Active ageing with the African in mind: An interpretive phenomenological analysis
School of Arts and Humanities
This paper examines the contextual meaning of active ageing based on the lived experiences of older African people. The purpose is to determine the conceptual and theoretical fit between the experiential mean ing of active ageing and the model proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to demonstrate the relevance of context in adopting global policy frameworks to deal with human ageing. An interpretive phenomenological analysis of interview data from 30 participants shows that there are significant variations between the WHO model and lived experiences of active ageing. The paper argues that social interaction is the most critical component of active ageing, but has been weakly subsumed into the participation pillar of the WHO model. The paper further argues that while it is important to take into account other dimensions of action ageing, in Africa, efforts must be made to optimise social interaction by strengthening family systems and building community stru ctures that provide opportunities for an active, happy life at old age.