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Doctoral Degrees (Anthropology)

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    Perceptions of migration and ethnic marginalisation: a comparative study of Indian and White South African medical graduates.
    (2022) Khan, Soomaya.; Singh, Anand.
    This study examines the perceptions of migration among a sample of potential South African Indian and White medical graduate migrants in Durban, South Africa. The perceptions of migration among South African medical graduates to more developed nations were assessed in terms of the push and pull factors, their perceptions about themselves as South Africans and the impact that decision to migrate will have for their respective households. Aspects that constitute the core of this research include a) perceptions about migration, b) who will migrate and c) how decision-making occurs. The study highlighted the manner in which potential transnational movement in the contemporary period is likely to impact on respective families and households. The study further investigated the role of violence and affirmative action policies in the decision to migrate and its likely impact on households. It also explores the challenges and opportunities that potential migrants may encounter on making a decision to migrate. Central to this project was the notion of how medical graduates are influenced by a myriad of social and economic forces. The high rate of people leaving the country implied that South Africa is basically exporting human capital. Statistics in this study bear witness to the prevalence of the growing number of South African medical graduates abroad. Both Migration Theory and the Family Systems Theory were appropriate frameworks within which the study findings were contextualized. The former encapsulates why potential Indian and White medical graduate migrants desire to leave and how the decision to migrate is made, while the tenets of the latter is challenged to show that family structure need not be altered due to the age of globalisation which is associated with new forms of technology that permits for emotional bonds to be maintained despite geographical dispersion. The study is anthropological in nature and therefore aims to capture and highlight the complexities of the perceptions of migration through the use of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions which made it possible to acquire a wealth of data. The exploratory goal of the study aims to illustrate that South African Indian and White medical graduates are of the perception that leaving South Africa and going abroad will provide better opportunities for themselves and their careers. The findings of this study reveal that their reasons for wanting to migrate among the Indian and white participants include the following push factors which are poor working conditions, job dissatisfaction, low remuneration, long working hours, lack of resources, crime and challenges facing the South African economy. Most of the participants are keeping their options about seeking employment outside South Africa and will consider the common wealth countries and developed nations as the host country. Participants of the Indian descent are of the opinion that migration will impact on families and households and that the family plays a crucial role in the decision-making process. Participants of the White descent believe that migration will not affect the family structure and migration for them is mostly influenced by friends and families who have already migrated. Due to the nuclear family system and high levels of individualism amongst the white participants the decision-making process does not include their families.
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    Constructing “woman”: probing how the cultural practice of chinamwali among the Shangaan people is used to construct ‘womanhood’.
    (2018) Muchono, William.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    This study aims to probe how the cultural practice of chinamwali among the Shangaan people is used to construct ‘womanhood’. The study probes the perceptions, understanding and lived experiences of the men and women who reside in the Mahenye community of Chipinge District (south eastern Zimbabwe) where chinamwali, (cultural rite of passage for girls and women) is practised. The study was premised on the understanding that the practice of chinamwali socially constructs or defines women in a particular (Mahenye) culture. Interview questionnaires and focus group discussions as well as observations were used to gather data from people in the Mahenye community in Zimbabwe. The study reveals that if a woman is not initiated she is considered no longer valuable in the community and tends to be a social outcast or to be excluded from several cultural activities.
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    Gendered a (symmetries): probing experiences of sexual coercion among female students at a Zimbabwean university.
    (2018) Mukwidigwi, Tariro.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    Overtones of ‘docility’, ‘passivity’ and ‘vulnerability’ characterise representations of female university students’ sexuality. Working within a gendered and feminist framework, I draw on the lived experiences of sexual coercion among female university students to understand the extent to which female students enact or challenge these assertions. Experiences of sexual coercion among female university students offered a potent context to explore matrices of power and subsequent exercise of sexual power, agency and subjectivity by the victims. I also examine how female university students perceive and interpret their experiences of sexual coercion. I further sought to understand the extent to which these interpretations and experiences were culturally and socially conscripted. The theoretical, methodological and analytical underpinnings of this study were informed by social constructionist epistemology. I adopted a sequential explanatory mixed-method design which gives pre-eminence to qualitative and interpretive methods. I utilised a survey questionnaire in the initial phases of research followed by interpretive methods including in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observation. Analysis and interpretation of data was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, thematic and content analysis. The study findings are presented in the form of tables, graphs and themes which emerged from the inquiry. The narratives of female university students presented a sexually volatile context. Their experiences and interpretations of sexual coercion were an interplay of social, cultural and individual factors. Though sexual coercion was endemic at the university, it was highly marginalised and underreported. The findings of this study present a dissent from notions of sexual passivity and docility held in extant literature. Overt and subtle reactions to sexual coercion in the form of negotiations, antagonistic reactions and (re)construction of dominant sexual practices and norms by female university students demonstrated significant levels of agency, subjectivity and power. Constructions of femininity among some female students were framed around sexual control, autonomy, independence and assertiveness illustrated by an emerging group of “sexually empowered” female university students. The study findings inform interventions which consider female university students as active and agentic beings.
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    Normalization of misogyny: sexist humour in a higher education context at Great Zimbabwe University.
