Centre for Rehabilitation Studies
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Disability & ​Rehabilitation Studies




Prof Lieketseng Ned (Head of Division: Disability and Rehabilitation Studies​)​

Email: lieketseng@sun.ac.za  
Tel: 021 938 9615
Fax to email: 086 733 8864

Lieketseng Ned trained as an Occupational Therapist, is an Associate Professor and Head of Division of disability and rehabilitation studies in the faculty of medicine and health sciences at Stellenbosch University. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Disability, and her work has been published in accredited and prestigious journals, locally and internationally. She is chairperson of the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre facility board and a lead editor for a forthcoming Routledge handbook on disability and global health. Her research interests include disability inclusive health systems, community based rehabilitation, critical disability studies, decolonial health and education and indigenous methodologies.

Prof Martha Geiger (Associate Professor)
Email: mgeiger@sun.ac.za

Tel: 021 938 9090

Martha Geiger is an Associate Professor in the DDRS where her work includes teaching (a masters module on Applied Research Methods and a postgraduate diploma module on Ethics and Community Constructs); supervising post-graduate students research in diverse aspects of disability and rehabilitation and a social impact project, the Chaeli Campaign Journal Club and Writing Project. As a registered speech therapist, her passion is for increasing the communicative participation of children and adults with severe and profound disabilities in under-resourced communities. ​

Prof Brian Watermeyer

Email: bwatermeyer@sun.ac.za

Prof Brian Watermeyer trained as a clinical psychologist (M.A. {Clin. Psych.}) at UCT, before completing a doctorate in psychology (D. Phil), focusing on disability studies, at Stellenbosch University. He was first editor of South Africa's first major text in disability studies, entitled Disability and Social Change: A South African Agenda, published in 2006 (HSRC Press). His second book, Towards a Contextual Psychology of Disablism, was published internationally by Routledge in 2013. His most recent book is The Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Citizenship in the Global South (New York: Palgrave), edited by B. Watermeyer, J. McKenzie and L. Swartz (2019). Prof Watermeyer has an extensive list of international journal publications, book chapters, and media appearances as a disability scholar and activist. He has taught on a host of postgraduate programmes at Stellenbosch University, UCT and UWC, in disability studies, clinical psychology, general psychology, medicine and rehabilitation science.   ​


Mrs Maria Van Zyl (Lecturer)

Email: mvanzyl@sun.ac.za
Tel: 021 938 9180

Mrs. Maria van Zyl qualified as an Occupational Therapist and subsequently completed her MPhil in Health Professions Education at Stellenbosch University. She is currently a PhD candidate, focusing her studies on the progressive professional identity formation of MBChB students. Her research interests lie in the personal and professional development of health professions students. She has been employed at the Division of Disability and Rehabilitation Studies since 2008, with her primary role situated in the MBChB programme. Mrs. van Zyl has played a vital role in the curriculum renewal programme, serving as the module chair for the first-year first-semester module, "Being and Becoming in Health Care." Additionally, she leads the "Dr as Change Agent in the Communities" module in collaboration with colleagues from the Division of Health Systems and Public Health and the Department of Industrial Psychology. Furthermore, Mrs. van Zyl is a module team member in the Primary Health Care clinical rotations, including the IDEAL rotation, all of which are still part of the outgoing MBChB curriculum.​


Dr Surona Visagie (4/8 senior lecturer)

Email: suronav@sun.ac.za

Surona qualified in 1986 as a physiotherapist and subsequently completed her masters and PhD degrees in health sciences (Disability and Rehabilitation) at Stellenbosch University.  She has been involved in various research projects of the CRS, including, "Health Care Access for Vulnerable groups in Africa".  She focusses on the supervision of master's students and has to date successfully supervised 19 master's students.  Her interests focus on physical rehabilitation, disability, community integration and assistive devices.


Dr Callista Kahonde (Senior Lecturer)

​Dr Callista Kahonde is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies. She completed a PhD in Disability Studies from the University of Cape Town, a Master's Degree in Physiotherapy from the University of the Western Cape and a BSc Hons Physiotherapy Degree from the University of Zimbabwe. Her research interests are on issues of community life and family living for people with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities. She is a passionate disability activist and advocate and is involved in training workshops for service providers and families of children and young adults with intellectual disabilities under the auspices of the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disabilities. Callista currently holds the NRF Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship and her research project is exploring feasibility of development of cell phone technology to promote knowledge of sexuality and prevention and reporting of sexual abuse and risk by persons with intellectual disabilities in the Western Cape Province.  


Dr Michelle Botha (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Email: mrbotha@sun.ac.za 

Dr Michelle Botha's research interests are closely connected to her experience as a disabled woman, as well as her ongoing involvement in activism and the Non-profit disability service sector in South Africa. Being visually impaired herself, she is particularly interested in questions concerning blindness, identity and discourse. Her doctoral work focused on visual impairment rehabilitation, considering the meanings about blindness and blind persons that are produced in this sphere, and how these meanings impact the lives of persons with visual impairments. 

She completed her PhD in Disability Studies at the University of Cape Town. She also holds a M.Soc.sci in Gender Studies from the University of Cape Town where her work focused on the complex lived experiences of visually impaired women in South Africa. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Stellenbosch University on a project entitled 'Visual Impairment, Discourse and Critique in South Africa: Breaking Silence and Disrupting Inequality'. Her work has been published in several international journals including Disability and Society, Medical Humanities and the International Journal of Disability, Education and Development. 

She also has experience working in the disability non-profit service sector in the area of career development for youth with disabilities where she engaged with government and the corporate sector around their disability employment challenges, and provided work readiness training, mentorship and other support to job-seekers with disabilities. Currently, she serves on the board of the Western Cape Network on Disability and was elected Vice Chairperson in 2019. In this capacity she has been involved in projects to promote equal access to education and skills development for persons with disabilities, and has been instrumental in piloting a legal advice help desk for persons with disabilities in the province.

Dr Nomvo Dwadwa-Henda (Postdoctoral Fellow) 

Email: nhenda@sun.ac.za
Tel: +27 21 938 9090

Nomvo Dwadwa-Henda is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. She is experienced in teaching learners with intellectual disabilities (ID) and over the years, developed a passion on social science research, where she also made her mark in conducting research on HIV/AIDS and in Culture. She is passionate about IKS, as a result, she pursued her PhD in Disability focusing on Indigenous communities. Her research includes Disability, Culture, HIV/AIDS, & Health in under-resourced communities.

Dr Chioma Ohajunwa (Senior Researcher) 

Dr Vic McKinney (Postdoctoral fellow)

Email: vmckinney@sun.ac.za 

Dr Vic McKinney completed both his M.Phil and Ph.D. in Disability Studies at the University of Cape Town. He is passionate about inclusive education and specifically about developing disability inclusive curricula at tertiary educational level, so that future professionals across all disciplines are adequately prepared to accommodate and communicate with people with disabilities in their everyday practice.

His current research explores how and to what extent undergraduate law students at a South African university are being prepared to understand and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. The study will investigate the attitudes of final year law students towards people with disabilities, as well as their understandings of disability inequality and their future professional role in protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.  The research will also explore what law lecturers believe students need to be taught regarding disability.

Drawing on his own experiences as a quadriplegic, Vic has been involved with disability related projects from grassroots to parliamentary level, as both activist and researcher. He currently sits on the board of the Cape Town Association of People with Disabilities and the Shonaquip Social Enterprise and is a member of the South African Presidential Working Group on Disability.​

Mrs Adele Kruger ​(Secretary)
Email: adele2@sun.ac.za
Tel: 021 938 9090