Cultural beliefs regarding people with disabilities in Namibia: Implications for the inclusion of people with disabilities

Cynthy Haihambo, Elizabeth Lightfoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Namibia is a southern African country with national level policies promoting community inclusion and inclusive education. Despite these policies, people with disabilities are often excluded from schools and community life. This study explores the nuanced cultural beliefs about the causes of disability in Namibia, and the impacts of such beliefs on the implementation of disability policy. Eight themes emerged from this study regarding specific myths about the causes of disability and appropriate community responses to people with disabilities. This study finds that many Namibians believe in supernatural causes of disability, such as witchcraft, and/or in the role of improper relationships of family members as causes of disability; and that community responses to Namibians with disabilities are often negative. However, many people, particularly parents with disabilities, often have strong positive views of disability as well, reflecting the complex and changing nature of cultural beliefs. This study suggests that the implementation of disability inclusion policies is more likely to be successful if it builds upon positive aspects of cultural beliefs about disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Special Education
Volume25
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation

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