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1.1. Rationale and background
1.2. Problem statement
1.3. Overall purpose of the study
1.4. Objectives of the study
1.5. Key Questions
1.6. Underlying assumptions
1.7. Study location
1.8. Theoretical Framework
1.9. Research Methodology
1.10. Significance of the study
1.11. Dissertation outline
1.12. Definition of concepts
2.1. IMPACT OF APARTHEID ON PARENTING
2.2. LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
2.3. CULTURAL PRACTICES
2.4. CONSTRUCTIONS OF FATHERHOOD
2.5. CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED BY UNMARRIED FATHERS
3.1. RESEARCH PARADIGM
3.2. RESEARCH DESIGN
3.3. SAMPLING PROCEDURE
3.4. DATA COLLECTION
3.5. DATA ANALYSIS
3.6. TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE STUDY
3.7. ETHICAL ISSUES
3.8. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
4.1. SHORT PROFILE OF THE PARTICIPANTS.
4.2. DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS
4.3. FATHERS' CURRENT RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR CHILDREN
4.4. EXPERIENCES AND FACTORS INFLUENCING FATHER-CHILD INVOLVEMENT.
4.5. OWN FATHERHOOD EXPERIENCES AND VIEWS
5.1. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
5.2. MAIN FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
5.4. RECOMMENDATION FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
LIST OF TABLES: PAGE NUMBER
Table 4.1: Demographic data
Table 4.2: Fathers current relationships with their children
Table 4.3: Children’s current living arrangements
Table 4.4: Experiences and factors influencing father-child involvement
Table 4.5: Own fatherhood experiences and views
South Africa has a high number of unmarried and absentee fathers which includes young unmarried fathers. A number of factors have contributed to this phenomenon. For example, apartheid policies such as the migrant labour system has impacted on family structure. In addition, legislation which did not give any unmarried fathers automatic responsibilities and rights in respect of their children may have contributed towards the rate of absentee fathers. The new Children’s Act, which came into force in 2010 now provides for automatic responsibilities and rights for unmarried fathers who meet certain criteria. Unmarried fathers who have consented to be identified as the father and who have paid maintenance and cultural damages may now automatically acquire parental responsibilities and rights. This has the potential to significantly influence father-child relationships.
This study focused on young unmarried fathers’ who were aged between 18 to 29 years. It was designed to hear the voices of young men who are fathers residing in areas covered by the Hibiscus Coast Local Municipality. The main aim of the study was to explore young unmarried fathers’ experiences and perceptions of parenting their children. It sought to answer the following questions: what are young unmarried fathers’ current relationships with their children? What are the factors influencing child-father contact and involvement? What are unmarried fathers’ views of fatherhood?
A qualitative interpretive approach was used. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain information from nine young unmarried fathers. The research was guided by social constructionism theory. Purposive sampling was used in the selection of participants for this study.
Three participants were between the ages of 17-19 when they had their first child whilst six were between 20-24 years. Between them, they had a total number of fifteen children. However, only four of these children were living with their fathers. Cultural issues of damage payments; maternal and paternal family reactions and unemployment were factors which influenced father-child care, contact and involvement. Unemployment negatively affected young fathers since they were unable to pay child maintenance.
The young unmarried fathers’ views of fatherhood were consistent with the social construct of masculinity, which views fathers as providers, role models and breadwinners. However, the participants also acknowledged the importance of being emotionally available to their children through spending time together and showing love. Permanently co-residing with their own children was the desire of all the participants.
The recommendations include community awareness and education programs to respond to the high rates of teenage pregnancy in the area. Recommendations are also made in relation to social work services and legislation and policy changes.
Keywords: young unmarried fathers, perceptions of fatherhood, experiences of fatherhood
TO GOD ALMIGHTY, IT WAS ONLY THROUGH YOUR STRENGTH, GRACE AND PROVISION THAT I WAS ABLE TO COMPLETE THIS WHOLE STUDY.
I would like to send my sincere appreciation to the following people who made this research possible and successful;
My supervisor, Professor C. Matthias, thank you for your consistent support, guidance and care you always provided. Most importantly thank you for believing in me even during times when I had lost hope but you always said that I would be able to finish. May God Almighty bless you in every aspect of your life.
To all the UKZN social work team, thank you for your support and continuous encouragement.
To Makhanya’s family, Omnguni Ophakathwayo Oyeye;
My mother, Lindeni, you are a precious and gifted woman of God, thank you for always reminding me that God is with me.
My father, Mnguni, you are a good father. I do not wish to have any other father but you. Your love, care, and willingness to always provide drove me this far.
My precious brother, Bheki, thank you for financial, social and academic support. Whenever I shouted for help, you were always available and willing to help. Not leaving your fiancé, Ntombikhona Tshabala. Thank you for your social and emotional support.
To all my precious sisters and my brothers (Zamokwakhe, Nokuthula, Nokwanda, Nondumiso and Nduduzo), thank you for your support and taking care of uMqobi during my study period.
To Mqobi Makhanya, my handsome son, thank you for giving mummy the opportunity to complete this research.
I would also like to send my appreciation to Emfuleni Missions Church team for the support.
To all my friends (Fezeka, Thando, Nondumiso, Lindani, Nsizwazonke, Siyabonga, Liberty, Hloniphile, Sharone, Thomas, Sibonisile and cohort team) thank you for mutual support.
To Gladys Nkareng Klaas-Makolomakwe, thank you for taking your time to proofread and made valuable comments to my thesis.
I dedicate this thesis to Mqobi, my son. God has “good plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). You cannot be the author of your background, but by trusting God in the name of Jesus Christ you can be the author of your future. God himself brought you on Earth, not myself or the man who was supposed to be your father, therefore never think you need anyone beside your God. You will always be next to my heart, you always bring joy and laughter when you ask me challenging questions that sometimes I am unable to answer, and you will laugh at me, and before I even try to answer you will suddenly say, “Mtebi ngicela ungiphe uR1 ngifuna ukuyothenga”.
I love you Toto.
To all fatherless children and young unmarried single mothers.
Embrace the victory and strength that God has given you and lean on him at all times.
To all unmarried fathers, showing commitment and interest over your children is more than financial provision.
INTRODUCTION AND STUDY ORIENTATION
In this chapter, the rationale and background for the research and problem statement are discussed. Secondly, the main aim of the research, research objective, key questions, location, assumptions and significance of the study are described. Thirdly, the theoretical framework that was used in conducting the study is discussed and lastly, the summary of research methodology is clarified.
South Africa has a high number of unmarried fathers and the second highest rate of absentee fathers in the world, especially black African men (Spjeldnaes, Moland, Harris and Sam, 2011; Swart, Bhana, Richter and Versfeld, 2013; Swartz and Soudan, 2015). According to Meintjes, Hall and Sambu (2015), the children living with their fathers are about 3.3% in comparison to about 39.5% of those living with their mothers and 34.7% living with both parents in South Africa. In KwaZulu-Natal, a slightly higher proportion (4.3%) of children lives with their fathers only whilst 43.8% live with their mothers only (Meintjes et al., 2015). In a study conducted by Holborn and Eddy (2011) in Soweto and Johannesburg, only 20% of fathers who were not married to their children’s mothers at the time of their birth were still in contact with their children by the time they were 11 years old. The information on South African fathers shows that between 1996 and 2009 the percentage of fathers who were absent whilst alive increased from 42% to 48% and the proportion of fathers who were present decreased from 49% to 36% (Holborn and Eddy, 2011). Bronte and Horowitz (2010) are of the view that non-marital child bearing leads to lack of co-parenting (mother and father); hence the high number of absent fathers.
According to Ramphele and Richter (2006), apartheid policy is a contributing factor in premature fatherhood and absent father-child relationships being experienced in the country. During apartheid and its labour migrant system, men and fathers had to leave their families to work in other places (Holborn and Eddy, 2011; Madhavan, Richter and Norris, 2014). The absence of fathers in families resulted in young boys taking on fatherhood roles at a young age (Richter and Morell, 2006). Impregnating a girl became one of the important stages of transition from boyhood to manhood (Ramphele and Richter, 2006; Wambugu, 2007). As a result, immature young men entered into manhood, which increased the high rate of young unmarried fathers (Hosegood and Madhavan, 2012). Legislation has also contributed to the number of absentee fathers. In terms of the Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act 86 of 1997, unmarried fathers did not obtain automatic responsibilities and rights in respect of their children. Fathers had to apply to the courts to obtain parenting rights. However, the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, which came into force in 2010, now provides for unmarried fathers who have contributed towards the payment of maintenance and who have paid cultural damages to automatically acquire parental responsibilities and rights (Section 21). Fathers who have not acquired automatic responsibilities and rights may acquire these by agreement with the mother or through the courts (Sections 23 and 24; Bonthuys, 2006). The new provisions in the Children’s Act have thus made it easier for unmarried fathers to acquire parental responsibilities and rights.
Since the Children’s Act has come into force, there have been a number of quantitative and qualitative studies on unmarried fathers and their parental responsibilities and rights. For example, Hosegood and Madhavan (2012) reported on a birth cohort study in Soweto, Johannesburg. Based on the same cohort study, Madhavan, Richter and Norris (2014) also reported on father contact following union dissolution. Ratele, Shefer and Clows (2012) conducted a study in the Western Cape critically examining men’s constructions and experiences of fatherhood and fatherlessness. In addition, Lesch and Kelapile (2015) conducted a study in Pretoria, about fatherhood experiences of unmarried men.
Swart and Bhana (2009) point out the death of literature that focuses specifically on the experiences of young fathers. According to Tuffin, Roach and Frewin (2010) literature on parenthood has paid minimal attention to adolescent fathers. Similarly, Lesch, Kelapile (2015) identified a gap in research focusing exclusively on young fathers. Therefore, this study aims to add to the body of literature on young unmarried fathers (ages 18 to 29) in South Africa. It explored their experiences of parenting their children and their perceptions of fatherhood. The need to hear the voices of men has been made by South African scholars. Luchtmeyer (2015:110), for example, has called for more researchers to focus on men in order “to hear the stories men and fathers have to share…”
In view of the above-mentioned problem statement, the main aim of the study was to understand young unmarried fathers’ experiences and perceptions of fatherhood.
To explore young unmarried fathers’ current relationships with their children.
To understand factors influencing father-child care, contact and involvement .
To explore young unmarried fathers’ views of fatherhood.
What are unmarried fathers’ current relationships with their children?
What are the factors influencing father-child care, contact and involvement?
What are unmarried fathers’ views of fatherhood?
Young unmarried fathers have limited contact with their children.
Unmarried fathers’ level of contact with their children is determined by their ability to pay cultural damages, the attitude of the maternal family and their relationships with the mothers.
Unmarried fathers and paternal families have limited powers of decision-making over their children.
Young unmarried fathers do not contribute to child maintenance due to unemployment and poverty.
The study was located in the Hibiscus Coast local municipality, which falls under the Ugu District in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The Hibiscus Coast municipality is about 837 square kilometres (Mkhize, 2012) consisting of different local councils.
The municipality has a population of 256135 (Ugu District, 2012). It is dominated by black Africans at just over 82% and Whites almost 11%. The municipality has a 74% unemployment rate between ages 15-35 (Hibiscus Coast Draft IDP, 2015/2016) and 10 619 people live in extreme poverty (UGu District, 2012; Guyot, 2012).
The Hibiscus Coast municipality also has high teenage pregnancy rates, absentee fathers and female headed households, as well as a large number of vulnerable and affected children (Mkhize, 2012).
Social constructionism was used as the theoretical framework for this study. Social constructionism is a theory that explores how individuals create knowledge, make sense of the world around them and construct reality and a view of themselves (Berger and Luckman, 1966; Young and Collin, 2004; Creswell, 2007; Teater, 2010; Andrews, 2012). In addition, in this theory, there is neither objective reality nor objective truth reality, but reality is constructed from one’s experience and perception (Mavingira, 2012; Teater, 2010). Therefore, it regards individuals as connected to cultural, political and historical immersion (Gergen, 1999; Creswell, 2007). Moreover, this theoretical framework anticipates that a great deal of life exists due to social and interpersonal influences (Gergen, 1999; Burr, 1995). This means that through interactions and relationships with others, individuals construct their beliefs and knowledge.
Social constructionism considers people as being influenced by their social world (interaction and interconnectedness) (Andrews, 2012). In this study, young unmarried fathers were seen as the products of history, culture and politics, therefore their perceptions and experiences of fatherhood were influenced by these factors. Social constructionism as a theory of human behaviour and social systems within social work (Hare, 2004) has provided a better understanding of how young unmarried fathers construe their social world.
Burr (1995:2), Young and Collin (2004) and Teater (2010), all agree that social constructionism requires a critical engagement with the following broad concepts: “a critical stance on taken for granted knowledge; historical and cultural specificity; knowledge as sustained by social process; knowledge and social action as going together; and language as a form of interaction”. It is noted that these broad concepts of social constructionism are related to one another. When authors talk of “critical stance on taken for granted knowledge” (Burr, 1995:2; Teater, 2010) it means we need to take a “suspicious and unbiased” stance and observation of our social world, because it creates our reality and understanding of the world around us (the way we make sense of ourselves and what we see). Therefore, unmarried fathers’ perceptions of fatherhood are influenced by their stance and observation of the world around them and that stance and observation are historical and culturally specific (Burr, 1995; Young and Collin, 2004). Thus, history and culture have constructed young unmarried fathers’ experiences and perceptions of fatherhood.
Social constructionism further suggests that the knowledge we attain from our history and culture is “sustained by social processes” (Burr, 1995:2; Teater, 2010). Thus, what we perceive as truth is not based on an objective reality of the world, but on social processes, that is daily interactions of people based on their history and culture (Burr, 1995). Burr (1995:13) further argued that, we are born into a world where “framework and categories of culture already exist, and [are] reproduced” everyday by everyone sharing the same language and culture. Language is thus a straight forward communication of thoughts and therefore language is a form of social action, focusing on interactions and social practices (Burr, 1995). For example, interviews were used in this study to understand how young unmarried fathers constructed their reality, based on their history, culture and social processes.
In summary, social constructionism is the theory that “values each person’s reality as uniquely shaped by his/her environment, culture, society, history and developmental processes and cognitions”, as suggested by Teater (2010:83). Using this theoretical framework, in conjunction with my experience as a social worker, the participants’ version of reality was explored and an attempt was made to understand this reality through dialogue and use of participants’ language of communication. Teater (2010) also emphasises the importance of using dialogue and participants’ language when trying to understand their reality. This theory, since it emphasised the participants’ unique understanding and experiences based on their own specific culture and history, as suggested by Teater (2010), encouraged engagement with the participants and challenged me to put all assumptions aside when conducting the interviews.
The research methodology is discussed in detail in chapter three of this report. A brief summary is provided here. This study adopted a qualitative paradigm, using a descriptive research design. Non-probability, snowball and purposive sampling techniques were used. The sample comprised of nine participants aged 18 to 29. The data was collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews and analysed through thematic content analysis.
This study will add to the body of literature on unmarried fathers in South Africa because it provides an understanding of the local experiences and perceptions of fatherhood. The knowledge gained from the study can be used by policy makers and government in formulating relevant policies. Egger (2012) found that social sciences research can help in reforming sectors that are critical by identifying challenges and providing possible solutions for socio-economic issues. Therefore, social workers and other community workers can also use this local experience and understanding for proper service delivery. In addition, the study will provide young unmarried mothers, families and community members with information and understanding of the experiences and perceptions of young unmarried fathers, which might challenge or eliminate the biases, stereotypes and suspicions around young unmarried fathers’ experiences of parenting their children.
Chapter 1: In chapter one of this study the context, the problem statement, the research aim and objectives and the key questions are provided. The theoretical framework guiding the study is also discussed.
Chapter 2: This is the literature review chapter covering the following major sections: impact of apartheid on parenting; legislative framework; constructions of fatherhood and challenges faced by young unmarried fathers.
Chapter 3: This is the methodology chapter which includes the research paradigm; research design; sampling procedure; data collection and analysis; ethical issues and study limitations.
Chapter 4: This chapter provides the analysis of research findings and discussion. The findings are analysed under the following themes: young unmarried fathers’ current relationship with their children; experiences during pregnancy and factors influencing father-child involvement; and own fatherhood experience.
Chapter 5: Chapter five focuses on the conclusions and recommendations.
The following key concepts, which are used in this dissertation, are defined below and will be further discussed in chapter two.
Care is defined in section 1 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 as providing a suitable place for the child to live; promoting the child’s well-being and upbringing; securing the child’s education; maintaining sound relationships with the child and accommodating the special needs of the child (Section 1). Therefore, in summary, care is providing for the daily needs of the child such as clothes, food and a place to live.
Contact is defined in the Children’s Act as maintaining a relationship with the child. If the child lives with someone else it means maintaining communication with the child through visits or being visited by the child or communication through post, telephone/any other electronic communication means (Section 1).
Guardianship relates to the legal duties concerning the child such as management of the child’s property, application for a passport, consent to adoption, marriage and medical treatment and surgical operations (Section 18). The responsibilities and rights of a guardian are to administer and safeguard the child’s property and interest (Children’s Act Section 18(3)).
The focus of this chapter was on outlining the background, aim and objectives of the study. As shown in the problem statement there is a high number of unmarried fathers in South Africa. This might be influenced by the legislative framework and apartheid policies. In addition, the problem statement has shown the limited literature focusing on young fathers’ experiences of parenting their children. Thus, the chapter clarified the aim of the study as focussing on young unmarried fathers’ experiences and perceptions of fatherhood. In the next chapter the reviewed literature is discussed.
This literature review chapter is divided into five sections. The first section focuses on the impact of apartheid on parenting, followed by a discussion of the legislative framework. The third part focusses on cultural practices and fourthly, the section on constructions of fatherhood. The chapter concludes by discussing the challenges faced by young unmarried fathers.
As noted in Chapter 1, apartheid policies have affected fatherhood in South Africa. The apartheid was a racial segregation system in South Africa that was enforced through legislation by the National Party from 1948 to 1994 (Amoateng and Richter, 2007; Welsh, 2009). Apartheid legislation and policies separated fathers from children and fathers from their families in different ways (Posel and Devey, 2006). In this section, there is firstly a discussion on the migrant labour system, where fathers had to leave their families to work in the mines and the impact of this on the father-child relationship. Secondly, the restriction of movement of black people which led to separation of families is discussed.
2.1.1. Migrant labour system
During the apartheid era, families were affected by the migrant labour system, forced removals, men being disempowered and uprooted from their families and children (Mkhize, 2006; Madhavan, Richter and Norris, 2014). Migrant labourers were taken away from their areas after the discovery of diamonds in 1867 in Kimberly and later to work in the mines in Johannesburg (Mathabane, 2002; Wilson, 2006). The migrant labour system affected families in many ways (Ramphele and Richter, 2006; Swartz, Bhana, Richter and Versfeld, 2013). It took fathers away from their children (Lesejane, 2006). Fathers only visited during certain times of the year, leaving mothers as pillars of the family (Ngobeni, 2006). Underground work was mainly done by men, leaving women and children behind, which resulted in families being separated (Sutter, 2007).
The role of fatherhood was often fulfilled by grandfathers (Ramphele and Richter, 2006). Sutter (2007) highlighted that colonialism and apartheid did not give African men the opportunity to practice fatherhood such as providing and being available for their children and families. Mchunu (2007) also noted that apartheid affected the importance of father-child interaction, through father-family separation. This is one of the reasons, Richter and Morell (2006) and Adonis (2014) are of the view that the migrant labour system created segregation in families since fathers were only allowed to visit their families once a year. Therefore, it can be said that apartheid had a significant impact on family separation and lack of father-child contact in South African families.
2.1.2. Restriction of Movement
Apart from the migrant labour system, the apartheid policy of pass laws (internal passport system design) restricted movement, led to a segregated population and migrant labourers (Savage, 1986). The pass laws restricted the movement of black families, forcing them to settle in underdeveloped areas (Wilson, 2006; Richter and Morell, 2006). The restriction of movement of African people was also implemented through the Group Areas Act of 1951 (Mathabane, 2002). In terms of this Act, certain areas were demarcated for occupation by particular racial groups. African men and fathers were only allowed to move for work purposes. This resulted in forced removals and resettlements which destroyed the extended family web of support (Ngobeni, 2006; Wilson, 2006). The restrictions also prohibited children from visiting their fathers in the mines since African children did not have permits allowing them to be in white areas (Lockhat and Niekerk, 2000; Barbarin and Richter, 2001).
Families have not been stable in South Africa due to apartheid and migration (Ngobeni, 2006). Ramphele and Richter (2006), Richter and Morrell (2006) and Holborn and Eddy (2011:3) have all pointed out that “households and families were harassed and torn apart by restrictions on people’s movement and poverty”. Similarly, other authors have argued that the oppression of families, and the fragmented social environment was the result of restrictions and migration (Amoateng and Richter, 2007; Hosegood and Madhavan, 2012). As a result, in many cases the emotional and psychological availability of fathers to their children was never fulfilled (Posel and Devey, 2006; Ramphele and Richter, 2006; Corrigall, 2007). This resulted in young African teenagers growing up in fragmented conditions due to lack of father support (Ramphele and Richter, 2006; Allen and Daly, 2007; Hosegood and Madhavan, 2012). This was a human rights violation and African family breakdown in South Africa (Wilson, 2001; Hunter, 2006).
Aside from migration and restriction of movement, some children were also separated from their fathers who were imprisoned for political reasons or in exile. Sutter (2007) provides the example of the experience of a young man whose father was imprisoned for political reasons when he was young and the first time he saw him was on the parade ground during inspection (prison).
Based on the above discussion, it is clear that apartheid policies have negatively influenced South African families by discouraging the development of father-family bonds. This may account for the current high rate of absentee fathers.
In this section of the legislative framework, the South African Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act 86 of 1997 will first be discussed to provide the historical context followed by a discussion on the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Thirdly, the constitutional and gender discourses are discussed with regards to legislated fathers’ responsibilities and rights. The section is concluded by comparing the South African legislative provisions on unmarried fathers’ responsibilities and rights with Kenya, England and Uganda.
2.2.1. The Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act
In terms of the Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act 86 of 1997, unmarried fathers had no automatic parental rights (Bonthuys, 2006). In terms of this Act, unmarried fathers could apply to the courts for access, custody or guardianship rights. In consideration of the application, the court considered the relationship of the father with the mother and the child and the father’s fulfillment of maintenance obligations (Section 5 (e)).
According to Bonthuys (2006), this legislation did not support unmarried fathers’ automatic parental rights to custody, access and guardianship of their children. This legislation may therefore have contributed towards the high rate of absentee fathers, since a court application was required. The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 repealed the Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act. The new Children’s Act, which came into force in 2010 now provides for automatic responsibilities and rights for unmarried fathers who meet certain criteria, as discussed below.
2.2.2. The Children’s Act 38 of 2005
In terms of the Children’s Act all mothers, whether married or unmarried have automatic parental responsibilities and rights (Section 19). However, the Act distinguishes between married and unmarried fathers (Sections 20 and 21; Beyl, 2013; Dhever and Ngwenya, 2015). Whilst all married fathers have automatic responsibilities and rights (Section 20) only some categories of unmarried fathers who meet certain criteria have automatic responsibilities and rights.
In terms of Section 21 (1) (a), biological unmarried fathers may automatically acquire full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child if they were living with the mother in a permanent life-partnership at the time of the child’s birth. In addition, an unmarried father who has consented to be identified as the father and who has paid maintenance and cultural damages can automatically acquire parental responsibilities and rights (Section 21 (b)). Child maintenance has to be paid, whether the biological unmarried father has or has not been granted full parental responsibilities and rights (Section 21 (2)). In the event of a dispute between a biological mother and the father on whether the father has fulfilled these requirements, the case must be referred for mediation to a social worker or any other qualified person (Section 21 (3)).
In terms of Section 22, an unmarried father who does not have automatic parental responsibilities and rights can enter into an agreement with whoever has parental responsibilities and rights with regard to a child. This agreement must be in the best interests of the child. The agreement must be registered with the family advocate or made an order of the high court or children’s court to have legal effect (Bosman and Corrie, 2010). A father who does not have automatic parental responsibilities and rights and who did not enter into agreement with the mother can apply to court (Section 23 and 24; Bosman and Corrie, 2010). In terms of Section 23, a father can apply to the high court or children’s court for parental responsibility and rights in relation to care and contact. However, regarding guardianship he can only apply to the high court (Section 24).
There have been a number of criticisms of the above provisions of the Children’s Act. For example, the definition of permanent life partnership is not provided (Shafer, 2011; Beyl, 2013; South African Law Reform Commission, 2016). In addition, the concepts “good faith” and “reasonable period” do not provide clarity on what it is that the unmarried father should do in fulfillment of these criteria (Beyl, 2013; SDI v KLVC, 2013). Therefore, the Act needs to be more specific to avoid disputes among unmarried parents concerning the father’s fulfillment of these criteria. Another problem which might contribute to disputes is that unmarried fathers with automatic responsibilities and rights are not given a certificate or document as proof that they have rights (Beyl, 2013).
The South African Consolidated Amendments Report (15 July 2013) recommends that there must be a process where an unmarried father is provided with a certificate or document as proof that he has acquired responsibilities and rights. The South African Law Reform Commission (2016) identified the need for a certificate in three situations. Firstly, in situations where there is no dispute but the certificate is issued as proof. Secondly, in situations where there is a dispute among unmarried parents, but they are both willing to have mediation. A certificate then needs to be issued if the mediation is successful. Thirdly, where an unmarried mother is not willing to engage in mediation and the unmarried father approaches the office of the Family Advocate.
In the discussion above, reference was made to parental responsibilities and rights. According to the Children’s Act a person can have full or specific parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child (Section 18). The responsibilities and rights that a person could have includes care of the child, to maintain contact with the child, guardianship and contributing to child maintenance (Section 18). What is important with the new legislation is that parents not only have parental rights but also parental responsibilities. Responsibilities appear before rights, which shows the importance of responsibilities.
These parental responsibilities and rights are discussed in detail below where the focus is on explaining the responsibilities and rights. The research on challenges experienced by unmarried fathers in relation to each of these responsibilities and rights is discussed later in the chapter.
Care parental responsibility and right
Care is defined in the Children’s Act as providing a suitable place for the child to live; promoting the child’s well-being and upbringing; securing the child’s education; maintaining sound relationships with the child and accommodating the special needs of the child (Section 1; Gallinetti, 2006). Therefore, in summary, care is providing for the daily needs of the child such as clothes, food and a place to live (Skelton, 2009). Bonthuys (2006:12) argues that poor parents have little chance of meeting all the obligations included in the definition of “care”.
Research data shows that care of children born outside of marriage is provided mostly by maternal families (Latamo and Rakgosi, 2000). A Botswana study conducted by Letamo and Rakgosi (2000) showed that 76% of child support is provided by mothers, 48% by fathers, and 39% by maternal relatives. Only a small level of support is from the paternal families: 35% from biological fathers, 15% from grandparents or 11% from paternal relatives (Letamo and Rakgosi, 2000). According to Richter (2006) most children in South Africa do not live with their fathers as shown by the statistics provided in chapter one. As discussed in the previous section, the absence of fathers in South Africa is one of the products of apartheid and the migrant labour system (Madhaven et al., 2014).
Contact parental responsibility and right
Contact is defined in the Children’s Act as maintaining a relationship with the child. If the child lives with someone else it means maintaining communication with the child through visits or being visited by the child or communication through post, telephone/any other electronic communication means (Section 1). An unmarried father not residing with his child but who is committed to the child’s wellbeing has the responsibility and right to maintain contact (Madhaven et al., 2014). It is important that a non-resident father spends time with his child because it is the father’s active participation in the child’s life that ensures positive outcomes (Richter and Morrell, 2006; Lesejane, 2006; Adonis, 2014).
