Bioethics Blogs

On the Worlding of Accra’s Rehabilitation Training Centre by Kathryn Linn Geurts

Abstract: The original building at the entrance to the Accra Rehab Centre dates back to the 1950s when it hosted the Gold Coast Society for the Blind. Under the watch of former and first president Kwame Nkrumah, this plot of land was appropriated and reassigned as a site for rehabilitation of people with a range of impairments. By the turn of the century, ‘The Centre’ (in local parlance) had transformed into a hub of disability-oriented activity so that on any given day a steady stream of people would be moving about the compound engaged in attending self-help meetings, organizing press conferences, conversing in sign language, distributing white canes, or preparing for a wheelchair marathon. Over the decades, numerous national organizations established headquarters in the compound – such as Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, and an umbrella group called Ghana Federation of the Disabled. This essay begins by asking how happenings at and around ‘The Centre’ help to tell a located history of disability. Following Mei Zhan’s use of “worlding” as an analytic, we can see that while ‘The Centre’ is located in Accra and ostensibly exists to serve Ghanaian citizens with disabilities, its history reveals an original and ongoing dynamic of translocality and globalization. It has always been fundamentally connected to points elsewhere. ‘The Centre’ itself can therefore be treated as an archive housing knowledge-making processes and products which help us to better understand how people with disabilities in global South contexts have created inhabitable worlds originally and continuously entangled with global North entities and individuals.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.