Volume 5, Issue 2, December 2013
Fainos Mangena, Ezra Chitando
Euthanasia and the experiences of the Shona People of Zimbabwe
In this paper, we critically reflect on the concept of Euthanasia as understood in the West and in Africa, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa. From the Western block, we rely on the contributions of Ronald Otremba and James Rachels. In our view, Otremba represents the Traditional Western view of euthanasia, which holds that life is sacrosanct and therefore ought not to be taken away for whatever reasons. Otremba’s defense of passive euthanasia over active euthanasia stems from this understanding. Rachels, on the other hand, does not see any morally significant difference between active and passive euthanasia, for the simple
reason that the result is the same - death. Next, as we examine the African view of euthanasia with special reference to Munyaradzi Mawere’s interpretation of the Shona position on it, we want to ascertain whether or not there is something that can be called African euthanasia, and if not, whether or not the understanding of euthanasia in Africa has Western roots.