The responsibilities and rights of a guardian are to administer and safeguard the child’s property and interest (Children’s Act Section 18 (3); Colgan, 2009). Guardianship relates to the legal duties concerning the child such as management of the child’s property, application for a passport, consent to adoption, marriage and medical treatment and surgical operations (Section 18; Gallinetti, 2006).
Since the Children’s Act has come into force there have been a number of court cases involving guardianship responsibilities and rights. For example, the case of SDI v KLVC (2014), where an unmarried mother took her child to the United Kingdom from South Africa, changing the place of residence of the child without the father’s consent. The High Court of South Africa (KZN local division) concluded that the father met the categories of Section 21(1) (b) of the Children’s Act and he therefore had automatic parental responsibilities and rights over his child (SDI v KLVC, 2014). Being the guardian of the child, his consent was required prior to the removal of the child to another country (SDI v KLVC, 2014). The father’s consent was also required to apply for a passport for the child (SDI v KLVC, 2014).
The above case reveals the difficulties that unmarried fathers experience. However, it should also be noted that some unmarried mothers experience problems when unmarried fathers who have automatic responsibilities disappear. This is particularly in relation to the application for passports since the mother cannot proceed without the father’s consent.
For example, the case of GN v KI (2015), where the mother had to apply to court because she wanted to apply for her child’s passport, but she had challenges due to the father being untraceable. Since he had guardianship his consent had to be obtained. The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg concluded that all the father’s parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child be suspended and the Department of Home Affairs was ordered to register the child with the mother’s surname (GN v KI, 2015). Therefore, the mother became the sole guardian of the child and she thus did not require father’s consent to apply for a passport (GN v KI, 2015).
All fathers, whether married or unmarried, have a responsibility to maintain their children (Section 21(2). The South African Maintenance Act 99 of 1998 (as amended in Act 9 of 2015) stipulates that if the unmarried father does not voluntarily financially contribute to the upbringing of the child, the mother has the right to take action against the father to demand child maintenance through a court (Letamo and Rakgoasi, 2000; Gallinet, 2006). The court will conduct an investigation into the financial well-being of the father (Skelton, 2009). After the investigations, if necessary, the court will lodge a child maintenance order (Maintenance Act 99 of 1998 Section 8, as amended in Maintenance Act 9 of 2015). The maintenance order means the order of payment, including the periodical payment of sums of money towards the maintenance of the child (Maintenance Act 9 of 2015 chapter 1; Colgan, 2009). The payment of child maintenance stops when the child becomes able to provide for himself/herself (Gallinetti, 2006). According to Morrell (2006), the South African government implemented this policy to increase father-child support.
2.2.3. Unmarried fathers’ acquisition of responsibilities and rights: Constitutional and gender discourses .
A criticism of the unmarried fathers’ provisions in the Act is that despite the changes to the legislation only some unmarried fathers are granted automatic responsibilities and rights (Louw, 2010). Section 21 makes it clear that biological unmarried fathers do not have similar responsibilities and rights as compared to mothers and married fathers. Only if unmarried fathers “pass the screening test” will they automatically have parental responsibilities and rights (Beyl, 2013:11). Colgan (2009) referred to parental responsibilities and rights of parents as similar to a box of crayons of diverse colours and that unmarried fathers have fewer crayons than mothers.
The question therefore is whether the discrimination against unmarried fathers on the basis of gender and marital status is justifiable and constitutional. Section 9 of the Constitution stipulates that everyone has the right to be respected and all people are equal before the law (Constitution of South Africa 108 of 1996; Beyl, 2013). Equality also implies that the state may not directly or indirectly unfairly discriminate against anyone on any grounds including race, gender, pregnancy and marital status (Constitution of South Africa, Section 9(3); Beyl, 2013). This is referred to as formal equality (Bonthuys, 2006). The Constitution also states that discrimination in terms of any of the above-mentioned grounds is unfair unless it is established as fair (Section 9(5)). This is referred to as substantive equality (Bonthuys, 2006). The question then is whether discrimination of unmarried fathers on the basis of gender and marital status is fair.
Louw (2010) and Beyl (2013) argue that limiting unmarried fathers’ parental responsibilities and rights is inconsistent with Section 36 of the Constitution. In terms of Section 36 (1) of the Constitution the limitation of rights must be reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom. In considering the limitation of a right the following factors have to be taken into account: the nature of right, the importance of the purpose of the limitation, the nature and extent of the limitation, relationship between the limitation and its purpose and less restrictive means to achieve the purpose (Section 36(1) (a-e)). Based on the limitations clause, Louw (2010) argues that Section 21 of the Children’s Act does not clarify its purpose for limiting unmarried fathers’ parental rights. He therefore viewed this limitation as unconstitutional because it places the burden of child responsibility to mothers.
Beyl (2013) argues that to maintain equality no distinctions in the application of limitations must be made between unmarried fathers and mothers. Denying unmarried fathers a reasonable right to their children should be considered as invalid (Lindegger, 2006; Beyl, 2013). From a gender perspective, there should be sharing of parental responsibilities and rights among unmarried parents (Beyl, 2013). Beyl (2013) is of the view that unmarried fathers should have rights that are independent of their social relationship with their children. Unmarried fathers thus should have genetic or biological parental rights over their children. She argues that conferring the full parental responsibilities and rights on both parents based on their biological link will show the importance of both parents to the child (Beyl, 2013). Therefore, Louw (2010) and Beyl (2013) view the discrimination against unmarried fathers based on gender and marital status as unfair and unconstitutional.
Other authors, however, take a different view and consider the limitation as fully justifiable and fair. For example, Bonthuys (2006) is of the view that awarding automatic parental responsibilities and rights to unmarried fathers who have shown a commitment to their children is just and fair. However, awarding full automatic parental responsibilities and rights to all unmarried fathers increases the burden borne by mothers (Bonthuys, 2006). For example, taking into consideration the following facts about South Africa, there is over 52% of South African children with alive but absent fathers, more than 9 million South African children grow up in fatherless homes (Human Rights Commission and UNICEF South Africa, 2011; Monama, 2011). If then all unmarried fathers are given automatic parental responsibilities and rights it will contribute to the burden of mothers and children due to untraceable and absentee fathers.
In this regard, I agree with Bonthuys’ argument and consider the discrimination against unmarried fathers’ in Section 21 on the basis of marital status as constitutional and fair. The discrimination is fair, because it promotes the rights of those fathers who have shown commitment towards their children. It is also justifiable to grant automatic parental responsibilities and rights to all mothers because it creates legal certainty regarding parentage. This does not mean, however, that all mothers are committed. Of importance is the fact that the best interests of the child is considered of paramount importance (Section 9). In the event of a dispute the court will consider what is in the child’s best interest.
In the section below, the South African legislative provisions on unmarried fathers’ responsibilities and rights is compared with Kenya, England and Uganda.
2.2.4. Unmarried fathers: Legislative provision of other countries
Like South Africa, Kenya and England grant automatic parental responsibilities and rights to all mothers and married fathers. Uganda, on the other hand, grants automatic parental responsibilities to all parents, irrespective of marital status.
Kenya vests automatic parental responsibilities on all mothers and married fathers (Children’s Act 8 of 2001 Section 24; Beyl, 2013) like the South African Children’s Act. An unmarried father acquires parental responsibilities if he has cohabitated with the mother subsequent to childbirth for a period of not less than 12 months, or if he has acknowledged his paternity (Beyl, 2013; Children’s Act 8 of 2001, Section 25). The South African Children’s Act and Kenyan Act thus both recognise cohabitation (in South Africa this is referred to as a permanent life partnership) as a ground for automatic responsibilities (Children’s Act 38 of 2005, Section 21; Children’s Act 8 of 2001, Section 25). The difference in the Kenyan Act is that the period of cohabitation is stipulated. Beyl (2013) argues that more clarity might have been provided in the South African Children’s Act if the term cohabitation had been used or if a definition of life partnership had been provided.
Kenya, similar to South Africa, also provides that unmarried fathers could acquire parental responsibilities if they maintained the child (Children’s Act 8 of 2001, Section 22 (2) (1) (a)). In addition, legislation in both countries provides that unmarried fathers can acquire parental responsibilities through agreements with mothers or by order of the court (Children’s Act 38 of 2005, Sections 22, 23 and 24; Children’s Act 8 of 2001, Section 26 (3)). An interesting provision in the Kenyan Act is that the court, before granting an order must be satisfied that the child understands the proposed application (Children’s Act 8 of 2001 (26) (3)). However, the Act does not refer to the child’s age.
A notable difference in the legislation is that while South Africa uses the concept of parental responsibilities and rights, Kenya only refers to parental responsibilities. In Kenya parental responsibilities refers to all duties, rights, and responsibilities the parent has in respect of the child, including the child’s property (Children’s Act 8 of 2001, Section 23 (2); Beyl, 2013). Moreover, in the Kenyan legislation the term custody is used as opposed to the concept of care in the South African Children’s Act. Custody is defined in Kenya as parental responsibility as it relates to possession of the child (Beyl, 2013). Beyl (2013:72) considers the term “possession as outdated and in appropriate”. Not disregarding Beyl’s different use of terminology, Kenya and South Africa deal with unmarried fathers in a similar way.
England and Wales
Similar to the South African Children’s Act, the England and Wales Children’s Act 4 of 2003, Section 2 provides that in the case of unmarried parents, the biological mother has automatic parental responsibilities and a distinction is made between married and unmarried fathers (Beyl, 2013). The unmarried father has parental responsibilities if he is registered on the child’s birth certificate (Section 2). Further, unmarried fathers have to approach a court to confirm the meeting of certain criteria (registered as a parent) to acquire parental responsibilities (Children’s Act 38 of 2005; Children’s Act 4 of 2003; Beyl 2013). However, the South African father is not expected to approach the court to confirm his rights because he is generally considered to have acquired his parental responsibilities and rights if he meets the requirements in Section 21 (Children’s Act 38 of 2005; Beyl 2013). In that regard, Beyl (2013) considers the South African unmarried fathers as being in a better position than unmarried England fathers.
The legislation in England and Wales is similar to that of Kenya in its reference to parental responsibilities that a parent has in respect of a child (Children’s Act 4 of 2003 (3)). As mentioned above, the South African Act confers parental responsibilities simultaneously with the parental rights (Children’s Act 38 of 2005 (18); Beyl, 2013).
The Ugandan Children’s Act of 1997 places parental responsibilities on both parents regardless of whether the child was born in or out of wedlock (Chapter 59, Section 6; Beyl, 2013). Section 6 of the Act on parental responsibilities states that all parents should have parental responsibilities in respect of their children (Ugandan Children’s Act 1997, chapter 59). The marital status of the mother and the father is not specified which means that the Ugandan Act does not differentiate between the two (Children’s Act 1997, Section 6; Beyl, 2013). The Ugandan Act also focuses only on parental responsibilities and not parental rights (Children’s Act 1997; Beyl, 2013).
The Ugandan Act thus provides for shared parental responsibilities. Both the mother and the father are required to sign a document in front of the witness to confirm that the signed individuals are the biological parents of the child concerned (Ugandan Children’s Act 1997, chapter 59; Beyl, 2013). In the case of the unmarried father, the instrument confirms that the father has parental responsibilities (Children’s Act 1997 chapter 59; Beyl, 2013). As discussed earlier one of the problems in South Africa is that parents have no documentation proving that they have parental responsibilities and rights. According to Beyl (2013) South Africa should also consider introducing the use of instruments as proof that the unmarried father has acquired parental responsibilities and rights. This would provide more clarity on the position of unmarried fathers (Beyl, 2013). The fact that all parents in Uganda, whether married or not have equal parental responsibilities, places the Ugandan unmarried fathers in a better position than South Africans.
As discussed in the above section, except for a few differences, the legislation in Kenya, England and Wales and South Africa are fairly similar. All mothers and married fathers have automatic parental responsibilities, whilst unmarried fathers have to meet certain criteria. In contrast, the Uganda Act provides that, all parents have automatic parental responsibilities towards their children regardless of the marital status.
In the next section, the experiences of young unmarried fathers are discussed, based on cultural practices.
In some South African ethnic groups such as the Zulu community, culture dictates that when a young man impregnates a girl, there are a number of cultural practices that he is required to perform (Letamo and Rakgoasi, 2000; Lesejane, 2006; Colgan, 2009; Swartz et al., 2013). For example, either buying a certain number of cattle or paying the monetary equivalent of the cattle as tradition requires. This is considered a damage payment because the future education and marriage of the girl is damaged, since pregnancy is a public declaration of lost virginity (Letamo and Rakgoasi, 2000; Mkhize, 2006; Lesejane, 2006). The recognition of this cultural practice is reflected in Section 21, as discussed in section 2.2.2 above. It is one of the factors used to decide whether an unmarried father has automatic parental responsibilities and rights.
Despite the widespread acceptance of the cultural practice of damage payments, Letamo and Rakgoasi (2000) found that only a small number of women receive compensation for pregnancy and child support. They found that most of those who received support had discussed marriage during pregnancy and had a continuing relationship with the fathers of their children (Letamo and Rakgoasi, 2000). In 2000, less than 57.1% women received compensation for their pregnancy (Letamo and Rakgoasi, 2000).
Letamo and Rakgoasi (2000) also found that the stress of cultural payments discouraged some unemployed young unmarried fathers from developing relationships with their children. Fathers without amandla (financial abilities) are unable to pay damages or ilobola (bride wealth) (Hunter, 2006). Similarly, Hunter (2006) and Swart et al. (2013) found that African men who impregnate girls may deny paternity due to their inability to pay pregnancy compensation. The failure to pay damages could also lead to the maternal family denying fathers’ access to their children (Swart et al., 2013). This is evident in Lesejane’s (2006) assertion that this cultural practice results in unmarried fathers being more likely to have continuous contact with their offspring if they have paid the compensation for the pregnancy. Therefore, the financial contribution of the father is valued by the mother and maternal family above all other father-child involvements (Lesch and Kelapile., 2015). Denial of access is further discussed in this chapter in section 2.4.
Some mothers do not claim pregnancy compensation and child support because they are scared of being embarrassed and being publicly shamed by the male partner who does not accept the pregnancy (Letamo and Rakgoasi, 2000). This is because African society celebrates male multiple sexual partners (isoka) while women are considered as whores for having more than one sexual partner (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007).
Aside from the impact of apartheid policies, as discussed earlier, there are a number of cultural drivers for the increasing numbers of young fathers and high rates of teenage pregnancy. These include gender inequalities, gendered expectations and the practice of ukuthwala (abducting young women by forcing them into marriage, often with parental permission), sexual taboos for girls and sexual permissiveness for boys, high levels of gender-based violence, wanting to leave a legacy (for boys), wanting to keep a partner and poor sex education (Ward, Makusha and Bray, 2015).
Richter et al. (2012) argue that lobola requirements delay marriage, which increases the high number of young unmarried fathers. Unemployment, as will be discussed in the section on challenges faced by young fathers is a concern for unmarried fathers since they are unable to fulfil the cultural expectations of damage payments and lobola. It is also important to note that Zulu culture attaches a lot of value to unmarried fathers’ financial contributions such as paying damages for pregnancy, paying for the child and paying for lobola. These Zulu cultural practices and requirements might increase the high rate of absentee fathers and result in a decline in father-child relationship (for unemployed and poor unmarried fathers).
In this section, South African constructions of fatherhood with particular reference to literature on biological and social fathers are discussed, followed by fatherhood in the post-apartheid era. The section concludes by discussing masculinity and fatherhood.
2.4.1. Biological fathers, social fathers and fatherhood
When looking at the role of the father in African families it often seems as if children do not have male role models. However, in African communities it is not only biological fathers who provide role models but also other male figures. A distinction can therefore be made between biological and social fathers. There is a body of literature around social fatherhood. For example, Lesejane (2006) and Lesch and Kelapile (2015) found that in KwaZulu-Natal, fatherhood is culturally viewed as a collective responsibility, supported by the extended family.
Although fatherhood is culturally viewed as a shared responsibility in Zulu communities, Ramphele and Richter (2006) argue that the biological father is needed to introduce the child to the ancestors through the ritual called imbeleko (killing a goat or cow for the presentation of a new family member). However, black Africans also value the culture of “Ubuntu”, (Mkhize, 2006) and extended family support. Therefore, as long as the child has stable social fatherhood support he/she will be nurtured and be introduced to the ancestors (Hosegood and Madhavan, 2012; Richter et al., 2012; Makusha, 2013). This is because social fatherhood is widely practiced in South Africa (Morell, 2005; Hosegood and Madhavan, 2012; Richter et al., 2012).
Lindegger (2006) argues that the fatherhood role which is not played by biological fathers might cause children to not know their biological fathers. However, some biological fathers abandon their families and children (Prinsloo, 2006), which forces social fathers to intervene (Makusha, 2013). The fatherhood role can be played by any interested person if the father dies, neglects or abandons his child (Richter and Morrell, 2006; Makusha, 2013). Some children are happier with social fathers than with biological fathers (Richter and Smith, 2006). Therefore, if the child gets financial and emotional support from the maternal family and community (Mkhize, 2006; Hosegood and Madhavan, 2012), the biological unmarried father is not as valued, unless he marries the mother of the child (Kalule-Sabiti, Palamuleni, Mariwane and Amoateng, 2007).
Some biological fathers are not identifiable/known to their children, while social fathers or step-fathers can be more involved (Morell, 2006; Richter and Morrell, 2006; Makusha, 2013). However, in the study conducted in a Xhosa secondary school, it was found that genetic fathers co-residing with their children provided more financial support and they spent more time and money on their children (Richter and Morrell, 2006). This means that genetic relatedness makes a strong father-child relationship if other supportive conditions are in place (Richter and Morrell, 2006).
According to Smith et al., (2005), father involvement is perceived as a function of family influences from the father’s formative years, earlier adolescent development, current relationships, and economic adjustment. Richter (2006) supports this perspective by outlining that the behavior patterns during early adulthood, including the young father’s involvement with and support of his children, is likely to be influenced by characteristics of his family of origin. Therefore, not living with both biological parents during adolescence, especially not living with one’s biological father is expected to decrease a father’s involvement with his own child (Smith, Krohn et al., 2005). Although father-child interaction is complicated, living with own child can be perceive as strong fatherhood support (Richter and Morrell, 2006). Part of this effect may be direct, that is, young fathers may replicate the patterns of family relationships they experienced as adolescents (Smith, Krohn et al., 2005), and there is some evidence of inter-generational similarities in family structure (Furstenberg and Weiss, 2000). In turn, individuals who were less successful in meeting the developmental challenges of adolescence are less likely to be able to adapt to the parenting role (Smith, Krohn et al., 2005) and, therefore, less likely to remain involved and supportive of their children.
