Stellenbosch University holds conference on theology, disability and human dignity

The Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University (SU), in conjunction with the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies at the Faculty of Health Sciences, is hosting a three-day conference on the theme of Theology, Disability and Human Dignity. The conference takes place from May 18 to May 20 in Stellenbosch (May 18 and May 19) and Worcester (May 20).

Several international and national experts in the areas of theology, psychology, medicine, philosophy and ethics will focus on the challenges disabled people face on a daily basis. According to Prof Julie Claassens of SU’s Faculty of Theology, organising the conference showed that disabled people are still excluded from many activities taken for granted by abled people.

International speakers at the conference include Hans Reinders, Professor of Ethics and Mental Disability (Bernard Lievegoed Chair) at the Free University of Amsterdam, Thomas Reynolds, Associate Professor of Theology, Emmanuel College, Toronto, Ontario and Rachel Kachaje, Deputy Chairperson for Development and underrepresented Group of Disabled People International.

Mzolisi ka Toni, Deputy Director General of the South African Department of Woman, Children and People with Disabilities, and three disabled SU students will take part in a panel discussion on May 18 and May 19 respectively.

Among the local speakers at the conference will be Prof Nico Koopman, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at SU, Anton van Niekerk, SU Professor of Philosophy and Ms Gubela Mji, Director of the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies.

The conference forms part of the Faculty of Theology’s initiative Focus on the Promotion of Human Dignity which fits in with the greater SU HOPE Project. As part of the project, the faculty wants to focus on human dignity.

The Centre for Rehabilitation Studies endeavours to facilitate the reintegration of disabled people into society through research, support services and collaboration with interested parties.