Challenges confronting infertile couples in Africa : a pastoral care approach

Yusuf, Philemon Tagwai (2018-11)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the light of scriptural understanding, children are a gift from God. Although some may choose not to have children (mostly in the Western world), others desire children more than any other thing, especially in African cultures. This desire is due to cultural emphasis on child bearing, which results from diverse reasons. One of these reasons is the agrarian nature of most African societies, as children can serve as a workforce without the need for labourers to be hired and paid. Another reason is the economic security that parents derive from having children because of the prevalence of poverty, stemming from corruption, among other social vices, in most African countries. Because of the cultural emphasis on child bearing, infertile couples are regarded as unproductive members of society. In view of the high premium placed on child bearing in Africa, as highlighted above, and in view of the way in which infertile couples are treated, besides other challenges that they face in their daily living, it can be said that children are the focus of marriage in African cultures. This is underscored by the definition of adulthood in such cultures: the ability to bear children. The attainment of adulthood can therefore be barred by infertility, culturally speaking, and a man or a woman can be derogatively referred to as a boy or a girl. This leads to people being denied their full personal and human dignity. This thesis argues that, among other challenges confronting infertile couples in Africa, they are also confronted with a set of quadruple challenges in their everyday lives, namely Cultural, Social, Psychological and Medical/Economical challenges. In view of these challenges, pastoral caregivers can help such individuals with sound biblical support and guidance on how to weather these challenges that are with a stable faith in God rather than in people or even in themselves.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Op grond van Skriftuurlike interpretasie is kinders ‘n gawe van God. Alhoewel sommige mense dalk verkies om nie kinders te hê nie (meestal in die Westerse wêreld), begeer andere kinders meer as enigiets anders, veral in die Afrikakulture. Hierdie begeerte is die gevolg van die kulturele klem op kinderbaring, wat uit verskeie redes voortspruit. Een van hierdie redes is die agrariese aard van die meeste Afrikasamelewings, aangesien kinders as ‘n werksmag kan dien sonder dat arbeiders gehuur en betaal moet word. Nog ‘n rede hiervoor is die ekonomiese sekuriteit wat ouers put uit die feit dat hulle kinders het, veral vanweë die voorkoms van armoede, wat die gevolg is van korrupsie en ander sosiale gebreke in die meeste Afrikalande. As gevolg van die kulturele klem op kinderbaring word onvrugbare paartjies as onproduktiewe lede van die samelewing beskou. In die lig van die hoë premie wat op kinderbaring in Afrika geplaas word, soos hierbo aangedui, en vanweë die manier waarop onvrugbare paartjies behandel word – dit is behalwe die ander uitdagings wat hulle in hul daaglikse lewe ervaar – kan daar gesê word dat kinders die fokus van die huwelik in Afrikakulture uitmaak. Dit word onderstreep deur sodanige kulture se definisie van volwassenheid: die vermoë om kinders te baar. Die bereiking van volwassenheid kan dus kultureel gesproke deur onvrugbaarheid gestrem word en daar kan op verkleinerende wyse na ‘n man of vrou as ‘n seun of dogter verwys word. Dit beteken dat mense hulle volle potensiaal en menswaardigheid ontsê word. Hierdie proefskrif redeneer dat te midde van ander uitdagings wat onvrugbare paartjies in Afrika in die gesig staar, sodanige paartjies in hulle daaglikse lewe ook gekonfronteer word deur ‘n viervoudige stel uitdagings, te wete kulturele, sosiale, sielkundige en mediese / ekonomiese uitdagings. Gegewe hierdie uitdagings kan pastorale versorgers sodanige individue bystaan met grondige Bybelse steun en leiding oor hoe om die uitdagings te bowe te kom, dit wil sê met ‘n bestendige geloof in God eerder as in mense of selfs in hulself.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105055
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