    (2018) Kanyemba, Roselyn.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    This research focuses on sexist humour and its contribution to the creation of hostile campuses for women, affecting their equal access and enjoyment of higher education. This research addresses an element that has been neglected in the field of sexism and higher education as previous studies tended to focus on overt expressions of sexual harassment. The study investigated the nature and perceptions of students at Great Zimbabwe University with regard to sexist humour. The study grounds its analysis on a logical conceptual framework using structural violence theory, sexual objectification and social identity theories to discuss the perceptions, experiences, processes and outcomes of sexist humour in higher education settings. It also uses data collected from survey questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and observations to bring out the voices and experiences of women with regard to sexist humour in higher education, an element which has been missing in literature. Sexual harassment is a growing epidemic in universities around the world and this has consequences especially for female students who are the targets. Latent linguistic factors such as sexually violent humour, rape jokes and sexist humour normalizes violence and rape in society. Ambiguous definitions of what constitutes violence as well as the burden of proof makes it difficult for students to decide whether they should report sexist humour or not. In addition, humour is not listed as violence in the available statutes which only cater for overt expressions of violence that are presented with glaring proof of assault. Victims are thus often silenced and dismissed as frivolous. The study established that sexist joking, which has been socialized in cultures for centuries, normalizes rape culture and hostile campuses and needs to be addressed with the same seriousness as other overt expressions of violence occurring on university campuses. The ambiguity in defining sexist humour as harassment means there is little communication and discourse on campus, thereby normalizing violence.
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    Experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS in a plural health care system: probing tensions and complexities.
    (2018) Darong, Gabriel Gyang.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.; Moshabela, Matlagolo Mosa.
    HIV/AIDS is treated biomedically. People living with HIV (PLHIV) are expected to strictly adhere to active antiretroviral treatment (ART) prescribed by biomedical health practitioners in order to “progress” on the cascade of care. Poor progression on the cascade of care, however, has been shown to exist amongst PLHIV. The use of multiple health systems – biomedicine, traditional healing and religious healing, known as medical pluralism, has been said to be a contributing factor in the poor adherence to HIV testing and treatment. Some PLHIV, however, have been shown to be in care while practicing medical pluralism. Thus, this study explores the experiences of such PLHIV in their practice of medical pluralism, especially how navigate the systems and treatments utilised. This study was conducted at the Hlabisa sub-District, a rural area in uMkhanyakude District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, though qualitative ethnography. Eighteen participants were recruited using theoretical and purposive sampling. Nine PLHIV were the primary participants in the study. Of the nine PLHIV, four were also traditional healers. The other nine participants, made up of five biomedical healthcare practitioners, three traditional healers and one faith/religious healer, were the secondary participants. The study found that the PLHIV in the study consciously made concurrent, parallel or sequential use of plural healthcare for various health conditions when they believed such conditions can best or only be treated using specific health systems. None of the participants sought to “treat” or “cure” HIV using health systems outside biomedicine. The study found that some of the participants refused initiation into ART due to the attitude of the biomedical health practitioners towards the participants’ use of plural health. Primary participants who maintained their ART all reported to have had suppressed viral loads and high CD4 counts. Their health-seeking behaviours can be seen as an expression of their agency. Hence, rather than excluding them from using basic primary health services due to their plural health use, a better understanding and appreciation of their reasons, motivations, and manners of practising medical pluralism is needed. This will aid in the development of health programmes that better cater for their health needs.
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    Women and water access in the Eastern Cape: an anthropological investigation into supply and sustainability in water scarce districts: with specail reference to: Mbelu, Ntilini and Cwebe.
    (2017) Kombi, Sausi.; Singh, Anand.
    This study looks at domestic water supply within the context of household dynamics in a rural area with a particular focus on the acquisition of water. The study examines the implications for women and gender through customary norms and practices, local institutions, ideologies and cosmologies, household structures and people’s practices. In the rural areas of Amatole District Municipality, women and men’s relationships to water and its acquisition are fundamentally different, and the differences have deep consequences for women’s status, standard of living and their survival. It also aims to explore the dynamic gender relations and women’s vulnerability and dangers they face while trying to access water. Twenty-three years after the introduction of democracy, the provision of water in rural South Africa remains elusive and prevails as a blot to the country’s legislature and their policy makers and advisers Thus this study is intended as a critique of this lack of provision and aims to provide an insight into some of the concealed realities in service delivery failures in post-apartheid South Africa. Water is the foremost human basic need and is crucial for sustainable development particularly in rural areas where there is limited access to clean and safe water. The internationally based Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) (2006) states that limited access to clean and safe water is associated with poor hygiene and sanitation at household level and that it widens the poverty gap, creates gender inequalities and fails to annihilate water borne diseases. The target area for this study was Amatole District Municipality, where piped water to each household is non-existent. Situated in the wild coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, scattered households are a characteristic feature of the undulating terrain in the area. The villages under study were Cwebe, Mbelu and Ntilini, where infrastructure development and employment opportunities remain equally non-existent. The demographics of the areas consist of mainly women, young children and older men. The younger and middle-aged men migrate to the mines in other provinces, especially Gauteng Province, where most of the country’s richest mines are located. Almost all of the residents in these three villages are unemployed and depend on remittances and social grants. Only a small number of the villagers depend upon working their land on a subsistence basis. Another small percentage is employed in the only tourist resort in the area, which can accommodate a maximum of 32 guests at a time, indicative of the rather limited employment opportunities in this soft industry. The villages are sparsely scattered, and the terrain is hilly, which makes it difficult for the local residents to access the distantly available water with the relative ease for which they constantly hope. The nature of the terrain and the alleged high costs of a reticulation system is often blamed by the local state for its absence. In Ntilini and Mbelu, for example, women and children source their water from the dangerously deep gorge linked to the Mhashe River which is also difficult to access. The area also has five dry boreholes, which are not maintained. The more distant Cwebe on the other hand get its water from the Nlonyane River and its tributaries and springs. A water tank in the area also exists, but for agricultural uses only. Localised belief systems and customary norms continue to prevail upon their existence in each of these villages, despite their relative hardships. At least three of repeated factors remain as justifications for their continued association with the land that they occupy viz. spatial identity, social identity and ancestral association. All of these factors remain interconnected by virtue of the obeisance they have towards the local leadership, and the spatial and social identities are conditioned by local marriage patterns, as well as their beliefs in the oversight of their ancestral spirits in their daily lives. By virtue of having them buried on their homestead properties the belief is that ancestral spirits 5 prevail as an omniscient and omnipresent force which requires permanent occupation by the living as an appeasement to their continued sustainable inter-relationships. The consequences of such a belief system is an unshakeable belief in an eternal association with the land, precluding any possibility of relocation for the sake of improved service deliveries, including piped water to their homes Women bear the brunt of this belief system in the area and therefore have to travel long distances to collect clean drinkable water, often under challenging if not dangerous circumstances. Women in rural areas such as Cwebe, Ntilini and Mbelu (notwithstanding other areas all over South Africa) do not feel the impact these policies have made on the lives of women in urban areas. Rural women still feel isolated in the development planning that is theoretically intended to benefit them, because their views and experiences are not caucused. While post-Apartheid South Africa lays claim to a constitution that matches the most progressive in the world, there remains startling inconsistencies in the ways in which ground realities are given due conscience.
