Original Research

With or without us? An audit of disability research in the southern African region

Judith McKenzie, Gubela Mji, Siphokazi Gcaza
African Journal of Disability | Vol 3, No 2 | a76 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v3i2.76 | © 2014 Judith McKenzie, Gubela Mji, Siphokazi Gcaza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 July 2013 | Published: 04 June 2014

About the author(s)

Judith McKenzie, Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; Disability Studies Programme, University of Cape Town, South Africa, South Africa
Gubela Mji, Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Siphokazi Gcaza, Centre for Rehabilitation Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Disability research in the global South has not received significant critical consideration as to how it can be used to challenge the oppression and marginalisation of people with disabilities in low-income and middle-income countries. The Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) embarked on a programme to use research to influence policy and practice relating to people with disabilities in Southern Africa, and commissioned an audit on research expertise in the region. In this article, a research audit is reported on and situated in a framework of mancipatory research.

Objectives: This article sets out to describe a preliminary audit of disability research in the southern African region and to draw conclusions about the current state of disability research in the region and make recommendations.

Method: The research method entailed working with disability researchers in the ten SAFOD member countries and utilising African disability networks hosted on electronic media. Disability researchers working in the region completed 87 questionnaires, which were reviewed through a thematic analysis.

Results: The discussion of results provides a consideration of definitions of disability; the understanding of disability rights, research topics and methodologies; the participation of people with disabilities in research; and the challenges and opportunities for using research to inform disability activism.

Conclusion: The conclusion highlights critical issues for future research in the region, and considers how a disability researcher database can be used as a tool for disability organisations to prioritise research that serves a disability rights agenda.


Keywords

disability; AfriNEAD; Africa

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