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May

20

2017

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Disability Discourse, When The Activist Bucks Up The Wrong Tree

By Masimba Kuchera

The last few months have got me thinking whether I’ve been misdirecting my disappointment when the man or woman in the street calls me “bofu” or chirema”, loosely translating to blind man or cripple. I’ve always thought that we need to bring society up to speed with better and more respectful terms of referring to someone like me who has a visual impairment and have felt that it is out of ignorance that such terms as bofu, chirema, mbeveve or matsi are used referring to someone who has a visual, physical, speech or hearing impairment respectively.

In addition to those words falling into class nouns of animals, the words carry a negative historical connotation akin to those words which referred our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who fought in the liberation struggle as terrorists or guerrillas and not freedom fighters. Many liberation movements

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