The research focus of the Division of Disability Studies is how do we generate assets, abilities and knowledge for disability inclusion of youth in Africa within a global context?
Strategies that inform our research are Short Courses, the Higher Certificate in Disability Practice training programme, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters and PhD.
Our latest publications
The Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Citizenship in the Global South
Brian Watermeyer, Judith McKenzie, Leslie Swartz (Eds.)
This handbook questions, debates and subverts commonly held assumptions about disability and citizenship in the global postcolonial context.
- Provides a much needed perspective on the relationship between disability and citizenship in the Global South
- Engages the unique case of the South African experience at a time of ongoing democratic transition
- Brings together an eclectic group of authors from academia, the policy world as well as civil society, engaging with hands on questions and issues surrounding everyday challenges of the disabled: from transportation, to participation in the broader economy
Most of the world’s population who are labelled as having an intellectual disability live in low- or middle-income countries (LMIC). They are among the most marginalised in every society – at greater risk of poverty, social exclusion and poor health – and invariably rely on their families to survive as support services are poorly developed or non-existent. This means that the lives of family carers, mothers especially, are also adversely affected. Often the prejudices associated with intellectual disabilities has meant that communities and governments have ignored the needs of these citizens. This cannot continue and here’s why …
In order to understand better the social context of disability, the existing barriers to participation and ways in which these barriers can be overcome we run a research programme in the following areas:
- 1. Housing and support options for adults with intellectual disability
- 2. Disabled Youth in Rural Areas (DYRA)
- 3. Disability Inclusion in Higher Education
These research areas fall within the themes of employment, inclusive education and community and family life. Our research is published in academic papers as well as policy briefs and the occasional publication of the programme, the Disability Catalyst Africa series. Below is a description of each research area:
This research area recognises that support needs of people with intellectual disabilites and their families living in the community are not currently being met. The research has investigated the provision of residential facilities in the Western Cape and found that this is relevant to a very small number of families. The needs of people with intellectual disability and their families were then investigated through qualitative interviews. On the basis of this research, a review of the international research and of South African policy, the next step is to engage with families and service providers to plan for acceptable and feasible support options.
Publications from housing and support options for adults with intellectual disability
1 Judith A McKenzie, Roy McConkey, Colleen M Adnams (2013) Health conditions and support needs of persons living in residential facilities for adults with intellectual disability in Western Cape Province.. South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde 01/2013; 103(7):481-484.
Mckenzie, J. A., McConkey, R., & Adnams, C. (2013). Intellectual disability in Africa: implications for research and service development. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(20), 1750-1755. doi: doi:10.3109/09638288.2012.751461
28.27. McKenzie, J., McConkey, R., Adnams, C. (2014) Residential facilities for adults with intellectual disability in a developing country: a case study from South Africa. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. 39 (1)45-54
The project is titled ‘Disable youth in rural areas’, and builds on current research initiated in 2007 by the occupational therapy departments of six universities and the respective community organisations where undergraduate students do service learning placements. The Disabled Youth Enabling Sustainable Livelihoods (DYESL) study is investigating the strategies of disabled youth in sustaining their livelihoods.
A cross-sectional study explored the livelihood assets of disabled and in disabled youth in four rural communities of Northern Cape province and Cofimvaba of Eastern Cape province; South Africa. The findings provided a profile o f the education, health and wellbeing, work, social and living aspects of disabled and n-on disabled youth. Despite poverty being a barrier across all assets, the barriers preventing disabled youth from accessing their livelihood assets are clustered around lack of financial resources, inaccessible transport, lack of education and training and inadequate support from family members.
Using structured questionnaires, 102 people between the ages of 18 and 35 years were interviewed in the Namakwa District Municipality by fieldworkers (50% disabled youth, 50% non-disabled youth). Also, 199 youth in the same age range were interviewed in Kimberley, De Aar and Khatu (51% disabled youth, 49% non-disabled youth). The study investigated the factors that influence the assets of disabled youth necessary to enable them to sustain their livelihoods. The results identified differences and similarities between disabled and non- disabled youth living in the above mentioned Northern Cape districts and Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape.
Publication from DYRA:
- Disabled Youth in Rural Areas: A Profile of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.
- Place in the Classroom: Barriers to Education faced by Disabled Youth.
- Working for change: Barriers to Employment for SA’s Disabled Youth.
- Disabled Youth in Rural Areas: A Profile of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.
The Disability inclusion in Research to Enhance Curriculum transformation (DIRECT) Project focused on higher education curriculum. Document analysis and interviews were conducted with academic staff at the University of Cape Town to find out whether disability was included in the teaching and research, and how they were including disability in these spaces. This research is underpinned by the tenets of human rights and social justice, and was informed by the Vice Chancellor’s strategic goals of contributing to the alleviation of South Africa’s developmental challenges and graduating students who are global citizens.
Publications from Disability Inclusion in Higher Education
- Disability Catalyst Africa Series 1 – Intentions, Pillars and Players (Read more)
- Disability Catalyst Africa Series 2 - Marrying Community Development and Rehabilitation: Reality or Aspiration for Disabled People. (Read more)
- Disability Catalyst Africa Series 3 - Youth, Disability and Rural Communities. Facing the Challenges of Change.
