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Politics of the body, fear and ubuntu: Proposing an African women’s theology of disabili


There is increasing research on the inclusion and exclusion of people with disabilities in African spaces, which are perpetuated by religious and cultural fear. Decision to shun or embrace people is defined by the politics of the body and influenced by the religion and culture of fear. In politics of the body, women are discriminated against because their bodies are often controlled and put under surveillance. Women with disabilities experience this discrimination more than their able-bodied counterparts and men with disabilities. Written from the perspective of the ethic of ubuntu, this article examines the fear of disability among the Ndebele of Matetsi in Zimbabwe, as well as how the politics of the body are used by women with disabilities to denounce this fear. These women described how they used (in childhood) and (adulthood) and still use their bodies to call for inclusion in their communities. The article employs findings from the politics of the body emerging from the narratives of women with disabilities to propose an African women’s theology of disability.

Contribution: The article problematises fear of disability as a cause of discrimination and exclusion of differently abled people particularly women with. It therefore proposes an African women’s theology of disability that is informed by the interdisciplinary approach of Ubuntu promoting the inclusion of all people including women with disabilities into the web of life.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-8050
print ISSN: 0259-9422