An investigation of cultural influences on fertility behaviour among university students at Howard College, UKZN-Durban.
Mbaya, Thokozile Jocylen.
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Questions have been raised regarding factors influencing fertility in South Africa, particularly within the different population groups. Various studies have focused on fertility in South Africa and other developing countries, based on racial differences, socio-economic statuses and geographical or environmental factors. It is clear that the major omission in the existing studies is the much-needed investigation of cultural influences on fertility outcomes. Therefore, this study is an investigation of the role of culture in influencing fertility behaviour among young women at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban. The central question of this paper is therefore: how does culture influence fertility behaviour among young university women? To respond to this question, the study used John Bongaarts' theory on proximate determinants of fertility as lenses for this investigation. A qualitative research design was used to collect data through 14 individual in-depth interviews with multiracial and multicultural women between the ages of 22 and 31. A thematic analysis revealed that culture still plays a significant role in determining fertility outcomes. Although the participants are aware of the conservative stand of their cultures and religions, the results indicate that their personal choices for fertility behaviour are influenced by education and desire for success in their careers. In addition, the findings showed that the extent to which culture influences fertility behaviour is different across the various racial groups in South Africa.