- Disability Catalyst Africa Series 4 – Beyond ‘If’ to ‘How’: Disability Inclusion in Higher Education.
1. Chappell, P. & Akolo, K. (2008) Disability, HIV and AIDS: A need for social inclusion and empowerment. In Hartley, S. and Okune, J. (Ed.) CBR: Inclusive Policy Development and Implementation, University of East Anglia: Norwich. pages
2. Chappell, P. & Johannsmeier, C. (2009) The impact of CBR as implemented by Community Rehabilitation Facilitators on people with disabilities, their families and communities in South Africa. Disability and Rehabilitation Journal. 31(1), pp. 7-13.
3. Chataika,T., McKenzie, J., Swart, E and Lyner-Cleophas, M. (2012) “Access to education in Africa: responding to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, Disability & Society, 27(3) 385-398
4. Dalton, E., McKenzie, J. and Kahonde, C. (2012) The implementation of inclusive education in South Africa: Reflections arising from a workshop for teachers and therapists to introduce Universal Design for Learning. African Journal of Disability 1(1) 1-7
5. Engelbrecht, M and Lorenzo, T. (2010) Exploring the tensions of sustaining economic empowerment of persons with disabilities through open labour market employment in the Cape Metropole. SAJOT Special issue. March vol 40 no 1 p8-11.
6. Engelbrecht, M and Lorenzo, T. (2010) Exploring the tensions of sustaining economic empowerment of persons with disabilities through open labour market employment in the Cape Metropole. SAJOT Special issue. March vol 40 no 1 p8-11.
7. Heap, Marion, Lorenzo, Theresa, & Thomas, Jacky (2009) "We've moved away from disability as a health issue, it's a human rights issue" : Reflecting on 10 years of the right to equality in South Africa. Disability and Society. Vol? pages?
8. Lorenzo, T. (2003) No African Renaissance Without Disabled Women: A New Way Of Looking At Social And Economic Development Of Disabled Women In South Africa. Disability and Society. 18, (6) 759-778. October.
9. Lorenzo, T. (2008) "We are also travellers": An action story about disabled women mobilising for an accessible public transport system in Khayelitsha and Nyanga, Cape Metropole, South Africa. SAJOT. Vol 38, No 1, p32-40, March, ISBN 00382337.
10. Lorenzo, T. (2008) Editorial: Thinking about how occupational therapists can promote the human rights of vulnerable groups. Special edition - Disability: a human rights perspective. SAJOT. Vol 38, No 1, p2 March, ISBN 00382337.
11. Lorenzo, T. (Guest editor) (2010) The right to rehabilitation: from policy development to implementation SAJOT Special edition. March vol 40 no 1 p1.
12. Lorenzo, T., Van Niekerk, L. & Mdlokolo, P. (2007) Economic empowerment and black disabled entrepreneurs: Negotiating partnerships in Cape Town, South Africa. Disability and Rehabilitation. March; 29(5), pp.429-436,.
13. Lorenzo, Theresa and Joubert, Robin (2010 online; 2011) Reciprocal capacity building for collaborative disability research between disabled people's organizations, communities and higher education institutions Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy.
14. McKenzie, J , and Macleod, C . (2012) Rights Discourses in Relation to Education of People with Intellectual Disability: Towards an Ethics of Care That Enables Participation. Disability & Society 27 (1): 15-29.
15. McKenzie, J (2013) Including students with intellectual disability in higher education: Implications for curriculum in Beyond “if” to “how”: Disability Inclusion in Higher Education (pp 24-35). Disability Catalyst Africa, Series 4. Lorenzo, T. (Series Editor) Disability Innovations Africa, Cape Town
16. McKenzie, J, and Macleod, C. (2011) The Deployment of the Medico-Psychological Gaze and Disability Expertise in Relation to Children with Intellectual Disability. International Journal of Inclusive Education (2011): 1-16.
17. McKenzie, J, and Swartz, L. (2011) The Shaping of Sexuality in Children with Disabilities: A Q Methodological Study." Sexuality and Disability 29 (4) 363-76.
18. McKenzie, J, Braswell, B., Jelsma, J. and Naidoo, N.. (2011)A Case for the Use of Q-Methodology in Disability Research: Lessons Learned from a Training Workshop. Disability and Rehabilitation 33 (21-22) 2134-41.
19. McKenzie, J. McConkey, R. Adnams, C (2013) Health conditions and support needs of persons living in residential facilities for adults with intellectual disability in Western Cape Province.. South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde 01/2013; 103(7):481-484.
20. McKenzie, J. (2012) Models of intellectual disability: towards a perspective of (poss)ability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (early online)
21. Mckenzie, J. A., McConkey, R., & Adnams, C. (2013). Intellectual disability in Africa: implications for research and service development. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(20), 1750-1755. doi: doi:10.3109/09638288.2012.751461
22. McKenzie, J., McConkey, R., Adnams, C. (In press) Residential facilities for adults with intellectual disability in a developing country: a case study from South Africa Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
23. McKenzie, J., Mji, G., Gcaza, S. (In press) With or without us? An audit of disability research in the southern African region. African Journal on Disability
24. McLaren, P.; Philpott, S.; Chappell, P. & Roberts, A. (2006) A national research study to identify social needs concerning people with disabilities in South Africa. Unpublished Report Commissioned by Department of Social Development, South Africa.
