Disability, the Invisible Handcuff: Challenges Faced by Learners with Disabilities in Institutions of Higher Education in Zimbabwe

Herbert Mandicheta, Vincent Mabvurira, Brighton Ndebele


The purpose of this study was to examine challenges faced by learners with disabilities in institutions of higher learning. The research adopted a qualitative approach using a sample of 32 disabled persons in four provinces in Zimbabwe. Data were collected through unstructured in-depth interviews. The results of the study indicate that the term “disability” is a “disabling word” that had limited people with disability to make progress in their lives. Despite their effort to live positively, disabled persons suffer a glut of challenges, which include stigmatization, social exclusion and inaccessibility of facilities and failure to cope with fast moving technology. Disability is used as a ‘dividing curtain’ between those with “disabilities” and those without.”The term has promoted the “them and us dichotomy”. Many people with disabilities are called by nature of their disability instead of their real names especially the visually impaired and physically challenged. This affects people with disability in education, employment arena and their interaction with the wider society.


Disability; Invisible handcuff; Self-fulfilling prophecy; Psychological loss; Enabling resources

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/10931


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