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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Disability rights activism in Kenya, 1959-1964: history from below
Author:Gebrekidan, Fikru NegashISNI
Periodical:African Studies Review (ISSN 1555-2462)
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:physically disabled
disabled care
social history
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_studies_review/v055/55.3.gebrekidan.pdf
Abstract:This article examines the early history of disability rights activism in Kenya. The transitional years from colonialism to independence were a period of great expectations. For persons with disabilities in particular, decolonization held additional possibilities and potential. National independence promised not just majority rule but also an all-inclusive citizenship and the commitment to social justice. Among the visually impaired of Kenya, such collective aspirations led to the birth of the Kenya Union of the Blind in 1959. In 1964, after years of futile correspondence with government officials, the Union organized a street march to the prime minister's office to attract attention to its grievances. The result was a government panel, the Mwendwa Committee for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, whose published report became the blueprint for social and rehabilitation programs. The government possessed limited resources, and the reforms that ensued were long overdue. Yet the sociohistorical dynamics behind the march are of particular significance. From the social historian's point of view, they affirm not only the historical agency of persons with disabilities, but also the need to recast and broaden the scope of African social history. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]