.

Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD)
DCDD is a coalition of organizations (institutional members) and individual members in the Netherlands, which  aims at the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, especially in developing countries.

Equitable is a multi-country research project on access to health-care for people with disabilities, including Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Sudan. Their publications are listed on the website.

Global Disability Rights Library
A collection of resources for decision makers and advocates for disability rights worldwide, created for the eGranary Digital Library by the staff, students, and volunteers of the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD), and The WiderNet Project at the University of Iowa.

A database of resources on HIV and disability.

Inclusion Africa
Pan-African federation of associations advocating for the rights of people with intellectual disability and their families throughout the African continent.

Pan African Network of People with Psychosocial Disabilities (PANUSP)
PANUSP’s aim is to promote and protect the rights and dignity of people with psychosocial disabilities on the African continent. It was established in 2005 in Kampala, Uganda

United Nations Enable
Information on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which entered into force on 3 May 2008. The web site contains information about the Convention, news, priority themes, and information on disability and the UN.

University of Cape Town, Disability Studies unit
The Disability Studies unit at UCT, does research on disability in Africa, with a strong rights and inclusion focus, Staff and students come from all over the continent. A list of their publications is on their website.

The West African Regional Portal on the Rights and Inclusion of People with Disabilities (PROADIPH)
PROADIPH aims to promote the rights of people with disabilities as well as access to information regarding these rights, in accordance with Article 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) .

World Health Organization, Community-based rehabilitation guidelines
The WHO's most recent CBR guidelines, which outline the recommended approach to support for people with disabilities across the world.

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, Topic disabilities
Information on the WHO, Regional Office for Africa pages for the topic disabilities.