HOME > Report Issued by Research Center for Ars Vivendi

Illnesses, Medical Care and Disabilities in Africa:
Through Seminars in the "Africa in Front of Us" Series

NIIYAMA Tomoki (Ed.) March 25, 2015
Report Issued by Research Center for Ars Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University, Vol.23, 168p. ISSN 1882-6539



NIIYAMA Tomoki (Ed.) March 25, 2015 Illnesses, Medical Care and Disabilities in Africa: Through Seminars in the "Africa in Front of Us" Series, Report Issued by Research Center for Ars Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University, Vol.23, 168p. ISSN 1882-6539※

『Illnesses, Medical Care and Disabilities in Africa: Through Seminars in the

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■Table of Contents

Foreword  NISHI Masahiko 5-6

Part I Event Reports concerning Seminars in the "Africa in Front of Us" Series
[First Seminar] Another Disposable Culture: Where Secondhand Clothing Goes / Why Do Japanese Young People Go to Africa? 10-12
[Second Seminar] Connection with Illnesses: AIDS, Human Rights and Social Movements 13-15
[Third Seminar] Individual Lives and Thread of History: Screening of Lumumba 16-18
[Fourth Seminar] Colors of African Literature: Black, White & Others 19-20
[Fifth Seminar] From African Soil to Japanese Soil: Lecture of Kaba-ko 21
[Sixth Seminar] Cooperativity within Our Body: Gestures and Rhythm of People with Visual/Hearing Disabilities 22-24
[Seventh Seminar] Interest Directed toward Mozambique: Expectations as a Supply Center of Foods and Energies to Japan?  25-26
[Eighth Seminar] Public Health for Whom?  27-28
[Ninth Seminar] Disabled People who Cross the Border / People with Leprosy who Create a Village 29-31
[Tenth Seminar] Reconsidering Reconciliation Policy of Society after Conflict: Focusing on South Africa after Post-apartheid 32-34

Part II
◆Learning from HIV-Positive People and Disabled People in Africa: Impacts of Collaboration between Africa Japan Forum and the Research Center for Ars Vivendi on African Area Studies and Disability Studies and Its Future Possibilities  SAITO Ryoichiro 36-50
◆Finding Home: A Life Story of a Person Affected by Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)  KYO Akie 51-67
◆A Report concerning Medicine and Infectious Diseases in Africa: Knowing HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Neglected Tropical Diseases and Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever  NIIYAMA Tomoki 68-97

Part III
◆The Peculiarly Political Problem behind Nigeria’s Primary Health Care Provision  Murray Last (translated by KONDO Hiroshi) 100-124
◆Livelihood and Care of Persons with Disabilities Living in Urban Areas in Africa: A Case Study of Yaoundé, the Capital of the Republic of Cameroon  TODA Mikako 125-147

Afterword  OGAWA Sayaka 148-149
Basic Information
1. African Countries  152-159
2. Health / Medicine of African Countries  160-163

List of Authors


■ Foreword by Masahiko Nishi

I was born in 1955, and for me Africa used to be associated with animals in savanna shown in the "Yasei no Okoku (Wild Kingdom)" series by MBS launched in December, 1963 when television became available to the general public, or the barefooted Abebe Bikila running through the central part of Tokyo during the Tokyo Olympic Games at a truly amazing pace, or ? if we go a little back in the history - the documentary images of children starving to death during the Biafran war in Nigeria. And also - although I did not read it at the time when it came out and, when reading it later, could not help but see myself in the hero, Bird, - Kojin tekina Taiken (A Personal Matter), the book by Kenzaburo Oe published in 1964.

We can find links between Japan and Africa if we go far back in history to the 16th and 17th centuries, but as for the modern times, the regular Japanese children for the first time visualized "Africa" only after the 1960s. Later I started my research in comparative literature and, especially since the 1990s, when the post-colonial criticism stormed across the discipline, I actively started to extend the reach of my research to include also the African literature.

In our Research Center for Ars Vivendi since its establishment in 2007, largely thanks to the efforts of Tatsuo Hayashi and Ryuichiro Saito, who have contributed to the development of our center as visiting professors, when thinking of the problems of disability, aging, illness, and differences on the global scale, we have always considered Africa as an important part of the whole for two reasons.

