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Doctoral Degrees (Social work)

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    Deconstructing African identities: notions of fatherhood amongst Zulu men in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2023-08) Mdletshe, Prudence Thandeka.; Zibane, Sibonsile Zerurcia.; Hlengwa, Wellington Mthokozisi.
    This study is a decolonial study of fatherhood in South Africa. It is located within the broader ambit of decolonial liberatory psychology and Afrocentrism. It is informed by the hypothetical claim about the erosion of African cultures, being, and subjectivities. It posits that while fatherhood is obviously socially, culturally, and historically contingent, the Anglo-American notions of fatherhood are the most dominant in South Africa. This is because of the matrix of power of the modern colonial world system that undermines African identities. Data was collected using Indigenous research methods which share some similarities with qualitative research methods. These included the sharing circles and conversational interviews that were used to collect data. A total of two sharing circle interviews and 20 one-on-one in-depth conversational interviews were conducted in Eshowe which is a rural community of KwaZulu-Natal. Study participants consisted of Zulu people from 35 to 75 + years of age. The interviews were conducted in IsiZulu; and recorded using a digital audio-recorder, and then transcribed later. The transcription first took place in the language of the respondents and then were translated into English. Zulu Folklores and proverbs were also used in the data collection process. They also served as conversation starters, reflection points, and for stimulating the conversation exchanges in sharing circles. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). IPA was chosen because it is a method that allows for the data to be collected using Indigenous research methods. It is a qualitative analysis method that is primarily used in the disciplines of the human sciences. This method is mainly concerned with giving voice to the voiceless people who are either marginalized or excluded in society such as peasants, women, and indeed racialized populations. Most significantly, IPA also seeks to explore such participants’ experiences and the meaning they attribute to their experiences. The findings of the research are presented in the form of thick descriptions of the participant’s notions of fatherhood. The participants’ experiences, memories, and stories symbolized the resilience of indigenous knowledge systems in Eshowe. As one of the participants opined, as long as the Zulu people still live, their culture cannot be entirely obliterated by the old and new forms of colonialism.
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    Sweetening the pot: negotiation of agency and (re)construction of self for young, Black African UKZN female students in sugar daddy relationships.
    (2022) Ngcobo, Nolwazi Pearl.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    Informed by feminist post-structuralism and sexual script theory, in this study I investigated how young African women negotiate agency in sugar daddy (SD) relationships and their construction and (re)construction of self. The nineteen female students interviewed for this study drew on various religious, cultural, racial and class sexual scripts in their SD relationship experiences. Exploration of their formative sexual scripts or discourses brought to light how they understand, experience, and make choices about sexuality in their everyday lives as young African women who are students, in a post-apartheid context. From home (ekhaya) to university (evava), participants’ narratives suggested continuities and discontinuities. A discourse and content analysis of narratives revealed how these offer opportunities and constraints for young women in their attempt to exercise agency. Although in SD relationships, participants challenge the traditional scripts of love, intimacy and desire, the coercive effects of dominant ideologies of femininity are ever-present. Hegemonic masculinities in particular, function to regulate subject positions, and participants make choices within such regulations, thus highlighting the complementarity of emphasised femininity and hegemonic masculinity. It then appears that alongside choices and ability to challenge hegemonic masculinities in SD relationships, young African women’s discourses and practices also act to reaffirm them. The analysis of the narratives further revealed that young women are aware of the risks that SD relationships pose whether to their health, and or the ‘self’, and strategies to circumvent these risks within a neoliberal context are critically analysed. While these strategies position young women not as powerless victims, they simultaneously expose the broader societal conditions that constrain young women’s choices. Drawing on the results of the study and the literature, I make recommendations for social work education, practice and research.
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    Distance parenting: the views of domestic workers and their partners in the eThekwini Metro.