2.4.2. Fatherhood in the post-apartheid era
According to Ramphele and Richter (2006), although the apartheid era ended in 1994, it has left its mark on the father-child and family separation of today. Fatherhood experienced today is the product of apartheid. Ramphele and Richter (2006) found that discourses of gendered power relations, distorted cultural beliefs and family breakdown are all the outcomes. Therefore, I agree with Perumal’s (2011) view that because of apartheid, South Africa is battling with a vast number of children in need of support, care and protection and most of these children are fatherless.
Apartheid policies of migration, father-family separation, and young men’s early exposure to manhood increased the high rate of unplanned pregnancies among post-apartheid youth. In this regard, Morrell (2006) and Wambugu (2007) view the absence of fathers in families as having impacted negatively on the lives of children, since young boys had to enter manhood at a young age. As discussed earlier this early manhood role was the result of fathers and men who had to leave their families due to migrant labour and early death (Richter, 2006), and young men in families had to take manhood responsibilities. As a result, young boys showed their manhood by demanding sexual favours from girls (Ramphele and Richter, 2006). Impregnating women became a regular activity perceived as a form of transition from boyhood to manhood (Ramphele and Richter, 2006; Wambugu, 2007). That behaviour might have increased the high rate of young fathers.
The result of oppression in families and the fragmented social environment in South Africa was brought on by political violence and its transition to criminality (Ramphele and Richter, 2006). The political violence became an important feature of post-apartheid family formation. Richter and Morell (2006) state that in 2002 about 67% of children in South Africa were recorded as having absent fathers due to political violence. Hawkins (2015) further noted that in 2014 more than 1.1 million births were registered in South Africa, but over 64% had no fathers’ details. Apartheid did not support the importance of African fatherhood (Lesejane, 2006). Therefore, South African black fathers have been characterized as absent (Ngobeni, 2006). Ramphele and Richter (2006) argue that the absence of fathers due to political killings is one of the results of the struggle against apartheid and it affected hundreds of African families in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ramphele and Richter (2006) further state that African family breakdown, poverty and unemployment is the mark of the apartheid era, where African men were not enjoying rights that were enjoyed by white men. Social constructionism also emphasizes the influence of history in experience, knowledge and behavior (Schneider and Stein, 2001; Wilson, 2001; Desai, 2002). Therefore, South African cultural background and history is constructing the current fatherhood experience.
Apartheid has deeply troubled the relationship between man and woman, father and child (Ramphele and Richter, 2006). This has resulted in young teenagers growing up in fragmented family conditions. However, Richter and Morell (2006) found that youth want to be better fathers than their historical parents; all they need is guidance and support. This means that young fathers acknowledge the apartheid influence on their parents and they are seeking ways to be better parents toward their children. Authors such as Smith, Krohn et al. (2005), Richter and Smith (2006), Richter and Morrell (2006), Ramphele and Richter (2006), Jordan (2009), Castillo, Welch et al. (2011) and Wilson and Prior (2011) have witnessed the post-apartheid emerging group of responsible young fathers. Fathers have become supportive through taking children to school and to health centres for immunization (Richter, 2006; Richter and Morrell, 2006). Therefore, some young fathers have shown the desire and need to be responsible and care for their own children.
In the masculinity discussion below masculinity is firstly defined and then the impact of masculinity on fatherhood is discussed.
Definition and practices of masculinity
The “term masculinity signifies a collective gender identity and not natural attribute” (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007:52). Masculinity is thus socially constructed and emerges through socio-economic positions, race, ethnicity, religion, age and geographic location (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007). Hearn (2007) identifies masculinity as the cultural norms and values of manhood. Fatherhood and manhood are used to construct masculinity (Prinsloo, 2006; Morrell, 2006). According to Lindergger and Maxwell (2007:53):
Masculinity is not a property of individual man, but a social constructed phenomenon, an everyday system of beliefs and performances that regulate behaviour between man and woman, as well as between man and other man. Individual man’s attitudes and behaviour largely emerge as a by-product of the very construction of masculinity in various cultures and contexts.
Therefore, masculinity is socially and culturally constructed to regulate male behaviour. Masculinity determines how men should behave, be treated, dress and what they should succeed at and what qualities and attitudes they should possess (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007). When masculinity is associated with patriarchy, the social norms turn out to be multiple sexual partners, power over women and negative attitudes towards condoms (Wilson, 2006; Ampofo and Boateng, 2007). However, Ampofo and Boateng (2007) argue that these notions of masculinity are often in conflict with the real emotional vulnerabilities of young men. For instance, masculinity presents manhood as characterised by toughness, aggressiveness, hardness and homophobia, which oppresses young boys’ emotional vulnerabilities (Hearn, 2007). As a result, masculinity expectations lead to a high rate of young men’s marginalisation (Hearn, 2007). Ratele et al. (2007) argue that these marginalised men gain status through risk taking behaviours such as unprotected sexual practices which increase the high rate of pregnancies. Ampofo and Boateng (2007) also found that, young fathers want to boast about sexual conquests to peers and be perceived as real men by blaming girls for the failure to protect themselves against pregnancy. However, Sutter (2007) argues that the silent voices of women and children could result in the active formation of masculinity and manhood.
To demonstrate the dominant notions of masculinity in families, Connell (1995), cited in Gibson and Lindergaard (2007), uses the concept of hegemonic masculinities. Hegemonic masculinity is the gendered practice of accepting the legitimacy of patriarchy, ensuring the dominant position of men and the subordination of women (Lindergger and Maxwell, 2007). Hegemonic masculinity is thus the type of masculinity that emphasises and encourages male domination and authority over women. For instance, mothers are perceived to be responsible for children and family, while fathers are understood to be providers and decision makers (Lindergger and Maxwell, 2007). The father’s autonomy of power and control in a family determines manhood (Lindergger and Maxwell, 2007; Connell, 2008). Therefore, notions of masculinity support the behaviours of men by guiding and sustaining those, since all male practices and behaviours are measured against hegemonic masculinities (Ratele, Fouten, Shefer, Strebel, Shabalala and Buikema, 2007). Young boys learn from their fathers, adult brothers and uncles about masculine responsibilities (Ratele et al., 2007; Splejdnaes et al., 2011). For example, Gqola (2007) found that in Xhosa culture ulwaluko (initiation) is an important masculine transition stage from boyhood to manhood that all young men are encouraged to perform.
The hegemonic notion of masculinity oppresses other forms of masculinity and this dominant notion determines the meaning of manhood and cultural practices associated with its image (Salo, 2007). According to Sathiparsard (2007) these images include masculine identity as consistent with multiple partners, and celebration of isoka (Casanova). South African men who cannot handle multiple women are viewed as not real men (Sathiparsard, 2007). Solo (2007) view notions of hegemonic masculinity as used to attain the South African manhood identity that was lost during the apartheid regime.
Masculinity and fatherhood
There is a connection between father, fatherhood and masculinity (Morrell, 2006). Masculinity notions view fathers as authority figures in a family and society (Lesejane, 2006). Fatherhood is determined as the primary identity of masculinity (Salo, 2007). Fatherhood gives men a sense of identity (Mkhize, 2006; Splejdnaes et al., 2011). According to Morell (2007) life attains meaning by the procreation of children to carry the family name. Fatherhood leads to achievement of adult status and positive recognition of making a mark in the world where survival is a doubt (Smith, Krohn et al., 2005). Roles of the father are perceived as authority, leader, primary provider, family protector and role model (Lesejane, 2006); therefore, fatherhood is a building block of masculinity.
According to Ampofo and Boateng (2007), young men exhibit high-risk behaviours despite the knowledge of sexual risks (pregnancy and STDs). They feel the need to conform to male societal prescriptions through early sexual experience (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007). They consider impregnating a girl and being treated for sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) as some masculinity achievements (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007). Lindergger and Maxwell (2007) also find that young men consider many girlfriends and multiple sexual experiences as a way of conforming to masculinity pressures. However, Mchunu (2007) views this behaviour as a reflection of crisis in masculinity. This is because young fathers are unable to meet masculinity standards of breadwinners and heads of families, which undermines their fatherhood rights over their children (Mchunu, 2007). Therefore, due to masculinity pressures, young fathers are forced into leadership and breadwinner roles that many cannot live up to (Ampofo and Boateng, 2007). Mchunu (2007) also found that fathers who are unable to provide for their families feel disempowered and they therefore neglect their children.
Young boys’ fatherhood images are shaped by the family structure, location and family of origin (Morell, 2007). Some of these young men when talking about fatherhood they talk about their own fathers while others talk about their desires to become fathers (Richter, 2006; Morell, 2007). This is because family provides young men with the sense of belonging (Morell, 2007). The availability, support and protection given by their fathers in the family provide them with male guidance (Richter, 2006; Morell, 2007). Morell (2007) describes the various influences that males have in the family and their influence on young men. For example, an 18-year-old KZN (South coast) boy who grew up with his mother and his father who was unemployed but through farming the father could provide for the family, even when violence and war came, the father led the family to the new place (uMlazi), acting as a family protector. Therefore, the male is characterised as being the breadwinner, provider and role model. However, for some fathers who are unable to meet these masculinity pressures they deviate through substance abuse addiction.
Lindergger and Maxwell (2007) argue that when young boys define man and father, their definition is based on their experiences of elderly men and their fathers, giving them the sense of what they do not appreciate about these fathers. Among other things, these undesirable father behaviours include excessive drinking of alcohol, beating of wives, physical and emotional abuse of children and multiple sexual partners (Lindergger and Maxwell, 2007). Even though they had unsupportive fathers, the boys expressed the desire to be fathers and heads of families (Morell, 2007). For young men, being a father means to have a house, have a woman and a child and be married (Morrell 2007). Therefore, Morell (2007) concludes the notion of masculinity as creates fatherhood desires among Africa Zulu boys, which might contribute to the high rate of teenage pregnancy.
