Indigenizing Social Work with Older People in Africa: Issues, Trends, and Implications for Practice

Chapter Authors: Wamara, K.C., Twikirize, J


In most African countries, few social work interventions with older people are deliberately, culturally, and locally relevant. Moreover, in instances in which locally and culturally relevant interventions have been applied, it has mostly been with children and women. Therefore, there is an urgent need for social work in Africa to indigenize social work with older people to counteract these modern challenges. This chapter explores the relevance of indigenizing social work with older people in the Global South. It is based on document analysis and the recent studies the first author has engaged in with both older people and social workers, especially concerning elder abuse. It is also based on the second author’s vast experience of over 15 years of teaching social work at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The chapter briefly interrogates the concept of “indigenous” as it relates to older people in Africa, contemporary issues of aging in Africa, current social work practices with older people, and indigenizing social work with older people. It concludes with practice implications for future culturally relevant gerontological social work practice in Africa.


University Researchers

  • Affiliation

    Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences