Review Article

Cultural religion and infertility in South Africa with particular focus on amaXhosa

Mlamli Diko
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 48, No 1 | a208 | DOI: | © 2024 Mlamli Diko | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 June 2023 | Published: 29 February 2024

About the author(s)

Mlamli Diko, Department of African Languages, School of Arts, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The challenge of women’s infertility in the South African context, particularly in rural communities, continues to be a plague because of cultural and religious systems that are interwoven in these communities. The amaXhosa ethnic group is no exception to this challenge given that it is profoundly rooted in its ethnological and religious belief systems. Nevertheless, the fair popularity of this conundrum does not denote that it is not a problem that compromises people’s welfare with major adversarial effects on women. Therefore, this article aims to conduct a scoping literature review to reflect on and explore the cultural and religious implications as well as intricacies of infertility among the amaXhosa ethnic group. The principal findings and discussions indicate that amaXhosa, specifically those that are deemed a couple, are compelled to bear children because of cultural and religious expectations that are further linked to societal expectations. On account of this, the principal arguments herein indicate the necessity to contest and examine how African religious systems, in the context of amaXhosa, configure the overall existence of many individuals, with special reference to issues of infertility.

Contribution: The scholarly significance of this article lies in the stimulation of ethnological and religious dialogues that pursue to serve as agents of social transformation in the South African context. In addition to this, the emphasis is on the existing gap that points out that some of the injustices that exist in today’s society are profoundly rooted in African culture and its religious facets.


culture; religion; infertility; amaXhosa; scoping literature review.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality


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