Happiness scholarship has gained prominence in a number of disciplines over the last few decades, including economics and psychology. In South Africa, we have observed an uptick in happiness studies, but also that these studies are mostly using quantitative methodologies. What is missing in nearly all these studies are conceptualizations of happiness from African-centered decolonial psychological perspectives. The main objective in this article is to approach happiness from an African-centered decolonial psychological perspective. The article draws on data from a qualitative study which investigated happiness and gender equality amongst South African women. Convenience sampling was employed to recruit participants. Eleven qualitative individual interviews were conducted with key informants and three focus groups with women who shared their everyday lived experiences of happiness. We draw only from the individual interviews. The interviews were subjected to an adapted, theoretically driven thematic analysis informed by African-centered decolonial psychological interpretations. Whilst we identified four key themes, we report and discuss only two of these, namely: happiness as inter-connectedness and happiness as maintaining a balanced life. The perspective we adopt in this article offers an opportunity to unpack how happiness is inter-connectedness and how happiness is a balanced life. In enmeshing decolonial African-centered perspectives and African feminist psychology, it was possible to not only produce a more situated analysis of women’s happiness but also to center issues of gender and gender inequality within African-centered psychological thought. Potential directions for further contextual and transnational qualitative studies on happiness that incorporate African-centered decolonial perspectives are offered.
African psychology, happiness, inter-connectedness, South Africa, women, well-being
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Recommended APA Citation
Ratele, K., & Rustin, C. (2023). African-Centered Psychological Perspective on Happiness. The Qualitative Report, 28(10), 2936-2952. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2023.6681