Original Research - Special Collection: Religion and Theology and Constructions of Earth and Gender

Health determinants on healthy ageing in sub-Saharan Africa: A psychosocial and theo-gerontology

Tshenolo J. Madigele, Gift T. Baloyi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 3 | a8068 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i3.8068 | © 2023 Tshenolo J. Madigele, Gift T. Baloyi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 August 2022 | Published: 19 June 2023

About the author(s)

Tshenolo J. Madigele, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
Gift T. Baloyi, Department of Philosophy, Practical & Systematic Theology, Faculty of Humanities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


This article explored health determinants on successful, healthy ageing in sub-Saharan Africa, using the case of Ramotswa in Botswana. The study used contextual, descriptive and qualitative approaches. It also explored the integrative nature of determinants to healthy and successful ageing by examining the biopsychological and physiological challenges. The article made use of the pastoral theological approach in understanding the complexity of ageing and revealing solutions for mitigating the health challenges encountered by older persons. While the article was theological in its approach, it acknowledged the interconnectedness with other disciplines, such as sociology and psychology, as fundamental in dealing with this topic. The findings revealed the elderly caregivers’ need for emotional support. This study maintained that emotional support could minimise the burden on elderly caregivers, because reports during the study indicated that elderly caregivers experienced a mixture of emotions such as loneliness, frustration, anger, depression, guilt, anxiety, love, acceptance and warmth, which could have negative consequences on them.

Contribution: In conclusion, the article suggested that given the complexity of the understanding of successful and healthy ageing, as well as the integrative nature of determinants of successful ageing, it is crucial for caregivers and policymakers to avoid a blanket approach in dealing with elderly persons in a context of care.


health determinants; healthy ageing; sub-Saharan Africa; psycho-social; theological; gerontology; Botswana.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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