One is that in our current world of modernization equals globalization, African countries are forced to survive in very vulnerable conditions as both economical and social foundations. In that sense, the African population is in the most life-threatening situation among the mankind relatively.

There is another reason. As Africa is being tossed about in the waves of modernization equals globalization, the problems of disability, aging, illness, and differences, which previously used to be an important and pressing issue for the developed countries, have surfaced as principal social problems for the African countries, too, and as these problems are largely disregarded by the governments, organizing various exchanges or joint activities with Africa is very difficult.

In other words, after half a century that has passed since Kenzaburo Oe, a Japanese writer, tried to juxtapose a purely family matter of birth of a disabled child with a dream of escaping to Africa, we have come so far that without feeling any sense of affinity towards the people with disabilities in Africa, we cannot even create friendly relationships with the world any more.

A project entitled "Africa in front of us", which was launched largely as a result of ideas of Sayaka Ogawa, who came to work at the Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Ritsumeikan University in April, 2013, is an initiative aiming to create a new core for the African studies in Kansai with a clearly defined angle of view of the Research Center for Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University, a view distinctive from that of the National Museum of Ethnology or the Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University. This collection of papers is the first achievement of this project.

For the general public of Japan, "Africa" is still a land which is located very far away. However, in modern times, we simply cannot live without feeling a sign of its presence.

■ Afterword by Sayaka Ogawa

When I started my research on Africa fifteen years ago, I was not interested in the actual problems and difficulties faced by people living in Africa so much. My choice was rather informed by a wish for adventure, by my yearning to learn about cultures, societies, and economical mechanisms different from those of my own country. For me at the time, Africa was a frontier in terms of my recognition of the global world, and my desire that I would like to speculate how human beings actually live their lives based on my experiences there.

For several years now we have frequently heard that "the 21st century will be African century". African countries with their abundant natural resources and attractive demographic structure come to be redefined as a new "frontier", and to be perceived as an enormous market that is expected to achieve significant growth from now on. Nevertheless, it seems that although the way Africa is perceived and talked about has changed from "world with still much strife and conflict", "world where poverty is widespread and diseases run wild" and "world with rampant human rights violations" to a "rich market", it seems there is still not much interest in the lives of the people, the individuals who live there.

To make Africa closer, to try and look into its problems directly, the Research Center for Ars Vivendi so far has organized a total of ten seminars on Africa. We have invited various speakers, who could offer insight into the various aspects of the four research themes of the Research Center for Ars Vivendi, that is, disability, aging, illness, and differences, and held lecture meetings that shed light on the hardships and problems faced by people in Africa, the continent's arts and its amazing wisdom and practices. A number of papers and essays collected in this special issue are based on the lectures read in these seminars.

When we try to see the problems of disability, aging, illness, and differences in Africa directly, as if we were talking to the people in Africa face to face, sometimes the gap between us, Japanese on the one hand and Africa or its particular ethnic groups on the other emerges wide and almost insurmountable, and sometimes it vanishes like thin mist. As you will find reading the papers in this issue, people with the very same disabilities, same illnesses, or the elderly in Africa where the state social security system is not functioning sufficiently live very different lives compared to their counterparts in Japan. However, at the same time, Africans and Japanese with the same illnesses need to deal with similar problems and sometimes have more similarities in the way of thinking between them as compared with the others living in the same area. And exactly because we are so similar and, at the same time, so very much different from each other, by looking at each other's practices we can get hints about how to better forge our lives.

That is why we want people not connected in any way to the African studies, those who do not work there, to also come and participate in our seminars. In order to bring Africa closer, we simply cannot do without participation of people, who are interested not in Africa per se but in the people who live there, participants who can traverse the boundaries of regions and citizenships and actively engage in exchanges of ideas, discussions regarding the actual lives and pursuits made on the grass-root level.

I still believe that Africa is a frontier. However, that does not mean that it is a world to be newly developed, or an economy to be invested into. When I say it is a frontier, I mean that I have great hopes that in some ways Africa is in the forefront of concepts and practices, in the forefront of our future. Even if you do not agree with me, even if you fail to see what Africa can teach us, please give us the benefit of doubt and come to one of our seminars.

Lastly, on behalf of the organizers of these seminars, I would like to again express my deepest gratitude to all those who delivered the lectures, those who helped to organize them, and those who participated in them as audience.

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