[blindza] Re: [Physical] The.Sponge Newsletter for May 2010

  • From: "Tony Webb" <tony.webb@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "National Accessibility Portal mailing list with topics focusedonaccessibility for users with physical disabilities." <physical@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 16:36:48 +0200

Hi Michael,
Thank you for your contribution - I see that you have copied to Reinette's 
private email so I will go a bit further and copy this to the Rehab list, 
BLINDZA, Nap-blind and Nap-deaf in order to stimulate a wider discussion..
Unfortunately, the formal recognition you mention has not put much food on the 
table, or bottoms into classrooms.
My experience from interacting directly with disabled people in communities 
around Port Elizabeth and with others in communities in other parts of South 
Africa (through The.Sponge project), is that even 16 years after RDP, most have 
no idea of their rights and consequently have no expectations.
Maybe that is why they do not fight back when society continues to marginalize 
their priorities.
I read (in English) a lot of official documents and they all seem to take great 
pains to be politically correct, expending more effort on that than on getting 
the policies actually implemented.

As only 8% of our population are English-speaking and 13% are 
Afrikaans-speaking, perhaps someone can comment on the difference between 
'disabled person' and 'person with a disability' when you tabulate translations 
into the other 9 official languages, and by sign language.
I rest my case. 
Now we are probably both in trouble and must await further contributions.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Watermeyer 
  To: National Accessibility Portal mailing list with topics 
focusedonaccessibility for users with physical disabilities. 
  Cc: Reinette Popplestone 
  Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2010 10:58 AM
  Subject: Re: [Physical] The.Sponge Newsletter for May 2010
  Hi Tony 

  I would have to disagree with your stance on the importance of terminology.  
My experience of people with disabilities in South Africa is one which tends  
to support an opinion that we are shackled, not only by social and political 
oppression, but by our own expectation that that is what we can and possibly 
should expect.  This is despite massive advances in South Africa in the area of 
formal recognition of legal, constitutional and human rights for people with 

  I am going to get into trouble for suggesting that people with disabilities 
themselves often undermine political, social and material advances in their 
situation by allowing society to marginalize their priorities through 
perpetuating acceptance of oppressive terminology and expectations.  None the 
less this is what I believe we do in South Africa. Through terminology we 
collude with our own oppression and marginalization.

  I do not mean to detract at all from the amazing and important work which is 
done by the many dedicated people, workers and activists, who make a 
significant difference for people with disabilities in South Africa. On the 
contrary, I am trying to highlight how this very work may be hampered by our 
own shackled minds.  I firmly believe that liberation, as you correctly say, 
critically relies on recognition, respect and resources for people with 
disabilities. But that empowered identity in turn must essentially begin with 
discourse and terminology. How do we make a stand if our very terminology 
implies we don't warrant and deserve respect?

  This stuff is important folks.

  Michael Watermeyer BA LLB (UCT)     MSW Consulting 
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Tony Webb 
    To: National Accessibility Portal mailing list with topics 
focusedonaccessibility for users with physical disabilities. 
    Cc: The.Sponge Gmail 
    Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2010 7:42 AM
    Subject: Re: [Physical] The.Sponge Newsletter for May 2010
    Hi Judy,
    Thanks for the positive comments and for being the only one out of the few 
thousand recipients of the newsletter who has bothered to speak up on this 
controversial topic.
    There has been a lot of hype about terminology over the past 20 years or 
more, but I don't think any of it has actually put any food in the bellies of 
the millions of poor disabled people in SA.
    Or helped them get some rehab therapy.
    Or helped them get a wheelchair or whatever.
    Or helped them get an accessible house in an accessible street.
    Or helped them get some education.
    Or helped them get a job.

    The list goes on, discrimination is still alive and well, and government 
departments and commerce and industry and particularly Joe Public remain 
totally confused about disability issues.

    I love writing but I am a lazy typist and we will have to agree to differ 
on the importance of such semantics. 
    Was it Shakespeare who said " A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Judy Okite 
      To: National Accessibility Portal mailing list with topics focused 
onaccessibility for users with physical disabilities. 
      Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 9:36 PM
      Subject: Re: [Physical] The.Sponge Newsletter for May 2010
      hello all,

      this is a very good initiative,but just one observation.......'disabled 
people' is very discriminatory....where i come from it means somebody who 
CANT......could you change to 'persons with disability?'...this simply means 
someone who can, but they are limited.....

      if you decide to change it, please do so also on the website.

      Kind Regards,

      On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 8:49 PM, Tony Webb <tony.webb@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:


        MAY 2010

              SMS enquiries to 072-172 2623

              (With your name, town, disability and the info you need)

              Email:  the.sponge.project@xxxxxxxxx

              Website:  http://thespongeproject.yolasite.com/

              Facebook:  The.Sponge Project


        * The.Sponge project is about advocating for better rehabilitation for 
disabled people. 

        * We offer an SMS Information Service (072-172 2623) to enable disabled 
people to locate their nearest rehabilitation resource.

        * We send this newsletter to everyone on our database of resources 
(currently over 3000 contacts) to improve their awareness of disability issues 
and let them know how they can get more information.

        * We invite organisations to send us their contact details using the 
registration form on our website. 

        * We have just received some welcome feedback. In February a blind lady 
from a rural area contacted for us for assistance. The SANCB have just notified 
that they were able to supply her with a Perkins Brailler and other devices, 
and she is studying at Optima College. That is feel-good stuff.

        * We welcome your comments on any aspect of this project.


        * We have launched the concept of Total Disability Rehab © to assist 
therapists, social workers and others to share information - particularly those 
working in remote communities. 

        * See www.ruralrehab.co.za for an initiative by Karen Lister.

        * Our definition of Total Disability Rehab is the delivery of the 
services required to treat a disabled child at birth, or a person who becomes 
disabled through a disease or injury, thru welfare support, thru the education 
of the child, or the re-skilling of adults, thru the dignity and independence 
of self or mainstream employment, towards achieving his or her dreams.

        * This process is described in the Department of Health National 
Rehabilitation Policy (the now famous green booklet 'Rehab for All'). 

        * The Rehabilitation Manager in each district is responsible for 
getting representatives of various government departments around the table and 
motivating them to collaborate for the greater good of disabled people.

        * There are certain key government departments who play an important 
role in rehabilitation – 

        MUNICIPALITIES - Empowerment through the implementation of the 
Disability Framework. 

        HEALTH - Therapy services and assistive devices for all disabled people.

        SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT - Counselling services and Early Childhood 
Development services.

        SASSA - Disability and related grants thru one-stop-centres.

        EDUCATION – Schools for disabled children and adults of all ages.

        LABOUR - Skills development and employment services.

        HOUSING – Accessible RDP houses.

        TRANSPORT - Accessible public transport for all.

        * Please contact us if you would like more details, or you can post a 
question on the Rehab/Disability Discussions Listserve  (see below) 


      Physical mailing list


    Physical mailing list


  Physical mailing list

Other related posts: