Book Chapter

Witchcraft accusations and the social exclusion of the elderly in Northern Ghana: Understanding how cultural discourses and practices affect the wellbeing of the elderly

MG Mabefam, S Appau

Measuring, Understanding and Improving Wellbeing Among Older People | Published : 2020


This chapter examines the discourse on the relationship between culture and wellbeing of elderly persons, based on ethnographic study of accused witches in northern Ghana. The authors find that elderly people are mostly accused of witchcraft and are violently banished from their communities to live in witch camps; this has serious negative impacts on their wellbeing. The chapter therefore problematizes and examines the aspects of cultural practices and discourses that legitimize such ill-treatment of elderly persons. The authors also discuss implications for policy, government and other agencies working with the elderly to improve their wellbeing.

University of Melbourne Researchers