Background: This article emanates from a study funded by the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of South Africa’s National Research Foundation on the ‘Archaeology of Ubuntu’. It explores the notion of ubuntu and disability in a group of Zulu people from four communities within KwaZulu-Natal. The study is based on the notion that ubuntu is humaneness. Being human is linked to notions of care, respect and compassion.
Objectives: The article explores the treatment of people with disabilities from the elders’ perspectives in this community.
Method: This article is based on qualitative data resulting from structured interviews conducted in the KwaZulu-Natal Province between February and March 2015.
Results: The results reveal that society considered the birth of a disabled child as a curse from God and punishment from the ancestors. The results also indicate that people with disabilities were excluded from community activities; marrying a disabled person was unthinkable because they were stigmatised and dehumanised. The work of Hannah Arendt is used to interrogate people’s perceptions of others with disabilities in their communities.
Conclusion: The article posits that treatment of people with disabilities is not cast in stone but can be renegotiated and restructured through community engagement to represent genuine inclusion.