Original Research

Death in abundance versus life in abundance in the context of COVID-19 and poverty: A practical theological reflection on pastoral accompaniment during the grieving process

Olehile A. Buffel
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 46, No 1 | a156 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v46i1.156 | © 2022 Olehile A. Buffel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 March 2022 | Published: 26 October 2022

About the author(s)

Olehile A. Buffel, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is currently holding the whole world hostage. It has led to the death of millions accross the world and thousands in South Africa. On the surface, it looks like there is an abundance of death in contrast to an abundance of life. Many of those who have lost their loved ones are being left to grieve alone without appropriate pastoral accompaniment by their pastors and other trained pastoral caregivers. In this article, written from a practical theological perspective, it is argued that those who are grieving as a result of the loss of loved ones must be pastorally accompanied. Pastors should be empowered in order to journey with the grieving persons in the context of COVID-19 and poverty. They should also be empowered to equip others who join them in the responsibility of pastorally accompanying the grieving as they transition through various stages of grief. Pastoral accompaniment should happen with due recognition of the socioeconomic context of South Africa and the context in which traditional and cultural practices of Africans persist amid opposition from churches.

Contribution: This article, which is written from a practical theological perspective and using an interdisciplinary approach, contributes to discourse on pastoral care and particularly pastoral accompaniment of those who are going through various stages of grieving in the context of poverty and COVID-19.


COVID-19; poverty; pastoral accompaniment; death; grieving stages.


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