    (2018) Seepamore, Boitumelo Khothatso.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    The separation of children from their parents is widespread in South Africa, more so in Black families where a majority of parents have historically lived far from their children (Montgomery, Hosegood, Busza & Timæus, 2006). This study was designed to understand how men and women parented their children whom they did not live with. I was interested in how they negotiated parenting from a distance, and what implications this had for themselves, their children and caregivers. The study also aimed at understanding the meanings attached to parenthood against dominant constructions of motherhood and fatherhood. Informed by critical social work, I used an interview guide to gather data through in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions with the participants who were domestic workers employed and living in central Durban, in the eThekwini metro. Of the 33 females and 7 males who participated in the study, only one couple, who lived separately from each other took part. The inclusion criterion was that participants be domestic workers with children who were not co-resident for a minimum period of one year. Thematic analysis and critical discourse analysis constituted the basis of the analysis of the data. Despite distance parenting being widespread and normalised in many rural communities, the findings indicated that parents wanted to live with their children and raise them. The challenges in recruiting men to participate in a study, which they perceived as dealing with “women’s issues”, is in itself, telling. The few men who participated supported my initial assumption that men and women parent differently. While women were more nurturing and emotionally close to their children, men tended to construct responsible parenting in monetary terms. Mothers depended on othermothers in the community to care for their children, and despite distance, these mothers reconstructed mothering practices to suit their reality. Distance did not necessarily affect fatherhood which was defined along dominant hegemonic masculinities, but put pressure on men to be providers even when they were employed in the low income sector of domestic work. The study also showed the resourcefulness of domestic workers, and how they developed social protection systems for themselves, and their children and families. Finally, the study showed the agency of domestic workers, and that power between domestic workers and their employers is not unilateral, nor one directional as is always thought; workers are able to assert themselves, and meet their needs even in this ultra-exploitative and oppressive employment sector. Based on the study findings and the literature, policy and practice recommendations, and recommendations for further research are made.
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    Youth transitioning and transitioned out of child and youth care centres: perspectives of youth, family, caregivers and service providers in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2020) Moodley, Rajeshree.; Raniga, Tanusha.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    This qualitative study, conducted in the eThekwini Metropolitan area, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), was designed primarily to understand the perceptions and experiences of youth transitioning and those who had transitioned out of Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) within two years. Thematic analysis of interviews with a purposive sample of youth as principal participants traced their views and experiences from entry into care until their exit, and their post-exit experiences. Family caregivers/significant others and service providers were included to obtain multiple perspectives on the planning and the preparation for the transition and aftercare support. Such data triangulation provided for a holistic understanding of structural impediments and facilitating factors of youth transitioning out of CYCCs. The study contributes to emerging care-leaving research in the national and international discourse on youth transitioning out of CYCCs. Empirical evidence reveals that youth are unprepared for transitioning out of CYCCs and that they experience poor outcomes. They are amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society whose preparation for exit should, but rarely commences during entry into care. Although CYCCs facilitate dependency by their very structure and operation when youth transition out, mostly at 18 years, their childhood reaches a grinding, abrupt halt. Their immediate and spontaneous graduation into adulthood requires their fulfilment of “adult” roles, without a safety net, stripped of rights and entitlement that were afforded to them in care. Their challenges are compounded by expectations to return to an environment of chronic poverty, unemployment, poor education, discrimination, high rates of crime, violence and HIV and AIDs. Comparatively, their counterparts’ transitioning from their homes are supported and gradual, based on their readiness. The study proposes further research and recommends strengthening policies, legislation and resources for continuous services that improve the life chances of children and youth at CYCCs, aftercare services and the prevention of entry into CYCCs.
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    The influence of self-perceived identity, social power, and masculinity on attitudes towards violence against women amongst male youth in Newlands West, Durban.
    (2020) Nofemele, Pumla.; John-Langba, Johannes.
