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‘I want to go!’ How older people in Ghana look forward to death


Older people in a rural Ghanaian community indicated that they look forward to death. Traditional ideas of ancestorhood, reincarnation and modern Christian beliefs about life after death had little influence on their resignation. Images of a possible ‘hereafter’ hardly existed. Agnosticism – in a religious guise – prevailed. They saw death foremost as a welcome rest after a long and strenuous life. Their readiness for death did not, however, include an acceptance of euthanasia. Both the young and the old held the view that life and death are and should remain in God's hands. This article is based on anthropological fieldwork in the rural town of Kwahu-Tafo in southern Ghana.

Corresponding author
Sjaak van der Geest, Medical Anthropology Unit, University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, The Netherlands. e-mail:
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Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
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