A pastoral evaluation of menopause in the African context
Menopause, with its physical and emotional changes, appears to be an inevitable road for women to travel. The moment of choice for women at menopause involves not only whether they will embrace the new self or try to cling to identities from earlier life but also how the society in which they live views women after menopause. Amongst other things, many African marriages face difficulties when the moment of menopause arrives. This situation is often characterised by a second marriage or a situation where husband and wife no longer share a room. Whenever this happens, it testifies to the idea that the sole purpose of marriage amongst African people is procreation – hence, when the period for that is passed, the bedroom setup changes. This is one of the ways in which senior women are deemed unfit for sexual encounters, a gender-equality concern. This article aims to unveil and discuss how some Africans use menopause as an excuse to exclude women from sexual intercourse, and how pastoral caregivers can help in such situations.