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Masters Degrees (Population Studies)

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    Dominant notions of masculinity fuelling violence among young male students Durban South Africa.
    (2022) Mndebele, Kwanele Mduduzi.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Universities are increasingly becoming hotspots for violent crimes such as murder, suicide, intimate partner violence, collective violence, and many other violent acts that have made headlines across the country. The prevalence of highly violent acts influenced the need to look at the socialization of young men into manhood as boys face challenges when they transition into manhood. This study aims to shed insights into notions of masculinity influencing violent behaviours among young male students in Durban. This research analyses the intersection of masculinity perceptions relative to violent behaviours to aid in expanding knowledge of intervention strategies. The sampling technique was purposive sampling to ensure that the information gathered from fifteen participants reflected the research objectives. The study used the thematic analysis method as a data collection tool to ensure meaningful, trustworthy, and insightful qualitative results. Social constructivism theory was used to provide further insights and understanding of how young men learn and model that masculinity can influence violent behaviours. The interviews indicate that the behaviour of young men at the university is primarily influenced by masculinity ideas that society has already expected them to conform to. The interviews suggest that young men at tertiary institutions strive to continuously achieve and maintain their social status by engaging in behaviours that align with social values perceived to be masculine. Furthermore, the findings indicate that some young men in tertiary institutions adhere to patriarchal ideals to strengthen their masculinity, earn respect, and maintain their social position, which may influence how frequently they use violence. Among higher education institutions, there is a gap in implementing more programs aimed at addressing gender norms and transforming modern masculinities to aid in combatting violence. The study identifies a great need for universities to provide professional services such as psychosocial support, online education programs, and organized forums and dialogues relating to violence among young males at universities.
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    Cohabitation among young people in Durban, South Africa: exploring perspectives and experiences.
    (2022) Mazibuko, Nondumiso Xolile.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Cohabitation has recently become a norm among young people. While it has been done even in the past, it was not as common as it is nowadays. The study explores the attitudes of young people towards cohabitation. The study draws on in-depth interviews conducted amongst young people residing in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. In total, there were 20 interviews that were conducted with both males and females. The findings indicate that cohabitation relationship among youth is becoming more prevalent and normal especially in the cities. Most cohabiting couples have different experiences as well as challenges. Both men and women have different attitudes when it comes to cohabitation. There are positive and negative impacts associated with being in a cohabiting relationship. Some couples get a chance to raise their children in an environment where there is a father and a mother as well. Other reasons for cohabitation include the high costs of lobola. The study suggested that people from rural areas should be educated about cohabitation in different ways, as the study has shown that in rural areas cohabitation is regarded as a taboo or disrespectful. There are some recommendations which were proposed such as there should be some facilities in rural areas where people will be taught more about cohabitation. There should also be some support groups that will accommodate people or couples who are facing challenges while cohabiting.
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    Determinants of teenage pregnancies in Zimbabwe: evidence from the demographic and health survey.
    (2022) Matamanda, Hussein Sailas.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Teenage pregnancy remains a big problem in Zimbabwe. The interaction of proximate and indirect determinants has perpetuated the problem of teenage pregnancy in Zimbabwe, despite the government’s efforts and intervention mechanisms to put an end to it. This study investigates the socio-economic and demographic determinants of teenage pregnancy in Zimbabwe, as well as the associated risk factors. The study addresses the gap in the literature of lack of research on determinants of teenage pregnancy in Zimbabwe from a national perspective. This is done by using data from the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), which is a comprehensive national data set. The ZDHS sample of females aged 15-19 years, which was 2199 at the time of enumeration, will serve as the study sample. Accurate insights and inferences about the finite population represented by the survey will be ensured through the use of survey weights. The factors linked to teenage pregnancy are identified using descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analyses. Religion, education, gender-based violence, and marital status were identified as socio-demographic factors associated with teenage pregnancy in Zimbabwe. Teenage pregnancy was also found to be linked to socio-economic status (SES), teenagers’ knowledge of contraceptive methods, and the ovulatory cycle. The study concluded that findings on the impact of education on teenage pregnancy have policy implications that cannot be overlooked, especially in light of the high rates of teenage pregnancy in Zimbabwe. To curb teenage pregnancy, education must be fostered and prioritized across all levels. Policymakers should make it possible for young women to remain enrolled in school by subsidizing or exempting school fees payment, especially for those who come from poor households. The government should also subsidize education and provide scholarships to young women who have children or who have become pregnant but want to return to school.
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    Perspectives and experiences of pregnancy among three generations of women in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2023) Blose, Thobeka S'Busisiwe.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    For the past few decades, there has been numerous studies done on pregnancy and factors that influence pregnancy. The rise in pregnancy among young people has led to an increasing concern as to what is the cause of it. Women across all generations have different perspectives and experiences of pregnancy outcomes. There might be an unwavering concern as to if mothers from across the three generations investigated influence their daughter’s outcome and perspectives of pregnancy. However, mothers have the minimal influence of their daughter’s pregnancy outcomes. This study aims to explore the influence of three generations namely grandmothers, mothers and daughters on pregnancy outcomes. All women were living in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Telephonic in-depth interviews were held with fifteen women, five from each generation. The interviews suggest that mothers do not solely influence their daughter’s pregnancy outcomes, but there are others factors such socio-economic factors which contribute to the pregnancy outcome. Additionally, the findings demonstrated that sex education remains taboo in most families. The findings also shed light on how unplanned pregnancies are caused by a lack of understanding, stigma, and knowledge about contraception. The study suggests that the intendedness of pregnancy must be revised from a more multidimensional and structural perspective in light of shifting demographics, community norms regarding sex, marriage, and contraception, as well as advancements in social research.
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    Complexities surrounding unpaid internships for historically disadvantaged students on Westville Campus, University of KwaZulu Natal.
    (2020) Dlamini, Abahle Samkelisiwe.; Vawda, Mohammed Yacoob.
    The primary aim of this study is to investigate the complexities surrounding internships among UKZN Westville students. This includes knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors towards internships (especially unpaid internships). To limit the scope of the relevant data and strengthen the study, this study draws from the employment relationship framework – under the larger umbrella of labour relations. This theoretical framework was instrumental in the entire study in terms of using the right research methods to better answer the research’s questions. The theoretical framework also limits generalisations by identifying the key elements and connections that inform the study’s direction. The framework is structured around four (4) elements or sub-theories: the unitarist, pluralist, Marxist and radical. This study adopted an explorative qualitative research approach for collecting the required data and the analysis thereof. In this qualitative research both semi-structured and in-depth interviews were used to evaluate the complexities surrounding internships among UKZN Westville students. A non-probability sampling method was used to recruit a total sample size of 15 participants. The findings from this study revealed that there are various factors influencing the complex relationship between unpaid internships and graduate employment within the studied population. Here, the results found that lack of compensation, social class, discrimination, favouritism, nepotisms, and lack of paid internships are some of the factors that impact on the complexities surrounding internships among UKZN Westville students. The results from this study further highlight that difficulties to get paid internships or work experience programmes is a challenge which restrict the potential for under-privileged groups to secure their first employment. In other words, the difficulties to find paid internships or work experience programme for under-privileged groups is related to the lack of work experience itself since they do not have the luxury of working for free while still taking care of their financial needs. In conclusion, the results from this study present a direct evaluation of the association between social class and graduates’ internships, and ultimately employability. The role of legal frameworks and stakeholders (such as government, higher institutions and employers) ultimately has the potentials to improving youths and/or graduates’ employability through the promotion of paid internships.
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    Determinants of the use of bed nets for the prevention of malaria for children under 5 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    (2017) Mukabaha, Ciza Silva.; Vermaak, Kerry.
    This study was conducted to explore the determinants of bed net usage for the protection of children under the age of five against malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The study aims to know the different socio-economic factors that affect child survival of malaria using bed nets and to determine the impact of these factors on bed net usage in preventing infection with the malaria parasite. The objectives are to determine child characteristics, mother or caregiver characteristic, and household characteristics associated with the use of bed net. To determine the impact of these above-mentioned characteristics, data from the second Demographic and Health Survey in the DRC (EDS-RDC II) was used. Data collected from 2013 to 2014 was analyzed using STATA IC version 2013 to answer research questions such as; the association between participant demographics and bed net usage, maternal education, marital status and their association with child protection using bed net. The last this research answered are more related to the gender of household head, the location of the household where the child lived as well as the household wealth and their influence on child sleeping or not to sleep in the bed net. Data was weighted to make the result nationally representative. The findings reveal that there is a relationship between most of the socioeconomic factors and the use of bed net for the protection of children under the age of five years in the DRC. Age of the child influences the use of bed net, this is so as the findings show that the younger a child is, the higher the chance of him/her sleeping under a bed net and vice-versa. The research findings also show that children who are under the care of a single mother have less chances of sleeping under the bed net as against children under the care of both parents who have higher chances of sleeping under bed nets. The importance of mother’s education is justified by this study because the less educated a woman is, the lesser the chances of a child sleeping under the bed net. Household wealth also shows an impact on the child survival against malaria.
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    A qualitative investigation into perspectives and experiences of motherhood: a study of university students in Durban.
    (2017) Shange, Lungisile.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Early childbearing is one of the problems facing the world today. South Africa is no exception to this problem, as a number of young girls are becoming mothers at a very young age. Although South Africa’s fertility rate has declined over the years, early childbearing remains high. The lack of contraceptive use is one of the leading reasons for early childbearing. South Africa is also one of the countries with a high prevalence of HIV especially among youth. However, this does not prevent young people from engaging in unprotected sex. The aim of this study is to shed insights into the perspectives and experiences of young mothers who are also university students. Data collection was done through face-to-face interviews. Twenty African women aged 18 to 24 years were recruited for this study. This study specifically focused on student mother who are raising their children by themselves. Findings suggest that juggling motherhood, while studying is not easy and it can have negative impacts on the academic performance of student mothers especially if they lack social support. One of the major problems faced by these young mothers is lack of time. Most of their time is spent traveling to and from school, taking care of their children after school and doing house chores. Most young mothers voiced that there is not enough time to focus on their studies; as a result, their academic progress is negatively affected. Student mothers who receive support from their families are however coping. Young people need to be taught about sexual reproductive health at a young age because some of them become mothers at a young age. There should be interventions and these interventions should include male youth because they also form part of the problem.
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    Exploring maternal health experiences of contraceptive use and anti-natal care for young women who marry early in Namaacha, Mozambique.
    (2017) Maximino, Gervasio Sebastiao Costumado.; Mohamed, Vawda.
    This study explores the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) experiences of women who marry early in Namaacha District of Mozambique. Young women who marry early are often forced into marriages and experience a life void of choices, about their SRHR. This study is anchored through a review of literature that examined the impact of early marriage practice, its trends, and determinants to influence SRHR decision-making both globally and locally; and is informed by a critical theoretical framework of Gender and Power proposed by Connell (1987). The research specifically explored how women talk about their experiences of maternal health (i.e., use of modern contraceptives and attendance of antenatal (ANC) care services during pregnancies); decision making processes regarding the use of contraceptive methods; and barriers/facilitators for effective use of modern contraceptives and antenatal care services. A life grid methodology from the qualitative interpretivist tradition was used to collect narrative data of ten adult women residing in Namaacha District in Mozambique. The women were selected using a purposive/judgmental and snowball sampling methods and selection was based on self reported criteria that they married early and had their first pregnancy before the age of eighteen. Two open ended interview guides were utilised to collect data and the interpretative phenomenological analytical method guided the data analysis process. The findings in this study revealed a positive prognosis regarding women’s use of modern contraceptives (MC) as well as attendance of ANC during pregnancy in Namaacha district. Despite reports of low and inconsistent use of MC as well as later attendance of ANC during pregnancy, participants reported having support from their community and respective husbands to utilise maternal health services. The majority of participants described how the information about the benefits of family planning methods that they have accessed, whether at the health centers, media or in community gatherings, motivate them to seek and use modern contraceptives. Participants mentioned using at least one or more modern contraceptive method during marriage and they could name some of the modern contraceptive methods currently available. Participants did not report attending four or more times ANC appointments during normal pregnancies as recommended by the literature on ANC model, however, they did report attending at least once during some of their pregnancies. The current struggle includes motivating women to start attending these services earlier in their pregnancies. From the participants’ stories, awareness of the personal and external barriers and facilitators to accessing information to empower themselves is critical. For them, early marriage is still deeply rooted in the community and culture, which in many ways affects their decision to seek and use contraceptives and ANC during pregnancy. The participants described living in privation of basic necessities and in an environment where their decision-making power around general issues and private ones were very low, particularly at early stages of their marriage. Thus, this study found that early marriage had negatively impacted women’s well-being and further possibilities of growth. Overall, participants described being satisfied with the marriage despite the challenges of it. They understand the negative impacts of early marriage on their lives but work within such patriarchal systems to change them.
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    Intergenerational relationships: experiences of grandmothers in caring for their grandchildren in an urban area in KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2021) Xaba, Nokhanyo.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    In some regions of the world, the practice of grandparents raising their grandchildren is not a new phenomenon. It has been observed that grandparents, particularly grandmothers, are increasingly taking on the parenting role and this is not surprising. Many South African children's main carers are their grandparents as a consequence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, unemployment, and other cultural challenges. Taking on the parental role, for most grandparents, comes with enormous financial, emotional, and social hardships. However, some grandparents manage to survive through the challenges by finding several coping strategies. Since studies have shown that grandmothers are more likely to be found raising their grandchildren than grandfathers, this study aimed to explore the perspectives and experiences of grandmothers in caring for their grandchildren in an urban area of KwaZulu-Natal. It specifically aimed to identify factors that influenced grandmothers to assume responsibility for their grandchildren, to describe the challenges experienced by grandmothers in raising their grandchildren, and finally, to establish the coping mechanism used by these grandmothers to address the challenges being experienced by them. To accomplish this, individual in-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with fifteen grandmothers from uMlazi township for about 10-20 minutes. According to the results of a thematic analysis, several factors prompted grandmothers to take on the burden of rearing their grandchildren. While some took on the role due to unforeseen circumstances such as death of parents, teenage pregnancy, abandonment and neglect, and absent parents- some willingly or voluntarily took on the role to avoid being lonely. They perceived the parental role as giving them hope for the future and embraced every moment of it. The findings revealed that most grandmothers are severely impacted in their caregiving position. They face several financial, social, emotional and sometimes health-related challenges, and while financial challenges appeared to be the most prominent, it was discovered that their primary sources of income are child support grant, and baking and selling of goods. Unfortunately, none received pension grant (since only one was eligible but lacked proper documentation.). To empower grandmothers, to encourage them to continue being the family pillars and to promote generational relationships, workshops on skills training, money production, and food gardening initiatives, for example, are recommended. To assist with the emotional burdens, support groups should be formed, and counselling programmes or sessions should be provided for grandparents. District/Municipal leaders should collaborate with NGOs to find possible ways of giving support to grandparents.
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    Exploring the living arrangements of the elderly in the rural area of Khambi village, Eastern Cape.
