Original Research

Restriction of burial rites during the COVID-19 pandemic: An African liturgical and missional challenge

Hundzukani P. Khosa-Nkatini, Peter White
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6756 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6756 | © 2021 Hundzukani P. Khosa-Nkatini, Peter White | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 April 2021 | Published: 27 August 2021

About the author(s)

Hundzukani P. Khosa-Nkatini, Unit for Reformational Theology and Development of South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Peter White, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Burial rites are very common among many Africa communities. In the African context, burials are not the end of life but rather the beginning of another life in the land of the ancestors. In spite of the importance of the African funeral rites, the missional role of the church in mourning and the burial of the dead in the African communities, the COVID-19 pandemic led protocols and restrictions placed a huge challenge on the African religious and cultural practices.

Contribution: In the light of the above-named challenges, the article discusses the religious-cultural effect of the pandemic with special focus on the African liturgical and missiological challenges in the context of the COVID-19 restrictions on funerals and burial rites.


lockdown; burial rites; African; pastoral practices; COVID-19; church; liturgy; funeral; mission


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1. The agency of the church during COVID-19 and beyond: Koinonia and ubuntu in the context of poverty and unemployment in South Africa
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doi: 10.4102/hts.v78i4.7414