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Disability, Society and Theology

Voices from Africa

Samuel Kabue, Esther Mombo

Publication Year: 2012

Disability, Society and Theology: Voices from Africa is the result of a workshop which brought together African theologians, persons with disabilities and disability expertise in the Region to prepare resource materials to enrich the disability study process in the context of the Africa region. The book is in six parts and includes contributions from scholars across the continent. The parts are: Disability Theology: Issue to Debate; The Able Disabled and the Disabled Church: The Churchís Response to Disability; Disability and Society; Disability Theology: Some Interfaces; Disability and Caregiving; and Disability in the African Experience.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vii

In the key study document “A Church of all and for all” which was published by WCC in September 2003, it was stated: “It is estimated that some 600 million people are persons with disabilities. Yet people, especially persons with disabilities, still find

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pp. viii-ix

This volume is part of a series of disability study materials development process in response to a need identified after the introduction of a disability studies in the curriculum of a number of theological institutions through the initiative of the...


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pp. x-xii


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pp. xiii-xiv

Part One: Disability Theology: Issues in Debate

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Chapter One: Persons with Disabilities in Church and Society: A Historical and Sociological Perspective

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pp. 3-24

I was once invited to address Bible School final year students on the subject of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in church and society. I began my address with a rhetorical question as to whether it was worth the effort to reach out to PWDs with the...

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Chapter Two: Claiming and Developing a Disability Hermeneutics: Towards a Liberating Theology of Disability

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pp. 25-30

Hermeneutics in Swedish is a difficult word with different meanings in different contexts. It can mean a certain way of doing research – when applied to the fields of society and human behaviour. It can also simply mean – the understanding...

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Chapter Three: Perfect God and Imperfect Creation: In the Image of God and Disabled

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pp. 31-46

John was a happy child. He grew up in a relatively well-to-do family. He was the top student in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examinations in his district. This secured him a rare scholarship to do medicine at a...

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Chapter Four: Sin, Suffering, and Disability in God’s World

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pp. 47-58

There is no theology that is timeless and unchanging. Theological reflection is an ongoing process. Though disability movements around the world have created much awareness on the right of persons with disabilities (PWDs), we still...

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Chapter Five: One in Christ: Priesthood of the Disabled and the Exercising of Gifts

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pp. 59-78

Should the church ordain people with disabilities (PWDs) as priests? It is easier to answer that question in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ than knowing why we are saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. This Chapter seeks to analyse and deconstruct the disability debate in the church...

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Chapter Six Biblical Perspectives on Disability

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pp. 79-94

This Chapter examines disability from a Biblical perspective. Like many other aspects in life disability was not mysterious in the biblical times. Whereas different forms of bodily disabilities are mentioned, some are not identified with certainty...

Part Two: The Able Disabled and the Disabled Church: The Church’s Response to Dissbility

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Chapter Seven: Lazarus, come out! How Contextual Bible Study Can Empower the Disabled

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pp. 97-110

This Chapter explores how people with disabilities (PWDs) can be empowered and integrated in the church and society through Contextual Bible Study (CBS). The chapter examines the CBS process and gives examples of how it can be used in worship...

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Chapter Eight: The Church, Public Policy and Disability Concerns in Kenya

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pp. 111-120

People with disabilities (PWDs) have been shunned and subjected to various injustices by society for years all around the world. Some have been killed, abandoned, forced to beg on the streets or thought of as less than human. The reason for this...

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Chapter Nine: Cultural Barriers to the Disabled People’s Participation in Church Life

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pp. 121-138

This Chapter will define the subject, state the problem and discuss the current response by the Church to barriers that PWDs face. It will show some of the reasons why PWDs are locked out of Church life. The Chapter will not follow the strict...

Part Three: Disability and Society

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Chapter Ten: Education, Employment, and Health: A Disability Perspective

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pp. 141-156

While people in the rich world are talking about Independent Living and improved services, in Africa we are talking about survival. (By Joshua Malinga – a leading disability activist from Zimbabwe and a past Chair of Disabled Peoples...