    (2021) Ntobongwana, Sibongiseni.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Living arrangements of the elderly people in rural South Africa are diverse and influenced by culture, politics and socio-economy. Elderly people in rural areas often face difficulties specific to their place of residence, low population density, geographic distance and difficulty accessing remote areas in particular which pose challenge for public transport service provision and community life. This study aims to shed insights into the living arrangements and living conditions of the elderly in Khambi village, Eastern Cape. Exploratory case study research design was used to elicit data from sixteen elderly participants who are 60 years and older using telephonic semi-structured interviews. The sampling technique used was snowball sampling and thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. This study draws on the hierarchy of human needs theory to better understand living arrangements and conditions of the elderly. The findings of the study shows that living arrangements of the elderly are affected by limited social services with less support from their families, community and government. Further results indicated that rural elderly people are living in poverty with poor health status, limited access to healthcare services, unsafe environment and lack of basic care. Elderly people are suffering due to lack and limited resources in their residences. Support is inadequate and not always available when the need arose. There is a great need for efficient care for rural elderly people to improve their living arrangements.
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    “That other student population group”: an investigation of academic, social, and psychological support services offered to students on augmented curriculum programmes: a case of UKZN BSS4 students’ (mis)perceptions and persistence”.
    (2022) Mtolo, Skhumbuzo Phila.; Vawda, Mahommed Yacoob.
    The main aim of this exploratory and descriptive qualitative study was to obtain an in-depth understanding of the university’s academic support services offered to students on the Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP). Therefore, the study interrogated how university academic support strategies, initiatives, mechanisms, and services assisted ECP students in attaining their academic goals. In this regard, three objectives of the study were developed, namely, (a) To explore (mis) perceptions and persistence of students towards UKZN BSS4’s academic, social, and psychological support services; (b) To determine the scope of academic, social, and psychological challenges faced by students within the UKZN BSS4 Extended Curriculum Programme in realizing their academic goals; and (c) To explore the role of Extended Curriculum Programme in facilitating academic equity. Using qualitative methods of data collection, the study found that misperceptions about the BSS4 emanated from the lack of proper academic guidance and misinformation; challenges faced by ECP students are multifaceted, intricately intertwined, and commonly shared, and responsive measures are reasonably efficient but there is still a need to improve and maintain their quality to more appreciated standards. This is fundamental because the failure of student support services to address the implicit existence of stereotypes, academic, and socio-psychological challenges has the potential of diminishing the sense of belonging, motivation, persistency, and self-efficacy with adverse academic consequences.
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    Exploring the impact of increasing class size on the quality of learning in higher education: perspective of students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Letseka, Lefa.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa’s higher education sector is grappling with the issue of large classes, having accommodated 473000 students in 1993, the number rose to 799388 in the period between 1993 and 2008 and the student headcount was 975837 in 2016 (Department of Higher education and Training (DHET), 2017). The rise in the number of students enrolling in tertiary institutions has led to an increase in class size. The focus of this qualitative study is to explore students’ perceptions of large classes concerning their learning. The study was conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Data was generated through telephonic interviews; this was done to adhere to covid lockdown regulations in South Africa which encourage social distancing, hence discouraging face-to-face interviews. The main findings of the study show that students in large classes are mainly affected by classroom incivility which often leads to disruptions and limited student and lecturer interactions. Students themselves describe the large class size learning environment as ‘stressful’ and less productive when compared to a smaller class size environment. Students of large classes are affected by conditions such as resource constraints, minimal student and lecturer interactions, and disruptive student behaviour. Findings show that some lecturers can mitigate large class size negative effects using effective classroom management techniques, such as establishing and preventing undesirable behaviour during lectures. The findings also show that students use certain techniques to overcome some undesired consequences of large classes. These include joining study groups and consulting academic tutors and lecturers when struggling to understand the course material. The participants of this study also advocate for greater self-reliance and thorough preparation before attending any lecture. It is recommended that lecturers incorporate teaching methods that encourage students’ participation in large classes. The study highlighted the need to investigate the aspects of a large class size environment that promote classroom incivility.
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    Alcohol use at universities: a case study of young students in Durban.
    (2021) Bhengu, Akhona Presentia.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Alcohol use is a global concern because of the health risks it poses that contributes to the overall burden of disease. Alcohol use among young people, especially university students, is concerning and a major public health issue because of the increasing levels of use. Excessive alcohol use can affect a young individual’s general health, emotional wellbeing, and their social development. There is a dearth of literature that focuses exclusively on the use of alcohol by male university students. This study aimed to fill this gap by providing insights into alcohol use by male university students by drawing on the qualitative research approach. In total, 20 semi-structured in-depth interviews were held with students at the University of KwaZulu- Natal. The findings of this study suggest that there is a high prevalence of alcohol use among the study sample. Students revealed that they first started using alcohol when they were at high school. In addition, the study revealed that individual, environmental and demographic factors contribute to alcohol use. Although students were aware of the adverse effects of alcohol use, they were also aware of and used various strategies to deal with these alcohol-related challenges. Similarly, the interviews suggest that male students had negative attitudes towards alcohol because of the bad experiences they encountered when they consumed alcohol. This study recommends that future research explores the factors that encourage and help students responsibly decrease alcohol use. Universities need to strengthen their responsibility to manage their students’ drinking patterns. Student driven alcohol awareness and education programmes by universities is also recommended to prevent alcohol use at campuses.
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    Exploring factors impacting on sexual and reproductive health service utilisation among immigrant women living in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2021) Mnisi, Jabulile Yolokazi.; Vermaak, Kerry.
    While the utilisation of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services among women significantly impact their health outcomes, research shows growing recognition to understand how access to SRH services impacts individuals’ use of these services. Globally, the increased accessibility of SRH services has seen improvements in the utilisation of these services among women. However, studies suggest that there are underlying inequalities in SRH service utilisation between migrant and non-migrant women. In countries of destination, immigrant women often face significant barriers to accessing and utilising sufficient SRH care and claiming their right to health. To understand these barriers, this study explored factors that impact the accessibility and utilisation of SRH services among immigrant women in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The qualitative data used in this study was collected from 13 immigrant women over the age of 20 years, who were sampled using purposive and snowball sampling in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. The findings of this study show that there are contextual, predisposing, resource, and need factors that influence the accessibility and utilisation of SRH services among immigrant women in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Participants noted experiences of xenophobia, prejudice, discrimination, and marginalisation as a result of the language barrier and inability to produce documentation that allows them to be in South Africa. In addition, while most participants are employed in the informal sector, they noted challenges of not affording medical aid/insurance to seek SRH care in the private healthcare sector when denied in the public healthcare sector. On a positive note, they expressed joy and a sense of relief to be in South Africa because they believed that the socio-economic and health situation of the country is better than the situation in their homelands. The importance and relevance of this study bring advocacy and awareness to the broader aspects of SRH, by taking into consideration the status quo of immigrant women in utilisation of SRH services in South Africa.
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    Perceptions and experiences of migrant informal traders: a case study in the small town of Howick Pietermaritzburg.
    (2021) Zuma, Laurencia Nonhlakanipho.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Over the past decade the number of people on the move has grown steadily. In the absence of formal employment options, many migrants turn to the informal economy to secure their livelihoods. The number of migrant informal traders in Howick has increased dramatically over the past few years. The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of migrant informal traders in the town of Howick and the treatment they receive from other local traders. The study also explores the contribution that informal trading has on the economy. The study used a qualitative research method drawing on 16 in-depth interviews conducted with migrants aged 20 years and above who owned informal businesses in Howick. Interviews were conducted with both male and female migrants. The findings of the study suggest that informal trading is contributing towards the economy through employing the locals, paying rents and providing goods to the communities. The findings also suggest that migrants are confronted with many challenges such as crime, xenophobia, demanding customers, the high cost of living, and corruption in the government officials. The interview suggests that there is no feeling between migrant and local traders and everyone has the goal of building a successful business. The research concludes by recommending that the government address corruption by taking legal actions against those officials involved in corruption and taking bribes. Campaigns will play a vital role in bringing awareness to social ills confronting migrants and finding way of bringing social cohesion between locals and migrants. Locals also need to be empowered to start their own businesses.
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    Contemporary partnership patterns among the Zulu population: perceptions of University of KwaZulu-Natal students.
    (2019) Ngobese, Sindisiwe Precious.; Nzimande, Nompumelelo.
    The Zulu ethnic group is grappling with the contestations between tradition and modernity, where it is hard to find families that are purely traditional or completely modernized. The hybrid of the two is more prevalent, particularly in urban settings. Meekers (1992) asserts that most African countries have not completely abandoned traditional practices despite modernization taking place, hence marriage is one of the family formation types that persist among Africans. Marriage among the Zulu population involves numerous compulsory stages with negotiations being required for customary marriage. These stages consist of: Lobola, which involves negotiations of the bride price; Umembeso, where the groom’s family brings gifts for the bride's family; Umbondo, where the bride's family brings groceries to the groom’s family; wedding/umshado, which is the actual wedding day; and Umabo, where the bride's family gives gifts to the groom’s family after the wedding (Anarldo, 2011). All stages are very significant and are all perceived as an integral part of the marriage as a union. In light of this, this study explores the perception of the marriage process among the Zulu university students who are living in a modern space but are also bound by some aspect of their culture. Not many studies have explored how the marriage process may influence changes in partnership patterns, including but not limited to cohabitation and staying single. This study utilizes a qualitative approach to exploring partnership patterns within the selected sub-population. In-depth interviews were conducted among twenty (20) postgraduate students from the age 25 and above with an equal gender split. Findings revealed that marriage is not a priority for the Zulu postgraduate students. Rather, the focus is on education and accumulation of resources before marriage. The findings reveal the relationship between the marriage process and the contemporary partnership pattern; that the Zulu process is a valued process that plays a huge role in ensuring the couple becomes one unit. However, there are still negative connotations attached to the process which inhibit marriage, leaving people with no choice but to pursue other types of partnership patterns such as singleness, living apart together and cohabiting. Although cohabitation is culturally unacceptable, the stigma is slowly eroding in that there are circumstances where cohabiting is acceptable.
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    Transitioning from homelands to South Africa: coping mechanisms employed by international students at institutions of higher learning.
    (2021) Ngema, Nokuphila Dawn.; Mtapuri, Oliver.
    While the number of international students studying in South Africa has increased in the past years, South Africa has become one of the few African countries where higher education is attainable and tertiary institutions are ranked amongst prominent international universities. However, the transition of international students from their homelands to South Africa may have a toll on them, which poses some unforeseen challenges. The aim of this study is to explore and analyse the experiences of international students and the various strategies or mechanisms they adopt to cope in South African universities and other institutions of higher learning. The secondary data used in this study was accessed through existing previous research studies, credible and authenticated published research from different reputable universities and credible online news sources. A content analysis strategy was used to analyse this information. Research shows that universities are increasingly required to educate a new generation of internationally competitive students to create an environment where innovation, adaptability, and change are encouraged, to make connections between global and local demands, and to maintain their cultural identities. Findings of this study show that international students often experience a variety of challenges as immigrants in host countries, and these include cultural shock, financial incapability, lack of communication due to language barrier and home sickness. In addition, students reported experiencing xenophobia, social and financial exclusions, and poor integration into the new environment remains some of the critical issues that affect international students in South Africa. With these experiences, the international students have developed different coping mechanisms, including joining immigrant social organisations, religious organisations, adaptation through learning local languages as a security measure and relying on other international student communities to tackle different social and economic hurdles. This study recommends that universities should provide compulsory local language proficiency training for international students, make services and opportunities inclusive and freely available for international students and encourage them to seek professional help for any psychological challenges due to different life stress and academic pressures.
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    Perspectives and experiences of youth of sexual and reproductive health services in Lindelani Township.
    (2021) Ngcobo, Nomthetho Debbie.; Maharaj, Pranitha.
    Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an essential part of life for every human being. Many countries have worked in solidarity to maintain barrier-free SRH services worldwide. However, young people continue to face many SRH challenges. Several initiatives have been implemented to reduce these challenges, but remains a range of prevalent issues relating to SRH services. Prioritizing young people’s health has been significant in many countries, and the goal is to provide comprehensive education and youth-friendly SRH services. Among the consequential SRH challenges that youth faces are the high rates of HIV and unintended pregnancies, which strain the country’s economy and further lead to premature death due to unsafe abortion. Adolescents and youth constitute a sizeable proportion of the world’s population, and they are more prone to experiencing SRH problems. Several studies have highlighted the essential need for SRH services directed at youth, yet the barriers continue to grow. There is a lack of information on the fundamental reasons leading to minimal SRH service use, leading to increased health problems. This study aims to explore the availability and accessibility of SRH services for youth by documenting their experiences. The study was conducted among youth in Lindelani Township who had their SRH services experiences from the health facility located in the area. The study’s overall goal was to explore the SRH services perspectives and experiences of young people in Lindelani Township. This study further examined SRH services available to young people, their expectations of SRH facilities, their experiences, and the barriers they face when they need to access SRH services. The study relied on a qualitative approach. For the study, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 16 young people, of which eight were females, and eight were males aged between 18 and 30 years. Participants were aware of the importance of SRH, and each of them has had SRH issues which led to seeking services at a health facility. During their visit to the health facility, the participants experienced numerous challenges such as the shortage of contraceptives and medication and the negative attitudes of health providers. Some male participants complained that SRH services catered more for females, and they felt that STI and HIV testing, counselling, and treatment were the only services available to them. Participants expressed concerns about their poorly equipped health facility, lack of iv professionalism, and lack of information. These have been significant concerns hindering young people from returning to the facility since their needs are partially met. Providing young people with easy access to SRH services and comprehensive sexual education from an early age will reduce the increasing numbers of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and HIV prevalence. Based on the findings, the study highlights the need for barrierfree SRH services, comprehensive information provision, and youth-friendly services.
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    Demographic, socio-economic, and the lifestyle risk factor of cigarette smoking associated with asthma in South African adults in 2017.
    (2019) Singh, Tanuja.; Vermaak, Kerry.
    The current study aimed to explore demographic factors, socio-economic factors and modifiable risk factors, mainly cigarette smoking, and the influence they had on asthma among South African adults in the year 2017. The general objective of the study was to determine the relationship of these factors on asthma and the prevalence of asthma and cigarette smoking in 2017. The study used the theoretical framework in the context of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health. The study was a quantitative research design that used the National Income Dynamics Survey dataset, wave 5 conducted in 2017 in South Africa. A sample of 15750 (aged 15-65) was used in this study, with 623 asthma diagnoses. The dependent variable was asthma and the independent variables were cigarette smoking, gender, age, race, marital status, employment status, geographic area, education attainment and household with per capita income. The results of the study confirmed significant associations between race, geographical area, education attainment and asthma. Coloureds and Whites were more likely to be diagnosed with asthma. Those residing in urban areas were more likely than those living in rural areas to have a asthma diagnosis. Those who attended Grade 10-11 and those with no matric were less likely to report been diagnosed with asthma. It was discovered that those who had a higher socio-economic standing may be less likely to have been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma is a major burden globally and has made its mark in South Africa. Controlling risk factors, along with the demographic and socio-economic risk factors will only help alleviate the exacerbations of the disease. Policies and health strategies have been put into place and should be practices on the daily to further treat and manage asthma. More studies on asthma should create an additional awareness and understanding of this non-communicable disease.