Original Research

‘Disabled motherhood in an African community’: Towards an African women theology of disability

Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 1 | a2375 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i1.2375 | © 2018 Sinenhlanhla Sithulisiwe Chisale | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2018 | Published: 30 October 2018

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Sinenhlanhla S. Chisale, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The politics of culture, motherhood and mothering in some African communities highlight the tensions that exist in the broader feminist theology agenda. There are emerging politics between the able and disabled feminist theologians where the binary of ability or disability is ambiguously theologised. Written from a feminist theology of disability, this qualitative study sought to understand and describe the struggles women with visual impairment face to be accepted as being fit for motherhood. Emerging qualitative themes are used to develop towards an African women theology of disability that responds to the plight of women with disabilities. The findings indicate that women with disabilities are constantly challenging and protesting ableism perceptions of motherhood by falling pregnant, giving birth and nurturing their children. They argue that the binary perceptions of ability and disability are informed by patriarchal ideologies and able-bodied women’s fears of being associated with the vulnerability of disability.


disabled motherhood; African women theology of disability; motherhood; mothering; women with disabilities


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