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Chapter Eleven: Society and Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities

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pp. 157-168

Leadership in Africa has many faces. Most have been shaped by unique socio-economic constraints and religious factors. But in general, Africa suffers from poor leadership in all spheres of life—political, social, economic and religious. Leaders...

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Chapter Twelve: Disability: Social Challenges and Family Responses

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pp. 169-196

Many scholars and practitioners have defined disability from various angles. For the purpose of this Chapter, to have a disability means having a permanent physical or mental impairment that limits part or complete use of your body. In most...

Part Four: Disability Theology: Some Interfaces

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Chapter Thirteen: Disability and Sexuality

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pp. 199-208

Discussing disability and sexuality in the African context comes with multiple challenges especially when one is asked to talk about both concepts. Disability is viewed with mythical rather than factual appreciation and sexuality is hardly discussed publicly...

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Chapter Fourteen: Gender and Disability Challenges Within the Church

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pp. 209-220

For me as a woman with a disability, the topic of gender and disability deals with the “life sentence” for my lot! Mark my words, I did not say death sentence, for that’s a dead end. A life sentence implies that we are alive yet trapped, judged and...

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Chapter Fifteen: Combating HIV & Aids among Persons with Disability: A Disability Perspective

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pp. 221-242

Without doubt, the HIV & AIDS pandemic is a serious global threat to humanity. It impacts not only on the health status of a country but also on its socio-economic and political development. The current burden of HIV & AIDS is being most...

Part Five: Disability and Caregiving

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Chapter Sixteen: Persons with Disabilities and Psychological Perspectives

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pp. 245-274

There is relationship between the physical environment, body experiences and psychological processes of all persons. Basic humanness involves the body, mind, intimate relationships with others, the natural environment, institutions, and with God, our

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Chapter Seventeen: Psychosocial Disability: Attitudes and Barriers to Social Integration in Church and Society

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pp. 275-296

Psychosocial disability is a form of ‘mental illness’ that occurs in an individual and affects the person’s psychological pattern. It is thought to cause distress or disability that is not expected in ‘normal’ development...

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Chapter Eighteen: The Church and Pastoral Counselling for Disability

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pp. 297-312

Disability is defined as the absence, incapacitation, impairment or dysfunction of certain body organs. These could be internal and invisible such as inability to hear or external and visible like a disfigured limb. The causes may be congenital or noncongenital...

Part Six: Disability in the African Experience

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pp. 313-314

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Chapter Nineteen: Persons with Disabilities in Madagascar

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pp. 315-336

With a population of over 18 million people, Madagascar has the highest number of inhabitants in the Indian Ocean. It is also ranked among the poorest countries in the world. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)...

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Chapter Twenty: Persons with Disabilities in Malawi: What are the issues?

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pp. 337-362

Malawi is a landlocked country in the south-eastern part of Africa. It borders Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the north and Mozambique to the east, south and west. The country measures 119,140 square kilometres of which 20 percent...

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Chapter Twenty One: A Profile of Tanzanians with Disabilities

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pp. 363-382

Tanzania has over 120 ethnic communities all with diverse values, beliefs and cultures. This Chapter profiles persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Tanzania from a traditional, cultural and policy dimensions. Factors that cause disability are...

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Chapter Twenty Two: Persons with Disabilities in Uganda

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pp. 383-402

According to the population and housing census Report (2002), Uganda has a population of 24 million people. Going by the UN stipulation that PWDs make up 10 per cent of any population, the number of PWDs in Uganda can be estimated to 2.4 million...

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Chapter Twenty Three: Persons with Disability in South Africa

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pp. 403-426

In this Chapter, I approach the subject of PWDs in South Africa using my life journey as a point of reference. I have done so because my life experience covers all aspects of disability I consider important. Having lived for 50 years as an African black...


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pp. 427-430


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pp. 431-448


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pp. 449-452

Index of Personal Names

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pp. 453-455

Index of Subjects

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pp. 456-466

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789966040060
Print-ISBN-13: 9789966734174

Page Count: 480
Publication Year: 2012