Understanding, interpretation and expression of spirituality and its influence on care and wellbeing : an explorative case study of a South African indigenous community

Ohajunwa, Chioma Ogochukwu (2019-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : With the historical entrance of western spirituality and healthcare into Africa, and the philosophical frameworks they embody, tensions have been created within South African indigenous contexts that impact negatively on the social determinants of health and community wellbeing. Indigenous South African communities assert that western healthcare and spirituality have sidelined their indigenous spiritual practices. This sidelining has created divisions within the community which have informed this case study and the need to explore spiritual understandings that contribute to a collective wellbeing for this community. This study is focused on exploring the ways that indigenous communities understand, interpret and express their spirituality and how these ways of seeing spirituality influence care and wellbeing. The study also aims to explore what factors can contribute to building a collective spirituality framework that contributes to community wellbeing. The study is positioned within a constructivist interpretive paradigm using an exploratory ethnographic case study approach. Data-gathering methods include focus group discussions, observations, one-on-one in-depth interviews, opportunistic conversations (Chilisa, 2012), journaling and photography. Purposive sampling with n=52 study participants from the four Gusi village clusters of the Elliotdale district in the Eastern Cape was carried out. An analytical strategy of theoretical propositions (Yin, 2009) stemming from the guiding proposition and research questions guided the analysis. The Bomvana communities understand spirituality as a multi-level process that involves caring relationships within all of nature. These understandings are influenced by history, context and access to spiritual resources to position the four communities within the subliminal, liminal and supraliminal spaces on a continuum of wellbeing, supporting cultural disruption or supporting cultural continuity to influence wellbeing. The first community still resides within the ideal spirituality space at the start of the continuum although it is beginning to move towards the liminal space, while the other three communities have moved on the continuum into the liminal spirituality space. The communities are experiencing tensions and a lack of wellbeing due to the different ways of expressing their spiritualities. Narratives of participants regarding Ubuntu are utilised to build a thesis on an understanding of African Indigenous Transcultural Spirituality to inform wellbeing. This concept is proposed as a collective spirituality framework that has the potential to support a community-led approach when engaging with African indigenous communities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Met die historiese invloed van die westerse spiritualiteit en gesondheidsorg, asook die filosofiese raamwerk waarin dit voorkom, het heelwat spanning ontstaan binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks wat ‘n negatiewe impak op hul sosiale bepalings van gesondheid en gemeenskapswelstand gehad het. Etniese Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskappe beweer dat die Westerse gesondheidsorg en spiritualiteit die etniese spirituele praktyke gesystap het. Dit het verdeeltheid binne die gemeenskappe veroorsaak wat die nodigheid bepaal het om hierdie gevallestudie te ondersoek om sodoende meer begrip te hê van hoe spiritualiteit tot ‘n holistiese welstand van die gemeenskap kan bydra. Met hierdie studie, is gefokus om maniere te vind hoe die etniese gemeenskappe hul spiritualiteit sal verstaan, interpreteer en ook uiting daaraan gee. Daar is ook gepoog om faktore te ondersoek wat kan bydra tot die uitbreiding van ‘n holistiese spirituele raamwerk wat die gemeenskappe se welstand kan bevorder. Die studie sal plaasvind binne ‘n konstruktiewe, interpreterende paradigma met ‘n etnografiese gevallestudie benadering. Inligting is verkry word deur besprekkings, waarneming en in diepte onderhoude, opportunistiese gespreksvoering (Chilisa, 2012) joernale en fotografie. Doelgerigte steekproewe is gedoen met 52 deelnemers van die vier Gusi groepe van Elliotdale distrik in die Oos-Kaap. Analitiese strategieë van teoritiese stellings (Yin,2009) wat gegrond is op leidrade en navorsingsvrae is gebruik. Die Bomvana gemeenskappe verstaan dat spiritualiteit ‘n proses is wat verskeie vlakke insluit en dat dit gebaseer is op verskeie verhoudings tussen alles en almal in die natuur. Hierdie begrippe word beïnvloed deur geskiedenis, konteks en toegang tot geestelike hulpbronne om die vier gemeenskappe binne die subliminale, liminale en supraliminale ruimtes op 'n kontinuum van welsyn te plaas, kulturele ontwrigting te ondersteun of om kulturele kontinuïteit te ondersteun om welstand te beïnvloed. Die eerste gemeenskap woon steeds binne die ideale geestelike ruimte aan die begin van die kontinuum alhoewel dit die begin is om in die rigting van die liminale ruimte te beweeg terwyl die oorblywende drie gemeenskappe reeds aanbeweeg het op die kontinuum na die liminale spirituele ruimtes. Die gemeenskappe ondervind spanning en ‘n te kort aan welstand as gevolg van die verskillende wyses waarop hulle uiting gee aan hul spiritualiteit. Vertelings van die deelnemers met betrekking tot Ubuntu word gebruik om ‘n tesis te skryf oor etniese Afrika transkulturele spiritualiteitsbegrip om welstand uit te lig. Hierdie konsep word voorgestel as ‘n holistiese spiritualiteitsraamwerk wat die potensiaal het om ‘n gemeenskapsgedrewe benadering te ondersteun wanneer daar interaksie met die etniese Afrika gemeenskappe is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105990
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