The challenges facing widows in African contexts: A literature review


  • Misheck Dube Department of Social Work, Faculty of Health Sciences, Lifestyle Diseases Entity, North-West University, South Africa



Challenges, widows, gender, culture, African context.


Widowhood in Africa presents unique challenges for women due to cultural and social factors. This paper discusses the challenges of widowhood in African contexts with a view that various social, cultural, legal, financial, and economic issues are at the centre of the challenges widows face in Africa. A thematic literature review was used to examine the multifaceted challenges faced by widows in African societies. Findings show that widows in Africa face multiple challenges, including limited healthcare access, property rights, social support, and harmful traditional practices, impacting their well-being across various dimensions. Cultural attitudes, legal barriers, resource constraints, limited awareness, and the complex interplay of these factors hinder effective interventions. The literature review also found that changing cultural norms, improving access to education and economic opportunities, and strengthening social protection systems are crucial steps towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for widows. The paper concludes that comprehensive and coordinated strategies are necessary to address these multifaceted challenges, including legal reforms, economic empowerment, awareness campaigns, and the provision of essential resources. Further, collaborative implementation of these strategies can promote gender equality, reduce poverty, and enhance the lives of widows in African countries. Further, there is a need for the urgency of comprehensive interventions and support systems to alleviate the hardships faced by widows in African societies.


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How to Cite

Dube, M. (2023). The challenges facing widows in African contexts: A literature review. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147- 4478), 12(7), 452–459.



Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences