oa Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology - Of spirituality and poverty : a Zimbabwean cultural perspective

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1445-7377



This article, based on a desk study, connects African spirituality to the phenomenon of poverty and argues that mundane poverty alleviation strategies that ignore the cultural perspective of a people are doomed to fail, especially in the African context. Within this context, a domain such as transcendence is as 'real' to the people as the material world. This article delves into the alchemy of the traditions of African people from a Zimbabwean perspective in an attempt to understand some of the causes of poverty. The authors aver that development practitioners stand to gain if they take into account such (African) worldviews. The article shows that there is a disconnect between western culture and indigenous cultural beliefs and suggests that it is necessary to use phenomenological methods to unpack this disconnect because the spiritual world can support or limit the extent to which poverty alleviation programmes are effective. This means that the notion of development rooted in western knowledge frames may require opening discourses that imagine different social ontologies to find solutions in an (African) context. Thus, the challenge for phenomenologists is to research culturally-appropriate approaches to development using phenomenology.

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