    Statistically, South Africa experiences some of the highest incidents of violence against women (VAW) in the world. The consequences are devasting not only for women but for society as a whole. The variables “Self-perceived identity, social power and masculinity” were crucial in providing a comprehensive insight into the factors that contribute to VAW among male youth. The study was framed by Social constructionism, Social identity theory and the Theory of planned behaviour. The study employed a qualitative research paradigm. The sampling strategies consisted of purposive and convenience techniques. The sample consisted of twenty-six male youth, between the ages of 18-34, all residing in the Newlands West community. The data collection strategy utilised was triangulation and data was collected using both focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. These were subsequently recorded with the permission of the participants to enable data analysis. To this end, thematic content analysis was employed to analyse the data effectively. The findings indicate that self-perceived identity processes among male youth occurs at a superficial level and is therefore limited. The restrictive gender norms that determine masculinity restricts male youth from completely engaging in self-evaluation and this often manifests into harmful behaviour. For this reason, self-perceived identity does influence attitudes towards VAW among male youth however in this study the lack of self-perceived identity was found to be a key factor in determining attitudes towards VAW. The findings also demonstrate that social power does influence attitudes towards VAW among male youth. Social power amongst participants was informed by the traditional masculine roles that are rooted in patriarchy. Therefore, social power is used to modify and control women which exacerbates gendered power inequalities. This is condoned by society and is instrumental in escalating VAW. A more comprehensive engagement at the community level including, programmes that target male youth, self-perceived identity tasks, social skills and the promotion of healthy relationships is recommended. Moreover, government departments should use a multi-sectoral approach in their engagements with communities and remain conscious of the nature of the content they deliver.
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    The challenges and experiences of youth leaving foster care system in South Africa.
    (2021) Dhludhlu, Sandile Lucas.; John-Langba, Johannes.
    Foster care placement in the Republic of South Africa remains the primary alternative care option for children seeking treatment and safety as illustrated in Section 150 of the Children`s Act 38 of 2005. Foster care seeks to ensure the care, protection and care of children in a safe and healthy condition. These children are provided monetary help in a form of foster child grant. Youngsters placed in foster care are viewed as legally adults at the age of 18 and, therefore, presumed capable of caring for themselves. The main goal of the study conducted, was to explore the challenges and experiences of youth leaving foster care system in South Africa. The researcher has followed the qualitative approach for the aim of this study. Explorative, descriptive and contextual research designs were applied to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges and experiences of youth leaving the foster care system in South Africa. A total of 18 social workers and 18 care leavers in the Gauteng Province (Tshwane District Municipality) from the Department of Social Development (DSD) and various Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCC) were purposively selected for the study. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. The theoretical frameworks employed to anchor the study are Ecological Systems Theory, Social Support Theory, Resilience Theory and Attachment Theory. Besides, the researcher utilised the constructivist/interpretivist paradigm in order to understand the participant`s viewpoints. In this study conducted for my Doctoral studies, it was found that these youths face the risk of losing much of the financial aid after leaving care. The South African Social Service Agency (SASSA) ceases the foster child grant when the child completes matric and have reached the age of 18 or do not go on with their school. This occurs irrespective of whether the child is unemployed or in work. According to the findings, children are put in foster care after they have been identified as children who need guidance and preservation as provided for in Section 150 of the Children`s Act 38 of 2005. The findings also indicated that the foster child grant play a significant part in meeting the fundamental and financial demands of children and youth placed in foster care. Furthermore, it was found that foster care placement offer various opportunities which includes provision of basic needs, therapy or counselling services, provision of family environment and shelter, educational opportunities, recreational or extra-mural activities, poverty alleviation, and promotion of independency. The participants indicated the following challenges; unemployment and lack of housing post foster care, change of foster care homes, lack of support from social workers and no re-unification services, teenage pregnancy and school dropouts, sexual abuse and prostitution. Lack of guidelines for preparing youth leaving the foster care system in South Africa was also identified as a challenge. Social workers always use their own discretion on preparing youth leaving care in South Africa. Furthermore, the findings indicate that care-leavers experienced inadequate provision of social support services from social workers and their families. In spite of lack of social support services, it was found that care-leavers often rely on their peers, siblings, religion, school and educational system as part of their social support or resilience. In addition, some of the care-leavers relied on abusing substances and they also engaged in sexual activities. The study concluded that youth who leave the foster care system should be thoroughly prepared to leave the foster care system in order to become independent young adults. Recommendations include making mandatory for foster parents and CYCCs to save money for foster children, rendering of supervision services post foster care placement, introduction of preparatory programmes for youth leaving care from 15-18 years, extending foster care placement beyond the age of 21 and establishment of shelters for youth leaving foster care system. Lastly, linking youth leaving care with available resources.
