December 2020

Dear friends and colleagues

What a year we have had!!

Certainly, one not to be forgotten in a hurry!

In spite of this ALL, and with gratitude to those of you who presented at the 6th AfriNEAD virtual conference, and those who attended, you gave your unconditional support to AfriNEAD! 

We were able to host the virtual conference, as a result of the tremendous support given to us from different areas.  Firstly from the planning committee – and you all know who you are.  Thank you for your time and effort- for going the extra mile, (sorry – kilometre) for attending to meetings, for heading sub- committees and for the extra hours which you put into making sure that everything was in place for this conference.

 Secondly, an especially big thank you, to all at Editmicro Systems. To the team, headed by Connie, with Andrea, Fadziso and Rushdah, who without doubt went above and beyond the call of duty to make things happen and to work, we thank you most sincerely.  However we also need to complement all the people at Editmicro systems who put up with us and allowed us to take over their space, but always with such wiliness and big smiles.  Thank you all so much. 

Although the 6th AfriNEAD was basically a virtual conference there was a group of us who work together- and laughed – and had fun, even with Luigia’ s guide dog Heiko!

Picture1: The conference implementing Team at Edit Microsystems: 02/12/2020

Picture2: Front row: Ms Hillary Lane, Mrs Vomink, Prof Gubela Mji. Back row: Prof Jimmy Volmink, Mr David Kamchacha, Ms Margaret  Kamchacha, Mr Gibson Kachaje 16/12/2020.
One of AfriNEAD’s intention for 2020 had been an all-encompassing approach to raising awareness on disability within Stellenbosch University SU, and in spite of the Covid 19 pandemic, we did just that.

Firstly, having had the VC announce at the end of 2019, the SU would observe 2020 as the year of people with disabilities (PWD), to us posting monthly articles on the SU facebook page, written by PWD associated with SU. Then the bittersweet event; the university awarding Rachel Kachaje an honorary doctorate which sadly she did not live to receive. However her husband and siblings were able to come from Malawi to receive the award and to attend the Chancellors dinner.

But for AfriNEAD the culmination of the year was the conference. Now is the time to access our achievements, which have been many, to look forward, to strengthen our endeavours and have our sights on the 7th AfriNEAD conference in 2023 also to be held in Cape Town.

In the meantime, no sooner had the 6th AfriNEAD conference ended, that AfriNEAD was invited to a:  “Regional Consultation for: The Development of the WHO Regional Framework for Assistive Technology in the African Region_Zoom Meeting: 14th to 16th December 2020 “. Gubela presented on how to legitimize partnerships to advance AT in Africa. She further facilitated discussion and feedback by the English group on the AT regional Framework on the 2nd & 3rd day of the conference.


African Journal of Disability (AJOD): A 2019 overview 

Please find a short summary of the African Journal of Disability (AJOD) for 2019. The AJOD’s aim and scope includes intellectual and developmental as well as physical and psychosocial disabilities, and covers much of your work from clinical practice to organizational/service design and legislation/policy implementation – please see the call for papers at the end of the attached document!

Now in its ninth volume (2020) and initially under the guidance of 1st edited in Chief  Prof Leslie Swartz, AJOD and now under the capable hands of Dr Charlotte Capri. The AJOD is read in 216 countries world-wide. AJOD is DHET accredited and subsidy earning, and all published articles are indexed in Scopus, PubMed Central, Scielo SA, Hinari. AJOD is also indexed in African Index Medicus, Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers (Level 1), Directory of Open Access Journals, EBSCO Host, GALE (CENGAGE Learning), ProQuest, Web of Science (Other Coverage, Emerging Sources Citation Index, ESCI), Sabinet, and Google Scholar. The full text of every one of our articles is also deposited in four different archives to guarantee long-term preservation.

We are also always updating and refreshing our pool of expert reviewers, and are constantly building capacity to match reviewers to manuscripts. Our reviewers are formally acknowledged at the end of every year, and AJOD review work can be included as one’s academic or disability community service. If you are interested in reviewing for AJOD, please take some time to tell us about your reviewing interests, no matter how many,  and feel free to get in touch with the Editor-in-Chief ( or In the meantime, please visit us at !


  • The numerous keynote addresses see conference program in the AfriNEAD website:
  • The hosting for the first time of a roundtable discussion on Disability Country Working Groups with French/English delivery of a keynote address by Minister Irene Esambo from the DRC.
  • The inclusion of an AT commission as the 8th commission of AfriNEAD research area with delivery of keynote addresses by Mr Chapal Khasnabis: WHO-Access to AT & Medical Devices Unit & Prof Mac Maclachlan Mynooth University Ireland and introduction of the platform on African Community on Assistive Technology (ACAT).
  • The delivery of an address by Global Disability Advisor for the World Bank: Ms Charlotte McClean – Nhlapho: Celebrating the life of Rachel Kachaje
  • Presentation of a Regional African Framework on AT by WHO Regional Representative: Dr Sougou Sarassa Aissatou.
  • The AfriNEAD and City of Cape Town Celebration of 3rd of December.


From Professor Leslie Swartz – Department of Psychology – Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: 

Dear friends and colleagues

I hope you will not mind my sharing this article, which was published on 3 December.  I feel strongly that if we are to build the best universities in Africa, we need the skills and perspectives of people with disabilities. 

Here is the link:

Gubela and I take this opportunity to thank everyone for the on going support for the work we do at AfriNEAD, and we wish you a very safe and happy Christmas and an even safer 2021.