|Flickr | Robert Hammond|
The agency of a person with a disability isn’t taken away in many tribes. The Maasai of Kenya accept women with disabilities bearing children, and she is allowed to stay in her family home as “the girl of the homestead” instead of moving in with her husband’s family, which is a privilege in Maasai culture. In the same tribe, children with disabilities are treated the same as able-bodied children, participating in the same rituals. The Hausa people of northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger have disabled communities, represented by a leader with the same disability (this social structure goes for every community and profession in Hausaland).
Indeed, many African countries don’t see people with disabilities as being fundamentally different; a person with a specific impairment is seen as just that. The disability does not define who they are, and their contributions to their communities are valued as much as anybody else’s. According to many an East-African proverb, every person has been placed on the earth for a reason.
Encyclopedia of Disability – Volume 5
Hausa Superstitions and Customs