Original Research - Special Collection: Humanity

From dependence to interdependence: Towards a practical theology of disability

Paul Leshota
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 2 | a2680 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i2.2680 | © 2015 Paul Leshota | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 April 2014 | Published: 14 July 2015

About the author(s)

Paul Leshota, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, National University of Lesotho, Lesotho


Disability has remained on the fringes of research in Africa in general and Southern Africa in particular, especially in the field of theology. Its glaring absence constitutes an indictment against both church and society, revealing in the process both the church’s and society’s penchant for a dependence paradigm which has been the paradigm with respect to issues of disabilities and people with disabilities. Using the participatory method with its proclivity for bringing to the fore the voice of the ‘other’ and the marginalised, both the dependence and independence paradigms within the context of disability are put under scrutiny. In the process and through the voice of people with disabilities, the practical theological paradigm of interdependence emerges as the most appropriate and friendliest one, as it resonates with both the New Testament notion of koinonia through love and the African notion of botho through interconnection. The practical theology of holding each other in arms resonates with the theology of embrace that has been popularised by Volf within the context of much hatred and alienation. All these different dimensions of the theology of interdependence become the bedrock for inclusive and respectful treatment of each other irrespective of race, gender,


Disability; Practical Theology; Botho; Koinonia; Embrace


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Crossref Citations

1. Learning While Teaching: Disability and Religion in the Classroom
Meghan R. Henning, Kirk VanGilder
Journal of Disability & Religion  vol: 21  issue: 4  first page: 347  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1080/23312521.2017.1377664