The next section discusses the challenges that are experienced by unmarried fathers.
In this section on the challenges faced by unmarried fathers in South Africa, first unemployment and poverty is discussed followed by child maintenance and the section concludes by discussing father-child access denial.
2.5.1. Unemployment and Poverty
A major challenge faced by young unmarried fathers is unemployment and poverty (Mkhize, 2006; Hunter, 2006; Casele and Desmond, 2007; Tinkew and Horowitz, 2013; Madhaven et al., 2014; Manamela, 2015). Graham and Mlatsheni (2015) state that in South Africa there is about 61% of youth unemployed between the ages of 20 and 24; 42% for ages 25-29; and 33% for ages 30-34 years. The increase in unemployment leads to high rates of poverty (Smith, Krohn, Chu and Best, 2005; Ramphele and Richter, 2006; Jansen, 2015; Ward, Makusha and Bray, 2015). However, youth unemployment differs per race. Graham and Mlatsheni (2015) found that African and coloured youth are more vulnerable than white and Indian as over 40% of African and 32% of coloured is unemployed, compared to 23% of Indian and 11% of white youth.
Unemployment increases cohabitation and decreases marital rates due to inability to pay lobola (Hunter, 2006; Tinkew and Horowitz, 2010). Wilson and Prior (2011) state that if fathers lose their jobs or do not get jobs they feel like failures since they are unable to financially support their children. Skevik (2006) also found poverty as a strong indicator for loss of contact between unmarried fathers and their children. In 2011, about 58.5% of youth was living in poor households (De Lannoy, Leibbrandt and Frame, 2015). Poverty and unemployment has resulted in many unmarried fathers unable to fulfill fatherhood requirements (Mkhize, 2006). Good fathers are portrayed as breadwinners (Prinsloo, 2006), providers, protectors and caregivers (Richter, 2006; Richter and Morrell, 2006; Lesch and Kelapile, 2015), which presents a challenge to disadvantaged young unmarried fathers without jobs (Ward et al., 2015). Therefore, youth unemployment and poverty (Morrell, 2006; Madhavan et al., 2014) affects father-child relationships since unemployed fathers are unable to meet legislation and cultural requirements.
However, the government introduction of child support grants has assisted these poor families (Wilson, 2006; Human Rights Commission and UNICEF South Africa, 2011). In this regard the state plays a fatherhood role. In 2016, 2 813 733 African children in KZN qualified and passed the means test for child and support grants (SASSA Fact sheet, 2016). Most of these grants are applied for by biological struggling mothers, while very few are applied for by fathers (Wilson, 2006). Having such a high number of children passing means test for child support grant (Wilson, 2006; Richter and Morrell, 2006) shows the increased numbers of children in need of financial support in South Africa (Human Rights Commission and UNICEF South Africa, 2011). Half of the number is from single unmarried mothers, while a quarter is from co-residing parents but not married and a quarter from married parents (Wilson, 2006). Smith, Krohn et al., (2005) found that poverty and unemployment does not only affect South Africa, because in the United States, among African American fathers, children growing up without two parents grow in poverty. Children need food, school material, playing stuff and some pocket money. This becomes a challenge for poor unemployed parents (Richter and Morrell, 2006; Wilson and Prior, 2011).
Smith et al., (2005) view lack of education as a contributor to youth unemployment and poverty. Having a child at a young age and being unable to complete high school are all likely to increase job instability, reduce income, and increase reliance on public assistance (Smith et al., 2005). If the unmarried father is not educated and has financial and employment challenges, he can be expected to have less ability to provide support and spend time with his child (Smith et al., 2005). In addition, unmarried fathers support of their children declines overtime, some of the reasons being re-partnering, unemployment and unable to pay lobola (Richter and Morrell, 2006). Richter and Chikovore et al., (2010) also found that father-child support may decline if the father does not know that he has fathered the child. Or the father might not acknowledge the pregnancy if he is unable to pay inhlawulo or lobola. Or the father may not want to take the added responsibility of family and children due to unemployment and poverty (Richter and Chikovore et al., 2010). Job instability and poverty reduce father involvement (Smith, Krohn et al., 2005), since father-child support is constructed as more financial than social.
2.5.2. Child Maintenance
Child maintenance is one of the challenges faced by unemployed fathers in poor households (Richter and Morell, 2006). A study conducted by Khunou (2006) in uMlazi, KZN revealed that about 7000 out of 67000 unmarried fathers were called to court for child maintenance orders in 2002 and 372,000 complaints of maintenance defaults (fathers failing to pay child maintenance) were reported. This indicates the low rate of paternal maintenance for children (Khunou, 2006) and high rate of neglect of children by men (Richter and Chikovore et al., 2010). Involvement with children is higher when the father is working and his ability to financially support the child is more secure (Richter and Morell, 2006). Therefore, it is clear that some fathers will be more financially and socially involved with their children than others (Khunou, 2006). To ensure the commitment of unmarried fathers in child maintenance, there are new amendments in the Child Maintenance Act, adopted by parliament and signed by the president on 9 September 2015 (Jamieson et al., 2015).
In the amended Maintenance Act 9 of 2015, when there is a complaint that the father is failing to pay child maintenance, he will be included in the Credit Bureau to be blacklisted (Jamieson et al., 2015). The aim is to prevent these unmarried fathers from getting any loans or credit while owing child maintenance (Jamieson et al., 2015). Furthermore, the court will now decide whether to convert criminal proceedings if a father is prosecuted for failure to pay court-ordered child maintenance (Maintenance Act 9 of 2015; Jamieson et al., 2015). Consequently, since the amendments to the Act has come into force in the Government Gazette (Jamieson et al., 2015), unmarried fathers face an additional challenge of criminal records if failing to pay child maintenance.
Goldblatt (2003) argues that the South African law should consider the realities of economic and social issues (unemployment and poverty) in the country. There are unmarried fathers who love and care for their children but the court overlooks this interest due to financial provision requirements (Khunou, 2006). Bonthuys (2006) also states that people who are unable to meet parental rights and responsibilities due to lack of resources are labelled bad parents. Tinkew and Horowitz (2010) found that unmarried fathers view their relationships with their children as not only about money but it should also be about contact and guardianship. The financial provision of child maintenance has tended to determine the relationship of unmarried fathers with their children (Tinkew and Horowitz, 2010; Jamieson, du Toit and Jobson, 2015). Smith, Krohn et al. (2005) and Manamela (2015) argue that policy and culture demand financial child support from unmarried fathers rather than focusing on employment potential to contribute to likely responsible fathers in the next generation.
2.5.3. Denial of Access
Some fathers are denied access to their children by the biological mother and maternal family (Swart et al., 2013; Lesch and Kelapile, 2015). The mother might deny father-child access in order to have freedom with her current partner (Skevik, 2006). The pattern of different commitments that emerge when parents have new partners may further reduce father-child accessibility (Skevik, 2006). Gallinetti (2006) argues that societal culture and legislation supports unmarried biological mothers more than the unmarried biological fathers.
In contrast, Swart et al. (2013) are of the view that unmarried fathers are likely to have no long standing romantic relationship with the mothers of their children, causing the maternal family to make decisions (favoring them) concerning the child’s upbringing. Furthermore, father-child contact is valued based on financial provision (Hunter, 2006; Skevik, 2006; Lesch and Kelapile, 2015) and if the unmarried father is unable to meet the expectations, he is referred to as unmanly (Skevik, 2006; Richter et al., 2010). Thus, many South African children are not privileged with positive father-child relationships and the country has the lowest marriage rate in the continent (Richter and Panday, 2006). Richter, Chikovore et al. (2010) also found that South African children take their clan name from their fathers; therefore, being fatherless creates a sense of loss and confusion among children.
Father-child access denial and conflict with the mother is normally associated with lack of financial support (Smith, Krohn et al., 2005). The expectations and requirements do not acknowledge the young unmarried fathers who are interested in the upbringing of their children but are deprived of the opportunity due to poverty and unemployment (Khunou, 2006; Lesch and Kelapile, 2015). However, educated fathers are more likely to keep contact with their children even after separation, due to their financial provision ability (Parikh, cited Skevik, 2006).
Morell (2006) and Richter (2006) argue that, fathers are expected to provide, support and be actively involved irrespective of their limited resources to perform these roles. Swart and Bhana (2009) found that some fathers want to be more involved in the upbringing of their children because they were deprived of the opportunity with their own fathers. Swart and Bhana (2009) mention that the experience of having uninvolved fathers motivated unmarried fathers to be involved in the upbringing of their children, but the challenge is that they are denied access. South African government and cultural practices which emphasizes unmarried fathers’ support as being more financial, limits the social and emotional role and involvement of unemployed and poor fathers to the raising of their children, as finances seem to determine the meaning of fatherhood (Lesch and Kelapile, 2015).
