The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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Zip Zip My Brain Harts is the result of collaboration between Buckland (a photographer) and HSRC researchers concerned with disability issues. Angie Bucklands remarkable photographs, interspersed with challenging text, are a unique expression of the fullness of human experience, with all its joy, pain and confusion. 

There is a tendency for disability to be a secret. The challenges that face families of people with disabilities are also often hidden away. Part of the reason is that disability is still largely seen as a shame, a disgrace, and a source of stigma. Angie Buckland, the mother of a disabled child, Nikki, provides us with a personal account of how she has dealt with the challenge of disability.

Some of the key issues considered are: what if disability was considered ordinary or everyday? What if disability were seen as just one among many differences that there already are between people? What if disability were defined not simply as a physical or mental medical state, but were understood to be a societal problem in terms of the reaction of other people to disability, or how geographical and social spaces can be discriminatory?

Zip Zip My Brain Harts hopes to open up a space for dialogue about the issue of disability and also to provide families and healthcare professionals with a compassionate, understanding and inspiring guide to ordinary peoples real experiences.

Product information

Format : 210mm x 230mm
Pages : 104
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2159-8
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2159-8
Publish Year : 2006

Foreword by Albie Sachs

The text comprises chapters on:

  • Looking at disability which deals with shifts in the ways in which how disability has been represented historically and how the stereotypes around disability function.
  • Loving subterfuge which explores strategies that families affected by disability employ to manage their lives within the stereotypes imposed by society.
  • Encounters with the medical profession which examines the interaction between parents and medical staff around issues of diagnosis, disclosure and ongoing care.
  • Family dreams and nightmares which looks at issues of loss experienced by parents with disabled children and the ways in which families can reclaim their dreams of the ideal family.

Five sets of photographic images are interspersed between the chapters, namely:

  • Dysmorphic Series,
  • Stickytape Juice Collection,
  • Wheres Nikki, the complete installation
  • Wheres Nikki? The outtakes
  • Shadow Catching.

Angela Buckland completed her MA in the UK. She has exhibited widely in South Africa and abroad. Her work is in a number of private and public collections. Angie currently works and lives in Durban with her husband, architect, David Barrow, and their two children, Nikki and Christine.

Kathleen McDougal has a Masters in media studies from the university of Cape Town, and is completing her PhD in anthropology at the University of Chicago. During her time at the HSRC, she was involved in projects related to disability and the mass media in South Africa.

Leslie Swartz is Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. He has published widely on mental health and disability issue and is co-editor of Disability and Social Change: A South African agenda (HSRC Press).

Amelia van der Merwe is a research psychologist currently working as a Research Associate in the Child, Youth, Family and Social Development Research Programme of the HSRC. Her research focuses on sources of risk and resilience in childhood and adolescence and on childrens rights.

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