AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Older persons' care as life care : a pastoral assessment of the ecclesia praxis within the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Africa

by Jacobus Johannes Carnow

Institution: Stellenbosch University
Department: Practical Theology
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Older people  – South Africa  – Social conditions; Older people  – Care  – South Africa; Blacks  – South Africa  – Social conditions; African Methodist Episcopal Church; UCTD
Record ID: 1419077
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96584


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is a pastoral care strategy for the affirmation of the dignity of the poor Black older persons. In this study there is a discussion of how the poor Black older persons suffered the defacement of their dignity under Apartheid and how to a large extent their dignity is still being defaced under the new democratic dispensation in South Africa. These poor Black older persons are victims of various forms of older person abuse. They experience the prejudice of ageism intensely as it is exacerbated by racism; and with no appropriate medical and health strategies in place to provide quality health care; and with inappropriate housing, social services, and residential care services, their dignity is denied. Due to past discriminatory laws and policies these vulnerable older persons suffer the consequences of low levels of formal education within an environment of engineered poverty and racial discrimination which made it impossible for them to enter into quality employment which would enable them to provide adequately for old age. The deprivation thus experienced made it difficult for them to flourish economically and otherwise. At present they are still marginalised and they experience intense forms of loneliness. These poor Black older persons continue to suffer humiliation and indignity in spite of legislation and policies purporting to ensure their well-being. Within a society embracing a neo-liberalist philosophy they are considered unimportant as they do not contribute productively to the economic well-being of the community and are therefore relegated to the lowest ranks of society. With the effacement of their dignity through socially constructed systems their human development is seriously hampered, resulting in a disintegration of human wholeness. The inequality that the poor Black older persons suffer is an indictment against humanity as these older persons have the right to feel at home on the planet. Due to the fact that they are not recognised as having been created in the image and likeness of God, their uniqueness and distinctness as human beings are denied, their identities distorted, and they are not considered worthy citizens. In order to affirm the dignity of the poor Black older persons a practical theological methodology as proposed by Osmer (2008) and consisting of four tasks, has been employed. The notion of a moral economy for the affirmation of the dignity of these poor Black older persons has been utilised. With the moral economy orientation linked with a Liberation Theology methodology the dignity of the poor Black older persons is affirmed as a personal attribute based on the older persons being a category of people being carried into old age by God, enjoying privileged positions of honour and respect, and being eschatological signs and symbols of God’s goodwill towards restored communities in Christ. Within a moral economy the values of reciprocity, responsibility, and interdependence are used to affirm the dignity of these older persons…