Performance of the Biblical Book of Ruth as a Means Towards Trauma-healing: an Empirical Study from Cote D’Ivoire

  • June Dickie SIL Int.; UKZN
  • Lynell Zogbo SATS; UBS


In the past two decades, the Bete people, along with all the populations of Côte d’Ivoire, have experienced two painful civil wars, leading many to experience various kinds of physical and emotional trauma. To help them in their vulnerability, we organised a one week seminar which sought to take advantage of this ethnic’s group love of song and dance to address the needs of a limited group of women (of varying ages and backgrounds). We wished to see how arts and performance (music, dance and drama), combined with exposure to a specific biblical book, could contribute to the women’s healing and ignite hope.

The book of Ruth was chosen as our focus because of its strong message of God’s hesed (loyalty and love), its many parallels to Bete culture, and the various points of connection (story line and main characters) which the text provides. While in alignment with many theoretical constructs of trauma-healing, our study suggests that an indirect, less intrusive approach to trauma healing can have very positive results.