Particip-active Musical Performance: Quality of Life at a Seniors’ Village in South Africa

  • Dawn Joseph
  • Caroline van NiekerkEmail author


With increasing life expectancy around the globe, both developed and developing countries face greater ageing populations. South Africa is no different as ageing impacts on quality of life. This paper situates itself within a wider study Spirituality and Well-being: Music in the community. It focuses on a mixed voice choir based in the Somerset West area (near Cape Town). The senior citizens in this choir are all ex-professional people bar one, almost all residing in this affluent retirement home. Using case study methodology and drawing on questionnaire data, we employ Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis as an analytical tool to code the data and report on these overarching themes: Sense of Community and Social Relationships, The Desire to Learn and Try New Things, and Creating New Spiritual Selves. Our findings show that through ‘particip-action’ and performance, in both formal and informal settings, participants have the opportunity to actively learn, experience and question their sense of spirituality, and engage in a leisure activity like singing which significantly contributes to their life quality. This case study adds to the wider body of research that promotes active participation for all seniors. In a country like South Africa, where there is much disparity between the haves and have nots, we argue that singing is an effective medium that may contribute to the lives of all seniors despite their financial background. As this is a small-scale study, a limitation in itself, generalization to other countries or communities cannot be made.


Leisure Quality of life Retirement Singing Spirituality 



The authors wish to thank Roy Page-Shipp for collating the questionnaire data for this case study. Roy was one of the researchers on the wider study Spirituality and Well-being: Music in the community in South Africa.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and EducationDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa

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