Original Research - Special Collection: Disability Unplugged

Key considerations for an inclusive framework for youth with disabilities in post-apartheid South Africa

Marlene F. le Roux
African Journal of Disability | Vol 11 | a954 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v11i0.954 | © 2022 Marlene F. le Roux | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 September 2021 | Published: 11 November 2022

About the author(s)

Marlene F. le Roux, Centre for disability and rehabilitation Studies and AfriNEAD, Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: The South African Constitution asserts that persons with disabilities must have equal access to opportunities in society; however, the realisation of this mandate has remained a challenge. There is a need to create contextually relevant, inclusive structures that support equal access to opportunities for persons with disabilities in society.

Objectives: This article reflects on and highlights key considerations for an inclusive framework that facilitates access to opportunities for youth with disabilities in South Africa, which emanated from a study that explored how ongoing interaction with the performing arts can facilitate social and economic inclusion of youths with disabilities.

Method: The study adopted a qualitative research approach, using critical ethnography. Primary data were obtained from three focus groups with a total of 20 youth with disabilities who have attended performance events, as well as an in-depth interview with a disabled performer.

Results: The facilitation of access to equal opportunities for youth with disabilities must occur at a multidimensional level, involving both personal and systemic changes and levels of support. Complex barriers linked to the apartheid legacy also exist, some of which include access to resources and reduced self-determination, whilst positive factors such as internal resilience and skills development function as promising predictors of inclusion.

Conclusion: Contextually relevant, disability-inclusive structures in South Africa must confront and address how youths with disabilities are uniquely impacted in present times by South Africa’s history.

Contribution: The voices of youths with disabilities make a key contribution as their experiences must inform these inclusive structures which have the potential to enhance access to equal opportunities for them at both personal and systemic levels.


inclusive development; disability; youth development; empowerment; humanity; dignity.


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Crossref Citations

1. Disability unplugged: What really matters to people with disabilities?
Chioma Ohajunwa, Callista Kahonde, Arne H. Eide, Lieketseng Ned
African Journal of Disability  vol: 11  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/ajod.v11i0.1172