oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Health and ancestors : the case of South Africa and beyond

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



Ancestral belief is central to such an extent to the world view of many cultural groups in South Africa that it inevitably influences health matters. One thus cannot talk about health in South Africa without acknowledging the reality of ancestral belief. This paper explores the relationship between health and ancestors in the South African context, with various case studies presented to illustrate the experiential reality of this relationship and the significance of ritual practices in this regard. Pointing to both intra- and inter-cultural conflict in respect of these traditional practices, the paper concludes by emphasising the importance of promoting cross-cultural tolerance and respect for traditional beliefs and ritual practices among both adults and children.

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