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    The life and experiences of young women (19-35 years) living on the streets of Pietermaritzburg CBD and surroundings.
    (2018) Zondi, Lungile Prudence.; Ojong, Vivian Besem.
    Little was known about the life and experiences of young women (19-35 years) living on the streets of the Pietermaritzburg CBD and surroundings in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa prior to this study. In order to investigate this subject, a combination of qualitative research (by means of the life history method through the use of in-depth interviews, focus group discussion and direct observations as data collection methods) and four theoretical frameworks (being the African Feminist theory, the Vulnerability Model, the Social Identity theory and the Social Network theory) were used. Collected narratives relating to streetism which were anthropologically recorded contribute to this study and overall, to the existing body of knowledge. This thesis contributes to the existing literature that a myriad of factors such as ancestral calling, food poisoning, whoonga/nyaope addiction (side effects comes with not having a monthly menstrual cycle as well as stomach pains called roosta), self-defence, forced/arranged/early-marriages, food distribution and corporal punishment, grandmother and big brother headed families, family connections on the street as well as hereditary recurrences are push and pull factors that has led the twenty (20) young women to the street. These push and pull factors validate that street-related reasons are homogenous and they need to be contextually studied. The study also finds that these women possess obscured and misconstrued identities that comes with living on the street and they actively use fending strategies for survival. Fending strategies include, hourly prostitution, standing on the road intersections and working as car-guards during the day and night. I argue that their vulnerability context includes being treated less of human being, smuggling whoonga/nyaope, unpaid prostitution, being beaten up by law enforcers and the death of their friends while sleeping. Despite such, the study finds that they are sceptical about being reunited to their families. Street groups/networks are influenced by prison life as they appear on the streets as either the 26’s or the 28’s and that such groups shape their identity as well as the language that they speak on the streets. Research recommendations as well as responsive interventions that policy custodians can embark on based on other African countries are part of the content of this thesis.
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    The life histories of traditional birth attendants in the context of changing reproductive health practices in uMzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2017) Scina, Yonela.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    This is a study of the life histories of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) based in uMzimkhulu in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The study sought to explore the life histories of the TBAs, their practices, rituals and attitudes. It further investigates the attitudes of women who make use of their services and those who prefer not to. TBAs fall into the cultural realm of traditional medicine and offer traditional medicine and rituals to pregnant women. uMzimkhulu is small town in a rural area where the use of traditional medicine is popular, regardless of free access to western health care facilities. Culture still plays an important role in this community, and for successful pregnancies, many women in the community seek the services of TBAs. This study has found that traditional medicine plays a ‘silent role’ in the health care system as many pregnant women continue to seek traditional sources of health care; in the case of uMzimkhulu, many of the participants preferred to use medicines prepared by TBAs during their pregnancies. The study adopted a qualitative research design. The research techniques included in-depth interviews and participant observation techniques. Interactions with the TBAs took place at their homes which allowed the researcher first-hand experience of the relationship between TBAs and the women that seek their services. Other interactions took place in the homes of the participating women and at the Rietvlei hospital where the health care practitioners work. Three theoretical perspectives were adopted in this study: African feminist theory, social identity theory and the social capital theory. The life histories of the TBAs contributed to a rich understanding of reproductive health care from the perspective of TBAs, their attitudes and experiences. Furthermore, a better understanding was gained of the practices they offer and the cultural meanings attached by those who seek the services of TBAs. This study has demonstrated the important role culture plays in the lives of the participants. Cultural background influenced many decisions made by the pregnant participants with regard to their health seeking behaviour. Despite efforts of the western hegemonic health care system practitioners to discourage women from using alternative traditional medicines, many continue to use these with the view that western medicine does not fully protect their pregnancies.
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    African indigenous knowledge systems in contemporary conflict transformation : a case study of the Bakweri people of the Southern West Region of Cameroon.
