Original Research

Psychosocial challenges of children with disabilities in Sekhukhune District, Limpopo province of South Africa: Towards a responsive integrated disability strategy

Matthews M. Makwela, Elizabeth I. Smit
African Journal of Disability | Vol 11 | a799 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v11i0.799 | © 2022 Matthews M. Makwela, Elizabeth I. Smit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 September 2020 | Published: 28 July 2022

About the author(s)

Matthews M. Makwela, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mmabatho, South Africa
Elizabeth I. Smit, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Mmabatho, South Africa


Background: Disability, and everything it encompasses, presents major challenges to individuals, families and communities worldwide. Children with disabilities (CWD) are marginalised and excluded in most societies. Discrimination and prejudice towards CWD are compounded by poverty, lack of essential services and support and sometimes a hostile and inaccessible environment.

Objectives: The study sought to examine the psychosocial challenges experienced by CWD in the Sekhukhune district of Limpopo province, South Africa. Based on the identified, articulated and expressed challenges, the study sought to recommend improvement of the existing Integrated National Disability Strategy (INDS) for greater responsiveness to the needs of CWD at both provincial and local levels.

Method: The interpretivist qualitative mode of enquiry was the chosen methodology for this study. Phenomenology and descriptive research designs guided the study. Purposive sampling was employed, and data were collected from 36 participants using three triangulated methods: individual in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Thematic data analysis was used to analyse data.

Results: The findings revealed that CWD in Sekhukhune experienced numerous challenges which affected their social functioning, development and general well-being. Aggravating factors included stigma, labelling and discrimination; disability-specific discrimination and bullying; exclusive education; sexual exploitation; lack of governmental support and poor implementation of disability-specific policies, amongst others.

Conclusion: The provisions of the INDS to promote inclusion, integration, mainstreaming and equitable access to resources and services remained an ideal rather than a reality for CWD in Sekhukhune.


psychosocial challenges; disability; children with disabilities; Limpopo; South Africa


Total abstract views: 2317
Total article views: 2603


Crossref Citations

1. ‘People don’t understand what we go through!’: Caregiver views on South Africa’s care dependency grant
Zara Trafford
African Journal of Disability  vol: 12  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1114