Move beyond superficial representation of persons with disabilities: Ndopu

20 Aug 2019 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 20 AUG (NAMPA) - Advocate and Activist of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Edward Ndopu, on Tuesday said there was a need to see people with disabilities leading and shaping the landscape and the discourse within the context of media.
Ndopu shared these sentiments during an exclusive interview with Nampa in the capital, adding that there is a need to move beyond superficial representation and aim for deeper and meaningful representation that centres the voices of people with disabilities.
Ndopu, who is on a four-day visit to Namibia as a special guest speaker at the 5th Annual Children’s Parliament of Namibia (CPN), said that people living with disabilities are not a homogeneous group as no two disabilities are the same with the consideration of the multiplicity of identities and experiences.
“We need to see more nuanced representation of disability, which takes into account the multiplicity of experiences and identities that we as people with disabilities embody so that we can see a richer, more textured representation of disability,” he said.
Ndopu added that the media should start by interrogating the current ways in which issues pertaining to persons with disabilities are reported, adding that the public needs to see people with disabilities that are not just beneficiaries of charity or international development.
He shared that his advocacy was largely informed by his own experience, sharing that, at two-years-old, he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which weakened his muscles and inhibited his movement, adding that doctors concluded that he would only live up to the age of five.
Ndopu is currently 29 years-old.
Ndopu shared that he sat down on Monday with Deputy Minister for Disability Affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, and spoke at length about the need for society to start seeing people with disabilities as empowered, having access to self-actualisation in the same way that people without disabilities have.
He said he was looking forward to listening attentively to the challenges presented by the young people at the 5th Annual CPN and the recommendations that would be shared, currently in the capital.
Ndopu was appointed by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, as an SDG advocate earlier this year.