    (2017) Ferim, Valery Buinwi.; Kaya, Hassan Omari.
    The aim of this study was to investigate the relevance of African Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AIKS) in contemporary conflict transformation with specific reference to the chieftaincy of the Bakweri people of the South West Region of Cameroon. The study population comprised of Bakweri indigenes as well as settlers and other short-term residents in the district of Buea such as students, business people and government employees. Taking into consideration the holistic and community-based nature of indigenous knowledge systems, interactive research methods such as in-depth interviews, participant observation, and focus group discussions were used data collection. The qualitative data from both the primary and secondary sources were analysed through content analysis. A combination of theoretical frameworks were used to analyse the challenges and prospects of using Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in contemporary conflict transformation among the Bakweri people in Buea. These included endogenous development, the postcolonial theory, the modernisation theory and the concept of integralism. The study revealed that due to the political, social, economic and cultural significance of the Buea, the contemporary conflict issues among the Bakweri people arose from land, marriage, crime, corruption and those associated with the proliferation of Pentecostal churches. It was also found that although the Bakweri people have a rich history of indigenous institutions, the most resilient of these, even in contemporary times, is the chieftaincy. The institution is very central to the cultural, economic and political ethos of local communities. In spite of this, the Bakweri chieftaincy and associated indigenous institutions tended to be marginalised by the state in the search for sustainable solutions to contemporary conflicts. The policy makers did not take the chieftaincy seriously in policy implementation. The Bakweri chieftaincy and associated indigenous institutions had certain limitations which undermined their relevance in mitigating contemporary conflicts. These included the appointment of chiefs by the state, the system being dominated by the French bureaucratic system which marginalized African traditional leadership systems, rent-seeking, the patriarchal nature of the Bakweri customary law and the impact of heterogeneity on Bakweri culture. This is compounded by the fact that state-based structures are laden with excessive bureaucratic red tapes, corruption, low morale and a culture of impunity in the civil service. The study recommended the need for conflict resolution mechanisms to adopt a bottom-up approach and for governments to empower indigenous structures to resolve their own conflicts. There is also need for further research using different cases, on the relevance of indigenous approaches to conflict transformation in the era of globalisation in order to build on or challenge existing theories. Furthermore, traditional institutions have to be interfaced with modern institutions to meet the contemporary challenges arising from globalization.
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    An investigation of methods used by the southern Nguni in healing ukuhanjwa illness.
    (2015) Ngqila, Kholekile Hazel.; Muzvidziwa, Victor Ngonidzashe.
    Beliefs about health, as well as what makes people ill, are strongly influenced by culture. Beliefs tend to guide people as far as which healing approach they should apply. Hence, the focus of the thesis was on the source of the healing power in terms of preferred healing methods, and how these healing methods connect to the illness, ukuhanjwa. The research embraces attributional theory which recognises that certain illnesses are attributed to spiritual and social causes rather than biomedical causes. The study opts for a holistic healing approach to understanding ukuhanjwa. The Southern Nguni’s recognition of ukuhanjwa defines the illness as entry into the body by ‘familiars’. An examination of the specific healing methods used by the Southern Nguni reveals a socially constructed causal link between ukuhanjwa and the familiars. Issues explored included the source of healing power in the preferred healing method; the conceptualisation of ukuhanjwa; healing of ukuhanjwa as a cultural phenomenon; the social construction of authenticity in the efficacy of the healing methods; and the continued use of the preferred healing methods despite the evolution of biomedical healing methods. The ethnographic study took place in the OR Tambo District Municipality (ORTDM) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Data was collected using qualitative and ethnographic research methods focusing on in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observations amongst a sample group of 50 participants. Regarding the focus of the study, which was on the source of the healing power of traditional healing methods, findings revealed four sources of the healing power. Findings also revealed that biomedical healing methods have been popularly portrayed to be superior. This caused the Southern Nguni people to conclude that all those illnesses which cannot be recognised or cured by using biomedical health system are invisible. The supposed invisibility of ukuhanjwa emanates from the fact that biomedical practitioners separate the cause of the illness from the symptoms and find little correlation between the symptoms. The Southern Nguni do not separate the symptoms from one another, just as they do not separate the symptoms from the cause. This results in a linguistic and diagnostic discourse regarding the approach used by the Southern Nguni and that used by biomedical practitioners in dealing with ukuhanjwa. The Southern Nguni preference for traditional healing methods has to do with the view that ritual purification of the victim is the best way of dealing with spiritually caused illnesses such as ukuhanjwa to expel spiritual pollution for holistic (spiritual and physical) healing. Ritual purification is believed to have the necessary ‘cooling’ effect for expelling spiritual pollution from the victim – hence the Southern Nguni people resort to pluralistic tendencies in healing. Four sources of the healing power in traditional healing meathods have been established. The first is the natural magic and spiritual power resulting from God’s signature, working by ‘sympathetic magic’. The second is the level of trust, belief and faith that Southern Nguni people have in the efficacy of the healing power and the person recommending the healing method. The last two sources were found to be the ritual timing and ritual space for successful healing of ukhanjwa illness. Traditional people tend to lack the patience for preventive measures. They prefer dramatic, visual and once-off healing methods. What does not work for them is slow, consistent healing methods and preventive measures which work in unseen ways – hence they fail to use preventive measures for ukuhanjwa.
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    Food decisions and cultural perceptions of overweight and obesity: the case of Zulu women in Durban, South Africa.
