Accepted paper:

Vulnerability and maleness in old age: a study of lived experiences of elderly widowers in Southwest Nigeria


Babatunde Omotosho (Federal University Oye-Ekiti)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the intersection of masculinity with later year's experiences of selected elderly widowers in southwest Nigeria.

Paper long abstract:

Maleness appears to be a lifelong status. This study explored the experiences, lifestyles and coping mechanisms of elderly widowers in selected communities in southwest Nigeria. Ethnographic data for this study was collected through in-depth interview and observation methods from aged widowers from ages 65 and above in three selected communities in Ekiti south west Nigeria. Findings revealed that over two third of the respondents have stayed without their spouses for a minimum of 10 years. A bulk of the respondents find it challenging without their spouses; a majority of the respondents attributed some of the challenges they face to loneliness and absence of somebody to prepare meals for them; others attributed it to lack of funds to meet their immediate needs, partial or complete loss of sight, strength and public embarrassment. On why they have not remarried; some of the respondents claimed they were willing to remarry and have made efforts in this regard without any success; the rest of the respondents however were not willing to remarry due to the challenges of meeting the cost of remarriage, lack of sexual urge and insistence of their children not to remarry. Findings on how they survive and cope with the challenges revealed that more than a half of the respondents depend on their children, siblings and well-wishers for support; while some visit public/market square, friends/families and religious places for relaxation. Elderly widowers face difficult experiences and not much attention has been focused on this powerless group.

panel Anth36
Aspiring men: disrupting the narrative of African masculinity in crisis