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Appearances of Disability and Christianity in Uganda

By Tyler Zoanni

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Cite As:
Zoanni, Tyler. 2019. “Appearances of Disability and Christianity in Uganda”. Cultural Anthropology 34 (3), 444–470. https://doi.org/10.14506/ca34.3.06.

Abstract

This article considers how Christianity contributes to the appearance of cognitive disability in Uganda, a country with some of the most progressive disability policies in the world but little in the way of formal care and advocacy for cognitively disabled people. As a point of departure, the article invokes Hannah Arendt’s notion of appearance as a way to thematize the importance of public display in Ugandan social life, as well as the challenge that people with evidently profound disabilities pose to Ugandan social aesthetics. It first traces how cognitive disability disappears under the liberal logics that organize Uganda’s secular disability laws and activism, and then compares the ways that Catholic and Pentecostal efforts sustain the appearance of cognitive disability, in light of their theological differences and their common paternalism. Even as Christian paternalism in the face of cognitive disability may prove repugnant to a liberal vision of disability politics, I argue that it sustains a form of disability appearance otherwise not possible in Uganda.

Bufunze

Ekiwandiiko kino kilagira ddala bulungi, nga obukristaayo bwe bwewaddeyo ennyo ku nsonga etekwatiddwa bulungi ey’endabika y’abantu abalina obulemu mu butesobola nga buva ku bwongo nga bali mu Uganda. Eggwanga erya Uganda lirina enkola ennungi mu byokwezza obuggya ku nsonga y’abantu abo munsi yonna. Wabula ate kinakuwaza nnyo, nti libulamu nnyo enkola ennungamu mu ngeri y’okuwagira endabirira esaanidde abantu abo, mu mbeera zaabwe zonna okutwalira awamu. Ekiwandiiko kino okwawukana ku bya bulijjo ebirala byonna, kikoona butereevu ku ndowooza ya Hannah Arendt, era nga kirina n’okulaga okusomooza okuleteddwaawo obutafa bulungi ku bantu abo mu mbeera zaabwe mu ggwanga lyonna. Ekiwandiiko kisookera ddala n’okulaga engeri y’okufaayo ku nsonga eyo bwe kigenda kisaanirawo ddala nga kino kiyita mu kwekkiriranya abantu kwe batambuliramu ng’abakweyambisa, nga bakola amateeka agakwata ku butesobola obw’obwongo, wamu nebirala ebikolebwa okukisaamu amaanyi, Kati ekyo, nga bwe twongerako netukigeerageeranya n’ekyo ekikolebwa abakatuliki n’aba Pentekooti ku nsonga eyo yemu mu kuyimirizaawo endabika entuufu eyandisaanidde ku bantu abo abalina obulemu bwobutesobola. Naye ate olwokuberawo enjawukana z’e byeddini wakati waabo bombi, nekitasobola kutambula bulungi, nga kino kiva mu kugaaana okukolera awamu nga abantu abali ku mulimu ogumu. Ekisinga obukulu nga kyekireeeta obutakkanya obwo kyangu okulaba. Kale obutasobola kukolera wamu olw’obukulu bwensonga eyo, nakyo kiyinza okuva ku bukyaayi okwesigamiziddwa ku kwolesebwa okulina obulemu mu bwongo, mu nfuga yaabwo egobererwa. Ekyo ne kiyimirizaawo endabika eyobulemu obutesobola era nga nayo tesoboka mu Uganda kukolebwako.

Keywords

cognitive disability; religion; social aesthetics; liberalism; personhood; Uganda; Obulemu mu bwongo; eddiini; obulabika; nampawengwa; obuntu