    (2014) Ogana, Winifred Nyatima.; Ojong, Vivian Besem.
    This study investigates why Durban-based Zulu women in particular are experiencing a fairly recent exaggerated trend in weight gain. Relatively little has been written on this subject from a cultural anthropology perspective in general and in particular a food anthropological approach, which therefore remains a neglected field of study in South Africa. The study consisted of four objectives leading to knowledge that could have wide application towards curbing overweight and obesity among communities with similar belief systems and practices. Since no single theory proved satisfactory to explain weight-related trends among Zulu women, the study hinged largely on cultural aspects supported by postcolonial feminist theory, postmodern feminist theory, acculturation theory and symbolic interactionism theory. Through qualitative inquiry, the following methods were used to gather data: in-depth interviews, group discussions and ethnographic observation. Data was gathered from 50 female and five male participants drawn mainly from the Durban-based University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus. The study’s 20 key research participants, half of whom were under 35, were identified for their ability to analyse and interpret their observations on the research topic. The first objective investigated the discourses of food decisions and cultural perceptions associated with weight and attendant health conditions. Related concerns included what participants ate, why, the quantities eaten, how often, when and with whom they ate, and under what circumstances and physical environments. Overarching the above aspects were associated symbolisms that shed light on factors that predispose Durban-based Zulu women to overweight and obesity against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. Unlike contemporary trends in the Western world, the majority of study participants were not overly pre-occupied by the nutritive value of food or weight gain. The second objective highlighted food consumption patterns and weight-related health implications from an anthropological perspective. Paradoxically, while the plump woman is deemed healthy from cultural Zulu thinking, from a public health perspective such a body is considered unhealthy since excessive body fat is the precursor of a host of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NR-NCDs) or chronic diseases of lifestyle (CDLs). The thin ideal of a female body is idolized in the West is considered sickly among traditional Zulu thinkers. For example, to avoid being stigmatized in the contemporary AIDS era, thin women who are HIV-negative deliberately eat fattening junk foods in a bid to put on weight, while HIV-positive women maintain their weight specifically for this purpose. The third objective centred on body image and identity, with participants indicating that weight tolerance among the majority of Zulu men and women was diametrically opposed to the thin ideal of a female body. The participants indicated the Zulus traditionally appreciated the fuller body exemplified by the following positive attributes among others: beauty, sexual desirability, fecundity, healthy, physical hardiness, happiness, being good-humoured, kindness, good nurturance, generosity, respectability, wealth, success and affluence. Thin people, on the other hand were deemed unhealthy, weak or not hardy physically, miserable, miserly and ugly. In the 21st century the above-mentioned buxom woman is still largely deemed the epitome of attractiveness among the Zulu, especially by the older generation. Consequently, a fast-widening generational schism has occurred in the conflicting standpoints between Zulu parents and their young, especially in urban settings. Nonetheless, according to participants, neither generation necessarily deems overweight or obesity as key health concerns, unless faced with accompanying maladies. The fourth objective deliberated on efforts to discipline the body either through dieting or effecting lifestyle changes. The quest for bodily perfectionism has left in its wake a small but rising number of young women (those aged under 35) of Zulu ethnicity who have begun suffering certain extremes found in the West, where the desire to be thin has led to anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa (otherwise known as binging followed by vomiting), over-dieting and over-exercising physically. Such actions among participants suggest they are pursuing an elusive dream that is overly detrimental from both at a physiological and psychological level, as evident among their counterparts in the West. For example, some individuals are torn between two worlds – traditional Zulu and Western – to which they hold allegiance concurrently based on Zulu and Western notions of the female body ideal. In the process, some of the adversely affected women are attaining obsessive levels similar to those in the west in terms of weight watching, where body dissatisfaction heightens based on the disparity between an individual’s imagined and actual ideal. In addition the study noted that over time Zulu women’s body dissatisfaction based on attaining the thin ideal is escalating among participants and fellow community members, especially on the basis of sex, age, education level, and class as well as to a lesser extent, the geographic rural-urban divide. According to study participants this was also the case where, young and older men beginning to show greater preference for slim female bodies that are increasingly perceived to be more-sexually adept in bed than their heftier female counterparts. To this end, participants indicated various measures women of their ethnicity took towards attaining the slender body. As a result, millions of Rand are invested in South Africa’s burgeoning body weight industry. Customers are exposed to a wide array of over-the counter slimming products, as well as concoctions prescribed by izinyanga (herbalists), izangoma (diviners) and pharmacists; body-sculpting products such as underwear with spandex, to rein in body flab in the torso; high heel shoes to create an illusion of extra height thus a slimmer silhouette; weight loss technologies and exercises. In addition, more women of Zulu ethnicity are engaging in forms of exercise that include walking, jogging, swimming, attending the gym, dancercise (dancing for exercise), and sexercise (engaging in sex as exercise), among other activities. Considering the upsurge of overweight and obesity, among key recommendations was that since there is a dearth of information in this study’s area of research in South Africa, a lot of applied research is required in the field of applied anthropology. Such a venture could aim at health education and promotion associated with preventive health as opposed to focusing on curative health; the latter being the main focus at present. The preventive health approach would be more beneficial in terms not only of lessening physiological and psychological trauma of ill health, but also millions of Rand required for curative processes, many of which involve chronic medication. In addition, kknowledge gathered in this study has the potential to contribute towards health promotion geared not only in advocating towards improving women’s health in terms of diet and lifestyle, but that of their families as well. Women’s role in this respect is crucial in that they are best positioned to advocate for change by virtue of not only being key food providers, but as health carers in society as well.
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    Beadwork identity as brand equity: an analysis of beadwork conventions as the basis for craft economies in KwaZulu-Natal, with specific emphasis on the beadwork of Amanyuswa.
    (2014) Gatfield, Rowan Christopher.; Ojong, Vivian Besem.; Sithole, Maureen Phathisiwe.
    The Zulu identity appears to have enjoyed precedence over other polity identities in KwaZulu-­‐Natal for what is largely viewed as time immemorial. Yet, a cursory glance at emergent literature on the Zulu and what has come to be called ‘Zuluness’, the reification of this identity, reveals that in every instance, where the term ‘Zulu’ is perpetuated as if an overarching singular socio-­‐political entity, ethical questions emerge. In economic terms these questions become inflamed, particularly within Tourism related industries, where products and services are being sold as authentically ‘Zulu’, thereby negating other potential for varied brand offerings. Much of the body of literature on beadwork appears to be similarly ‘framed’, by this seemingly unopposed view of the Zulu. When juxtaposed against the dire poverty within the province, compounded through HIV/AIDS, and retail sites saturated with ‘Zulu’ product, such as beadwork, the value of brand diversification emerges. Based on this premise, this study examines how polity identity within the Zulu might translate into the alleviation of poverty through micro-­‐economic approaches, by capitalising on visual anthropologies in the form of beadwork identity. To this end, this thesis examines whether the people within one such polity, the amaNyuswa at KwaNyuswa, in the region known as the ‘Valley of a Thousand Hills’, in KwaZulu-­‐Natal, continue to maintain the use of this identity and elect to define that identity through a beadwork convention. Further, it examines whether such forms of denotation can serve as a basis for a departure from the existing position on beadwork and its relationship to the Zulu brand. This study therefore examines the historical, political, cultural and socio-­‐economic factors that continue to impact on the survival of amaNyuswa identity, from numerous theoretical perspectives. Methodologically this study draws on the training and experience of the researcher as a visual communication design practitioner and educator, employing a reflexive ethnographic research framework through which to interpretivistically deepen understanding on beadwork conventions of amaNyuswa, in relation to other beadwork conventions within the Zulu. Drawing on qualitative data gained through unstructured interviews and participant observation, by attending numerous traditional events, and in design-­‐ based engagements with three craft collectives -­‐ Sigaba Ngezandla, Simunye and Zamimpilo, in KwaNyuswa, and with Durban Beachfront Craft retailers and Rickshaw Pullers, it discusses various prototype handbags and Rickshaw cart and outfit designs developed to test the value of beadwork denotation in serving micro-­‐enterprise and polity-­‐based brands. The findings of this study point to the value of polity-­‐based branding and product development, but also represent the value of visual ethnographic analysis towards understanding the material culture of those from the amaNyuswa, the extended amaQadi, and the larger amaNgcobo polity. Many of these groups elect to denotatively represent themselves through isijolovane , also referred to as isiyolovane , the beadwork convention said to look like colorful ‘peas’ floating in a black ‘soup’, examples of which were found across KZN province. These findings not only point to a new way in which oral records might be validated through beadwork, but also serve to challenge the commonly heralded view, particularly in the Tourism sector, that the Zulu are a singular identity represented by a single beadwork convention known as isimodeni, or the view held by many scholars that Zulu beadwork is simply comprised of a limited number styles, or as merely denoting large regions in the KZN province. Instead the outcomes of this study represent a step towards a reconstituted perspective of beadwork as being a denotative tool for communicating polity allegiance and for representing the diaspora of identities within the Zulu, displaced through time and circumstance across South East Africa. These findings are underpinned through the analysis of secondary data, accessed in museums; in beadwork archives, across KwaZulu-­‐Natal; online; and in relevant texts.
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    Brotherhood solidarity and the (re) negotiation of identity among Senegalese migrants in Durban.
    (2014) Fomunyam, Bilola Nicoline.; Ojong, Vivian Besem.
    This thesis based on a study titled “Brotherhood Solidarity and the (re) negotiation of identity among Senegalese migrants in Durban” examined Senegalese migration to South Africa, particularly Durban, and sought to show how these migrants negotiate and reconfigure their identities within a transnational context. The study principally set out to critically examine how Senegalese Mouride migrants exploit networks of solidarity and brotherhood through ‘dahira’ membership as an important source of social capital in negotiating their transnational identities. Being one of Senegal’s four major brotherhoods, the Muridiyya brotherhood possesses a deep-rooted organizational practice and solidarity system that plays a fundamental role in influencing migrants on how they make sense of the migratory experience. It is argued that Mouride networks assist its members in the social integration in host societies in maintaining transnational identities and are very important in providing migrants with spiritual and ideological points of reference and aiding the development of entrepreneurial networks and niche formation. The study equally highlights that there are embedded cultural and religious values and beliefs that constitute stepping-stones upon which Senegalese migrants choose this entrepreneurial livelihood pattern. The study opines that migration in Senegal is a complex and multifaceted enterprise which has become an integral part of people’s cultural and social lives. The gendered subject position of the woman as ‘nurturer’ and the man as ‘provider’ constitute an important facet of Senegalese identity construction and is a fundamental determinant of who migrates. The study argues that migration in this context is not simply an economic endeavour but is profoundly influenced by the culture. The Senegalese migrants regard it as a training experience, a rite of passage, an initiation process, an art, a means of world making and self-fashioning that paves the way for them to lay claims to their masculine identities. Migration for these men is associated with knowledge, adventure and ‘becoming a man’. Such a cultural disposition highlights the importance of migration for masculinity and explains why migration in Senegal has remained a male preserve. Women do not have the same autonomy as men to migrate given the stigma often attached to migrant women. It is also contended that failing to do this through non- migration is likely to result in alienation, loss of respect and self-esteem which sometimes lead to masculine gender-role stress. The study emphasizes how in renegotiating their identities in Durban the Senegalese migrants transcend ethnic and religious differences by using the consumption of home food as a common ground for a broader Senegalese identity where all internal differences are muzzled. Food in this context is a metaphor of self, a cultural feature and a non-verbal form of communication through which migrants construct the space in which they find themselves. Cuisine and culinary ways are an essential form of expression and important outlets used by Senegalese migrants to assert, sustain and reconfigure their identities in Durban. Finally, the study shows that deeply engrained in the culture of Senegalese migrants is the spirit of ‘Terenga’ solidarity whereby new social relationships are established while those already in existence are maintained.
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    Unfinished journeys : an exploration of agency within Somali women's lives and livelihoods in Johannesburg.
    (2013) Jinnah, Zaheera.; Singh, Anand.; Hiralal, Kalpana.
    No abstract available.
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    The role played by foreign African migrants in the promotion of African scholarship in the faculty of humanities, development and social sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2012) Otu, Monica Njanjokuma.; Ojong, Vivian Besem.
    This thesis is based on a study examining the concept of African scholarship through the contributions of foreign African academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses. Being branded “The Premier University of African Scholarship” the study principally set out to investigate the role played by these academics as possible conduits in the expansion of African scholarship within the knowledge production circuit. The concept of African scholarship, though not a novel term, remains an elusive category that still needs to be defined within the global knowledge economy. A cursory look at written literature around African scholarship reveals a general tendency that presents „the debate‟ much more as a theoretical engagement and less at empirical engagements that could help advance the practicalities of this concept within the different intellectual debates. Among the different pockets of intellectuals concerned with the vision of African scholarship, the African diaspora outside the continent has always played a leading role in the need to address the African knowledge paradigms within the global intellectual production of knowledge. This study is of significance because it engages with an emerging African diaspora within the South African space and attempts to highlight how their experiences as migrants help in broadening the understanding of the African experience as a knowledge site. Using in-depth interviews within a qualitative research framework in combination with the technique of observation, the findings of this study reveal that as an emerging diaspora, foreign African academics at UKZN, are actively taking advantage of the university‟s slogan to meaningfully (re)insert „Africanness‟ in the kind of knowledge that is produced in the institution. Their contributions are measured in terms of postgraduate supervision, new research agendas, pedagogic and curricular development and networks of collaborations with other universities in Africa. Using an anthropological approach the study equally examines the implications of the attempt to position African scholarship within the global knowledge production map. The study further highlights the role that social identities such as gender, language, nationality, and race can play as epistemic spaces in the advancement of African scholarship. By engaging with these markers, the debate advances beyond the current ad hoc manner of presenting African scholarship simplistically within political rhetoric to a more nuanced incorporation of other markers which should occupy epistemic spaces within the discourse of African scholarship.
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    Hidden migration, livelihoods, identities and citizenship : Malawians in the city of Durban.
    (2004) Vawda, Mehmood Shahid Essop.; McCarthy, Jeffrey J.; McCracken, Donal Patrick.
    This thesis is an investigation into the undocumented migration of Malawians to the city of Durban, and the influences on their livelihoods, identities and continued links to Malawi. In this context the thesis raises the issue of migration and citizenship. In the past Malawians were involved in contract migration system tightly controlled by the mining industry and the state, and in which their freedom of movement and association was circumscribed. This thesis argues that there is a new, emerging new form of migration, which may be termed transnational migration that has taken root since the early 1990s. It involves a web of links and networks created by transmigrants between Malawi and Durban. For a variety of reasons this transnational migration pattern is less visible, and largely hidden from the official gaze of the state. The reasons for migrating to Durban are mainly, through not exclusively economic ones, that is, about creating a livelihood, or multiple livelihoods. Malawian migrants become enmeshed in a series of livelihood itineraries as part of the chain of migration from towns and villages en route to, and in Durban. In pursuing their livelihood itineraries they begin to use their networks and other resources such as their ethnic and religious identities, family and friendship ties, nationality, accumulated experiences, skills and entrepreneurship to insert themselves in the city, and in the process, seek, find or create work in both the formal and informal sectors of the local economy. In this context they develop a sense of belonging to and being part of the city and begin to institutionalise their presence, contributing in many ways, both socially and economically to the city. The thesis argues that their presence, practices, dispositions and accomplishments in the city of Durban, and continued links to Malawi raise pertinent issues around the question of citizenship and migration.
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    Perceptions of and responses to transformation among people of Indian origin in post-apartheid South Africa: 1994-1999.
    (2000) Singh, Anand.
