Home Institution

Bucknell University

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy

Abstract

Spiritual health is a vital component of individual wellness that can be described in many ways; most commonly, it is thought of as the connectivity of the inner spirit to others, the world, transcendental beings, and more. From personal experience, I know that the state of my spiritual wellbeing can greatly impact my physical and mental health. For this reason, actively considered how to think about spiritual health for one of the first times in my life.

This project sought to explore Zulu Christians’ approaches to spiritual health in concurrence with my own. This was done by interviewing one Swazi and eight Zulu Christians to hear narratives about spiritual health and how their relationships with God and/or ancestors affects their spirituality. My shared Christian identity with participants provided the opportunity to reflect deeply on my own personal spirituality and spiritual health in the form of an autoethnography.

This project showed me that spiritual health is a deeply personal experience. Rather than reading about extracted patterns or generalizations about Zulu Christians’ health, readers of this project are instead taken along on my journey through participant narratives to recognize my changing spiritual health and subsequently “find myself again.”

Disciplines

African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Religion

 

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