Latamo and Rakgosi (2000) and Madhaven et al. (2014) found that some fathers are denied the chance to visit their children due to parental conflict and those who visit are the ones who support the child and have an input in decision making. However, Skevik (2006) states that the mother who wants her child to have contact with the biological father, even after separation will do so for the best interest of the child. In contrast, Letamo and Rakgosi (2000) argue that, the father might not have contact and support toward his child if he feels that the mother got pregnant to trap him into marrying her. Nevertheless, in the case where marriage was a possibility during the pregnancy, the father is likely to remain supportive and in contact with his child (Letamo and Rakgosi 2000; Makusha 2013). Similarly, in the situation where the relationship between the mother and the father is still maintained, it is more likely that the father-child contact and support will remain (Latamo and Rakgosi 2000; Madhaven et al., 2014). However, if the mother has a new partner, the biological father-child contact may become limited (Smith, Krohn et al.,. 2005, Skevik 2006, Madhavan, Townsend et al. 2008; Madhaven et al., 2014). This is caused by the biological father’s roles being replaced by the mother’s new partner. Richter and Morell (2006) found that, step-fathers spend more time and money on the present children of their partners than their genetic children. Contact requires money and fathers who do not have money will also have limited contact, since financial provision has advantaged fatherhood perspective (Skevik, 2006; Makusha, 2013; Madhaven et al., 2014).
Skevik (2006) points out a number of factors influencing father-child contact. For example, contact with the child declined when the father re-partnered and that person had her own children (Skevik 2006; Madhaven et al. 2014). Child contact and involvement of unmarried fathers in cohabitation is determined by father-mother relationship (Skevik, 2006; Makusha, 2013; Madhaven et al., 2014). However, Skevik (2006) also stated that sometimes there is no difference in cohabitation and marriage, because even the cohabitation varies after separation.
Further, another contextual factor affecting father-child contact is age. Young fathers are struggling to support their children which limits their contact (Richter and Morrell, 2006; Makusha, 2013; Madhaven et al., 2014). For Madhaven et al., (2014) the fact that most unmarried fathers do not live with their children, affects the level of contact and time spent with their children. Based on the above discussion, it can be highlighted that unmarred father-child contact is determined by socio-economic status and the relationship with the mother of the child. This discussion has shown that unemployment, poverty, child maintenance and father-child access denial are some of the factors contributing to the high rate of absentee fathers in South Africa.
The focus of this chapter has been on the impact of apartheid on parenting, where the migrant labour system and restrictions of movement were found to have contributed to negative father-child relationships. As discussed in the legislative framework, both the South African Natural Fathers of Children Born out of Wedlock Act and the Children’s Act have impacted on unmarried fathers. Lastly, unemployment and poverty, child maintenance and father-child access denial were seen as some of the challenges facing young unmarried fathers. The next chapter will focus on the research methodology.
This chapter focuses on the research methodology and processes that were used in the study. It covers the location of the study; research paradigm; research design; sampling strategy; data collection techniques and methods of data collection. The chapter concludes by discussing trustworthiness; ethical considerations and study limitations.
The research paradigm provides a rationale for the research and commits the researcher to certain methods of data collection, observation and interpretation (Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006). Furthermore, the research paradigm is central to the research design because it impacts both on the nature of the research question, that is what is to be studied, and on the manner in which the question is to be studied (Terre Blanche et al., 2006). A qualitative research paradigm was used in this study.
Hancock, Ockleford and Windridge (2009) define qualitative research as a paradigm that uses people’s accounts and experiences as data which cannot be numerically reported. Therefore, qualitative data aims to understand aspects of social life through words rather than numbers (Patton and Cochran, 2002; Punch, 2014). Qualitative research methods allow the researcher to dig much deeper into human experiences (Rubin and Babbie, 2013). Guest et al., (2013) also viewed the advantage of qualitative research as relating to the ability to probe into responses as much as needed to gain more information about the participants’ experiences and behaviours. Sample sizes are smaller which allows for more familiarity with the information produced and the context of the participants. Qualitative research also employs more inductive theoretical approaches in the natural environment of participants (Rubin and Babbie, 2013).
A qualitative interpretive paradigm seeks to gain an empathetic understanding of people’s experiences and the deeper meanings and reasons for their behaviours (Rubin and Babbie, 2013). An interpretive researcher is concerned with developing an in-depth understanding of participants’ lives (Rubin and Babbie, 2013). Rubin and Babbie (2013:56) further state that “…interpretive researchers believe that the best way to learn about people is to be flexible and subjective in one’s approach so that the subject’s world can be ‘seen’ through the subject’s own eyes”. This approach allows for the provision of rich descriptions through less structured methods of data collection.
This study sought to understand the subjective nature of young unmarried fathers’ experiences of parenting their children. The qualitative interpretive approach thus allowed for the collection of more in-depth information of their perceptions and experiences. In-depth interviews are commonly used as a method of data collection (Babbie and Mouton, 2001). Since the study concerned young unmarried fathers’ experiences and perceptions of fatherhood, the qualitative interpretive approach allowed for an in depth study of selected issues as suggested by Andrew (2012).
This study aimed to describe phenomena accurately through narrative type description. A descriptive research design within a qualitative interpretive paradigm was used to guide the research activities. A descriptive design focuses on describing phenomena accurately and precisely with rich detail (Terre Blanche et al., 2006). According to Terre Blache et al. (2006), descriptive research allows the researcher to conduct open and flexible exploration. Such design allows for rich description of situations and events through interpretation and observation (Babbie and Mouton, 2001; Guest et al., 2013). This design has allowed me to conduct in-depth flexible interviews with young unmarried fathers.
Non-probability snowball and purposive sampling techniques were used in this study. Non-probability sampling implies that the probability of each person being selected for the study is unknown (Terre Blanche et al., 2006). Social work research is commonly conducted in situations where it is not easy to select probability samples (Rubin and Babbie, 2013). In this study, purposive sampling was chosen because it allowed for the recruitment of participants who met the criteria and who could provide rich information, whilst snowball sampling was useful where participants were difficult to locate. Davies (2007) defines purposive sampling as the act of identifying and targeting individuals who are believed to have the required information. This thus requires identification of the sampling criteria. Snowball sampling however is based on referrals because it focuses on hard to locate participants and makes use of selected participants by asking each of them to provide information to locate other members (Rubin and Babbie, 2013). Snowball sampling thus allows each participant to provide access to potential people who meet the study criteria (Corey, 2009) and thus relies on participants’ social networks in determining other potential participants (Guest et al., 2013). In this study purposive and snowball sampling were both used to select participants who met the sampling criteria.
The purposive sampling criteria in this study were as follows;
- Unmarried African fathers – aged 18 to 35 years. The National Youth Policy 2015-2020 defines young people as falling within the age group of 14 to 35 years. For the purpose of this study the age group of 18 to 35 was used because 18 years is defined as the age of majority in South Africa (Children’s Act 38 of 2005). The final sample included fathers aged from 18 to 29 years.
- Having a child who was at least a year old and who was conceived outside of marriage.
- Not currently living with the mother of the child.
- Residing in the Hibiscus Coast local municipality.
In obtaining the sample, first two young unmarried fathers who met the above criteria were identified. The two identified fathers were given my contact details to give to other fathers who were asked to make direct contact if they wanted to participate in the study. Four participants were referred. One of them did not met the criteria due to his age. Thus there were three referred participants who met all the study criteria. I am originally from the Hibiscus Coast local municipality area. I subsequently identified a further four participants at a church conference who met the criteria. Nine young unmarried fathers were thus interviewed, until saturation was reached. The nine participants were from Nkulu, Okhalweni and Gamalakhe in the Hibiscus Coast municipality.
In this study, data was collected through semi-structured interviews. Semi-structured interviews imply the use of open-ended questions that can be adjusted during the interviews with the participants (Terre Blanche et al., 2006). Rubin and Babbie (2013) defined semi-structured interviews as making use of guides and topics to be covered in an interview, while allowing the researcher and participant to adopt the style of the interview by being flexible, informal and conversational. This also allows the interviewer to dig for more detail and pursue specific topics raised by the interviewee (Rubin and Babbie, 2013). The advantages of interviewing as a method of data collection in this study was primarily related to its naturalness and spontaneity, flexibility, control of the environment and direct contact with the participants (Babbie and Mouton, 2001). A semi-structured interview guide was used (see Appendix 1). The guide had identified themes to be covered in the interview. This allowed me to adapt the sequencing and wording of questions to each particular interview as recommended by Babbie and Mouton (2001) and Terre Blanche et al. (2006) and to follow up on the answers given to obtain clarity as needed. A voice recorder was used to keep a full record of the interview without having to be distracted by detailed note-keeping (Terre Blanche et al., 2006). All participants consented to be voice recorded. However, additional notes were taken during the interview to record anything of importance.
Permission to conduct interviews in the area had already been obtained from the Mavundleni Traditional Authorities. Participants were first informed about the purpose of the interview and were given the opportunity to ask questions about the research. In addition to consenting to the interview, participants’ consent was also obtained to voice record the interviews (see Appendix 2).
Most of the interviews were conducted in the church hall because it was a convenient space for the participants. Alternate arrangements were made when the church hall was not available. The interviews lasted approximately an hour per participant. Initially one interview was completed, translated and transcribed to check if any changes needed to be made to the interview guide and if more probing was needed. The remaining participants were then interviewed until saturation was reached .i.e. no more new information was being generated.
The interviews were conducted in IsiZulu and subsequently translated into English. Being a woman interviewing males, I had to be culturally sensitive by showing respect (women must not stand while a man is sitting down, use a lower tone of voice and dress code characterised by dresses and skirts). Confidentiality was ensured and pseudonyms used to ensure anonymity. Social work skills of building rapport were also implemented to create a friendly environment. The transcripts are preserved in a password protected document and the voice recordings are locked in a cabinet. After five years it will be destroyed
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