    The theme of this dissertation is reflected in its title and was written to capture this particular historical juncture in post-apartheid South Africa. It was inspired by a variety of factors, including the harsh historical experiences of the Indian population since their arrival as indentured labourers in 1860, the current reassertion of ethnic identities and widespread ethnically based conflicts throughout the world, and the minority rights campaign that is gaining momentum in Europe. The significance of the last point is that West European countries generally enjoy the status as trendsetters on social policy issues, and the rest of the developing world often tends to follow suit. In this respect, this dissertation attempts to illustrate how the views of the Indian minority on transformation, in between the 1994 and 1999 democratic general elections, have been influenced and shaped. Their experiences were important in ascertaining their perceptions and responses to transformation. Research was carried out in the Greater Durban Area across class boundaries, covering suburbs such as Reservoir Hills, Clare Estate, Asherville, Overport, Phoenix and Chatsworth. The outcome of this effort is contained in 229 pages consisting of ten chapters. It is viewed in the context of the circumstances that prevailed just before the county's first democratic general election of 27 April 1994, up to the period of the next general election of 2 June 1999. Of central concern here were the dynamics surrounding the inevitable transfer of power from the White minority to representatives of the Black majority, and how the smallest ethnic minority i.e. the people of Indian origin, were reacting to this process. Research was carried out on the issues about which respondents felt very strongly. These translated into chapters on the history of violence against Indians in South Africa, the widespread impoverishment that is overshadowed by the visibility of the Indian middle and upper classes, their perceptions of informal settlements, Indian priviledge versus African empowerment in the public transport sector in Durban, finding new schools, and emigration - viewed as a solution to some and a dream to others.
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    Demonizing women in the era of AIDS: an analysis of the gendered construction of HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal.
    (1999) Leclerc-Madlala, Suzanne.; Preston-Whyte, Eleanor.; Plaice, Evelyn.
    As the second decade of AIDS draws to a close, researchers and others involved in the AIDS effort have come to appreciate that complex interactions between social, cultural, biological and economic forces are involved in shaping the epidemiological course of the disease. Nevertheless, the process by which these variables interact and affect each other remains poorly understood, with many of the shaping forces yet to be fully explored. In South Africa, the sociocultural matrix in which the AIDS epidemic is embedded and its role in shaping the interpretation and experience of AIDS have not been fully analyzed. This thesis represents an attempt to elucidate the finer nuances of some commonly-held local beliefs, perceptions, symbolic representations, ethnomedical explanatory models and mythologies associated with AIDS. These associations are viewed as directly informing the way in which Zulu-speaking people are experiencing and responding to HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu Natal, currently home to 1/3 of the country's estimated 3 million HIV infected people. In particular, the focus is on the gender patterning of AIDS, with ethnographic data drawn from extensive field experience at St Wendolin's Mission, a peri-urban settlement in the Marianhill district of Durban. The shared perception of women as naturally 'dirty', as sexually 'out of control' and suspected of using witchcraft in new ways, are identified and discussed as key conceptual strands contributing to the sociocultural construction of HIV/AIDS in that community. It is argued that these notions are metaphorically joining and combining in ways that 'gender' the AIDS epidemic and simultaneously 'demonize' women. The central tenet of this thesis is that HIV/AIDS is fundamentally associated with women as a female caused and transmitted disease that can and does affect men. The author argues that the gendered construction of AIDS in St Wendolin's is a reflection of patriarchal resistance to women's changing roles and expectations that represent an overstepping of culturally defined moral boundaries. Deeply embedded ways of thinking associated with notions of gender are viewed as germane to the disempowerment of women that ultimately impedes the fight against HIV/AIDS. The thesis concludes with a discussion on the opportunity which the current AIDS epidemic presents for wider sociocultural transformation, and how this might be achieved through an AIDS 'education for liberation' based on the philosophies of Paulo Freire.
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    Negotiating the boundary : the response of Kwa Mashu Zionists to a volatile political climate.
    (1993) Mohr, Matthias.; Kiernan, James Patrick.
    Previous studies have demonstrated that Zulu Zionists remained peace-loving and politically quiescent in times of racial segregation and political injustice. Since then the political situation in South Africa has shifted dramatically and, despite the dismantling of apartheid structures and the unbanning of major Black political organisations, political violence and instability have becomethe order of the day. The main concern of this dissertation was therefore to explore the response of Zulu Zionists in Kwa Mashu to such a volatile political climate and to ascertain whether they can uphold their reputed apolitical attitude. It emerged from fieldwork, conducted in Kwa Mashu, Durban, over a period of 22 months, that their social boundaries, group cohesiveness and religious identity are threatened by the negative side-effects of an increased politicisation. Like their fellow township dwellers, Kwa Mashu Zionists are expected to take sides and are exposed to political propaganda and intimidation. Young Zionists, in particular, are prone to violate the apolitical stance of their church, for they are not only marginalized within their congregations but they are also the main object of political pressure and recruitment. However, it was found that the majority of Zionists successfully resisted being drawn completely into political participation and insisted on the retention of their religious values. Those who choose political partisanship defend their religious convictions and hold out against taking part in violent political competition. To counteract the intrusion of politically related damage and to prevent their youth from religious alienation, Zionists no longer exclusively emphasise the negative implications of politics but acknowledge the inevitability of being conscious about it. Zionists thereby reach an acceptable definition of politics which does not endanger group-cohesiveness and does little harm to their social boundaries. The conclusion reached in this study is that Kwa Mashu Zionists confront the encroachment of politics by transforming it into a harmless form of political consciousness. In this form Zionists can assimilate politics and employ it as an instrument for achieving their goals in the upliftment of the economic poor and the socially disadvantaged.
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    Believing and seeing : an interpretation of symbolic meanings in southern San rock paintings.
    (1977) Lewis-Williams, James David.; Argyle, W. John.
    No abstract available.