25. Mji, G.; Melling-Williams, N.; Chappell, P. & McLaren, P. (2009) Doing disability research: A practical guide to disability research in Africa. Commissioned by the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SAPD) for the Department for International Development (DFID).
26. Ohajunwa, C., McKenzie, J. (2013) Beyond “if” to “how”: Disability Inclusion in Higher Education Eds. Disability Catalyst Africa, Series 4. Lorenzo, T. (Series Editor) Disability Innovations Africa, Cape Town
27. Ohajunwa, C., McKenzie, J., Hardy, A., Lorenzo, T. (In press) Inclusion of disability issues in teaching and research in higher education Perspectives in Education
28. Rule, S. & Chappell, P. (2006) Commentary on ILO, UNESCO, WHO CBR Joint Position Paper (2004) South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 36(2), pp. 2-4.
29. Van Niekerk L; Lorenzo T; Mdolokolo P (2006) Understanding partnerships in developing disabled entrepreneurs: a complex journey of discovery and shared learning. Disability and Rehabilitation. 28 (5): 323 – 331.
30. Watermeyer, B. & McKenzie, J. (in press). Mothers of disabled children: In mourning or on the march? Journal of Social Work Practice.
1. Lorenzo, T., Duncan, M., Buchanan, H. and Alsop, A. (editors) (2006) Practice and service learning in occupational therapy: Enhancing potential in context. 288 pages. London: John Wiley Publishers. ISBN 0-470-01969-7.
2. Lorenzo, T., Saunders, C., January, M. and Mdlokolo, P. (eds) (2002) On the road of hope: Stories told by disabled women in Khayelitsha. Cape Town: Division of Occupational Therapy, University of Cape Town.
3. Watermeyer, B., Swartz, L., Lorenzo, T. , Schneider, M. and Priestley, M. (editors) 2006 Disability and social change: A South African agenda Cape Town: HSRC. 432 pages. ISBN 0-7969-2137-9 - (See table of contents of both books for specific chapters).
1. Chataika, T., McKenzie, J. (2013) Considerations for an African Childhood Disability Studies in Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies (pp. 153-163) eds. Curran, T. and Runswick-Cole, K. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
2. Duncan, M., Buchanan, H. and Lorenzo, T. 2005 Politics in Occupational Therapy Education: A South African Perspective. In Spirit of Survivors: occupational therapists without borders (edited by S.S. Algado, F. Kronenberg and N. Pollard) Elsevier: UK p390-401 ISBN 0-443-07440-2.pages?
3. Lorenzo, T (2008) Mobilising action of disabled women in developing contexts to tackle poverty and development. In Willard and Spackman's Occupational Therapy. (edited by E. Crepeau, Cohn, E.S.,& Boyt Schell, B.A.) Lippincott, USA Chapter 16; ISBN10: 0-7817-6004-6; ISBN13: 978-0-7817-6004-6.pages?
4. Lorenzo, T. (2004) Equalising opportunities for occupational engagement: disabled women's stories. In Transformation through occupation (edited by R. Watson and L. Swartz) London and Philadelphia: Whurr Publishers. 85-102. ISBN 1 86 156 425 2.pages?
5. Lorenzo, T. and Cloete, L. (2004) Promoting occupations in rural communities. In Transformation through occupation (edited by R. Watson and L. Swartz) London and Philadelphia: Whurr Publishers. 268-286. ISBN 1 86 156 425 2.pages
6. McKenzie, J. (2011) Disability activism and participation. In Disability Catalyst: Intentions, Pillars and Players. (pp. 14-18) ed. Lorenzo,T. Disability Innovations Africa. Cape Town
7. McKenzie, J. and Loebenstein, H. (2007) Increasing parental; recognition and involvement. In Overcoming/addressing challenges to inclusive education in Southern Africa (pp. 186-200) eds. P. Engelbrecht and L. Green. Van Schaik, Pretoria
8. McKenzie, J. and Muller, B. (2006) Parents and therapists: Dilemmas in Partnership. In Disability and Social Change: A South African Agenda (pp.311-323) eds. B. Watermeyer, L. Swartz, T. Lorenzo, H. MacGregor and M. Priestley. HSRC Press, Pretoria
9. Ogot, O., McKenzie, J. and Dube, S. (2009) Inclusive education and community based rehabilitation. In CBR: Inclusive Policy Development and Implementation. (pp. 162 -191) ed. S. Hartley, Institute of Health, University Of East Anglia, Norwich Ogot, O., McKenzie, J. and Dube, S. (2009) Inclusive education and community based rehabilitation. In CBR: Inclusive Policy Development and Implementation. (pp. 162 -191) ed. S. Hartley, Institute of Health, University Of East Anglia, Norwich