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EQUITY AND ACCESS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITY IN

THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION, GHANA

by

Seyram Brigitte AMENYEDZI

Supervisor: Prof D.X. Simon

Co-supervisor: Prof L.J.M Claassens

Dissertation presented for the degree of PhD in Missiology

in the Faculty of Theology, at Stellenbosch University

December 2016

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DECLARATION

By submitting this dissertation electronically, I declare that the entirety of the work

contained therein is my own original work, that I am the authorship owner thereof and that

I have not previously in its entirety or in part submitted it for obtaining any qualification.

Signature:

Date: December 2016

Copyright © 2016 Stellenbosch University

All rights reserved

Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za

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4.2.1.1. Inculturation in Ghana

The discourse on inculturation will be incomplete without considering the views of distinguished

Ghanaian theologians. Renowned African scholars like Kwame Bediako and Mercy Oduyoye are

relevant in this discourse. Bediako (1995:212) notes that “the place and significance of ancestors in

African primal worldview actually offers opportunities for ‘filling out’ some dimensions of spiritual

experience and historical consciousness which are inherent in Christian religion”. This facilitates the

investigation of the perception of disability a curse meted out as a punishment from the gods or ancestors

in the Ghanaian culture and traditional belief system. In Bediako’s (1995:214, 215) opinion, “The cross-

cultural transmission of the Gospel can also be revelatory”. In that, the African Christian experience

causes us to raise questions not only about the African religion but also in conversation with Christianity

(Bediako, 1995:214). In contrast, Oduyoye (2003:41, 42) states, “African culture is steeped in religion

that is variously termed “Traditional”… social cultures are made up of a material way of life but they

also have spiritual components. The position of these scholars reflects the on-going conversation

regarding the relevance of using the Ghanaian culture as a resource to explore accessibility to

theological education for persons with disability.



Mawusi (2009:91), in his dissertation titled, ‘Inculturation: Rooting the Gospel firmly in Ghanaian

Culture,’ examines “some Ghanaian cultural values that are peculiar and of relevance to inculturation

of the Gospel”. He notes, “Some of the Ghanaian cultural values can enrich the universal Church”. He

identifies the family as a valuable unit in the Ghanaian society, going beyond the nuclear to the extended

family. He applauds the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops for highlighting the

concept of family as a guiding principle in propagating the gospel in Africa (Mawusi, 2009:93). Mawusi

sees the value of viewing the church as the extended family of God as relevant inculturation; this

concept is both biblical and cultural. As I have indicated in section 2.5.1, the Ghanaian culture is an

epitome of hospitality. Mawusi (2009:98, 99) is of the opinion that the way Ghanaians are hospitable

in welcoming guests, they should likewise welcome Christ and others, as this is also a biblical value.

He attests that, “a key African value is inclusiveness, which is seen concretely in expressions of African

hospitality… This is similar to the value of hospitality in the Bible. “Extend hospitality to strangers”

(Rom. 12:13). Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained

angels without knowing it (Heb. 13:2)”.



Some attempts of inculturation in Ghana include: inculturating Ghanaian music into the liturgy;

incorporating the Ghanaian naming ceremony into the rite of baptism; traditional marriage vis-à-vis

Christian marriage, and widowhood rites are also worth mentioning (Mawusi, 2009:142-159). Some of

these aforementioned Ghanaian cultural values are relevant in the discourse on accessibility for persons

with disability in theological education in Ghana. This current chapter as well as subsequent chapters

make reference to these values.

Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za

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4.2.2. Practical theological reflection: (Swinton & Mowat, 2006)

Previous sub-sections indicated that sociological-anthropological inculturation theology is useful in

data analysis, as it helps to explain the different stages of doing practical theological research, as

proposed by Swinton and Mowat (2006). Hence, the missiological concepts on inculturation within the

theological reflection framework of Swinton and Mowat (2006:95) are utilized to analyse the data

generated by this study. However, in conjunction with this framework, the study will employ a CMO

configuration (Pawson & Tilley, 2005:365) that will be helpful in identifying the causes of

stigmatization and exclusion persons with disability experience, and their outcome on access to

theological education for persons with disability in Ghana. The following diagram of Swinton and

Mowat’s (2006:95) framework for analysing theological data offers a helpful entry point for analysing

the data in this chapter:







Figure 1. Practical theological reflection (Swinton & Mowat, 2006).



The Practical theological reflection framework (Swinton & Mowat, 2006:95) utilized in this study has

four stages of analysis, as shown in Figure 1 above. The stages are reflected in the entire research,

ranging from the introduction to the conceptual framework, literature review, data, data analysis,

conclusion and recommendations. The arrows indicate that the stages interact with one another,

Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za

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9. How does the Church’s
attitude towards PWDs

influence their access to

theological education?

This question is important in exploring the

accessibility of theological institutions to

PWDs and the role of the Church in this.

9. What do you say about
PWDs becoming leaders

such as pastors, evangelist,

elders and deacons etc.?

This will seek pastors’ opinion on PWDs in

Christian ministry. It will also find out the

stand of theological institutions on PWDs.

10. What will you do to grant
equity and access for

PWDs?

















































This will show how prepared theological

institutions are for inclusion.

Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za

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6. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS: DISABILITY EXPERTS

Modified from Mason’s Chart for Linking Research Questions and Methods68

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS JUSTIFICATION

1. What is your
understanding of

Disability?

This will give insight into the definition of disability

from a professional point of view.

2. What motivated you into
this field (Disability)?

Will explore motivations to this field of study.

3. What is your
understanding of

disability regarding the

image of God?

This is useful in reconciling the Disability Theology

with professional definition.

4. How would you
reconcile faith, healing

and disability?

This is useful in reconciling the Disability Theology

with professional definition.

5. What is the reason for
the neglect of PWDs?

Will seek understanding into the problem of neglect of

PWDs.

6. What is your view on
stigma and disability?

Stigma is one of the main attitudes that disable PWDs

according to the SMD. It is one of the main concepts

of the research. This will help to gain insight into how

pastors understand the effect of stigma on the

inclusion of PWDs.

7. Can PWDs become
leaders such as pastors,

evangelist, elders and

deacons etc.?

This will seek disability expert opinion on PWDs in

Christian ministry.

8. What must theological
institutions do to ensure

inclusion of PWDs?



Will provide helpful information on how to include

PWDs from an expert’s perspective.




68 Mason, J. 2002. Qualitative Researching. Sage.

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