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    Exploring the students' experiences of (de)coloniality: a case study of Social Work programme at a South African university in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2020) Makhanya, Thembelihle Brenda.; Zibane, Sibonsile Zerurcia.
    This thesis unpacks African graduates' understanding of (de)colonial Higher Education through the narratives of post-graduate social work students and practitioners who attended a university located in KwaZulu-Natal. This study is inspired by the 2015/2016 #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall South African students’ movement, which called for a need to explore students' views about (de)coloniality in Higher Education. The case study was framed within the anti-colonial and Afrocentric theory and drawn on the tenets of the social constructionism paradigm in understanding the participants’ experiences of university education. Twenty-two (22) graduates who were purposively selected participated in this study. Data was collected through focus group discussions and semi-structured individual interviews. The collected data was analysed through thematic content and discourse analysis. In a setting dominated by colonial legacies, graduates spoke about coloniality as the endorsed activities that oppress African people's humanity through Western domination. The study findings suggest that colonial cultures, white supremacy, colonial language/s, and difficulty in accessing the African university not only hinder access of African students in higher education (HE), but also suppress their emancipation during academic engagements. The graduates thus spoke about teaching and learning pedagogies, epistemologies, and languages as vital instruments that enforce coloniality in social work education and practice. Although participants acknowledged the encountered transformations in the new democratic dispensation of South African higher education; they perceive such transformation as at the minimal. Graduates thus called for higher education institutions (HEIs) to be mindful of the stubborn and persistent colonial realities still existing in African universities.
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    Family sanctioned child kuchaya mapoto (cohabitation) in Zimbabwe: lived experiences of young people as child cohabiters.
    (2020) Gumbo, Thomas.; Mthembu-Mhlongo, Maude Nombulelo.
    Even though the phenomenon of child cohabitation is becoming widespread in Zimbabwe, very little is known about the drivers and the lived experiences of children cohabiting. Child cohabitation infringes on the fundamental rights of children that include the right to education, health, personal development, and undermines the best interests of the children involved in such a union. The study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of young people as child cohabiters in Zimbabwe. It is essential to highlight that all the young people who participated in this study started cohabiting when they were still children. The thesis strived to answer the following research questions (1) what are the lived experiences of young people as child cohabiters in Zimbabwe? (2) What are the drivers and consequences of kuchaya mapoto union amongst children in Zimbabwe? (3) What are the perceptions and views of parents concerning kuchaya mapoto unions involving children in Zimbabwe? (4) What are the intervention strategies to curb kuchaya mapoto unions in Zimbabwe? The study adopted a qualitative research design positioned within the interpretivist paradigm. Data was collected from a sample of 9 young people between the ages of 18-22 who explored their experiences as child cohabiters, 10 parents with children who are cohabiting, two social workers with experience working with children, one teacher, and one religious leader from the community of Dzivarasekwa. Data were analysed using both the thematic content analysis and discourse analysis. The findings indicated that young people do not cohabit willingly. Poverty, cultural beliefs, and practices when teenagers fall pregnant underline the decision for parents to enforce cohabitation as a precursor for future marriage. However, cohabitation undermines the health, and educational rights of young people, undermining their care and protection. The findings further demonstrated that the burden of managing parental responsibilities was overwhelming because of being young and inexperienced. Hence, it was difficult for the young male participants to provide for their families, which forced them to do strenuous odd jobs to be able to take responsibility for their families' upkeep. The young female participants, on the other hand, felt exploited and abused because they were forced to do all the household chores in their in-laws’ household. Feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, and regret contributed immensely to mental health issues for the young people. Apart from the challenges that the participants experienced as child cohabitors, some of the participants demonstrated resilience and a sense of agency not to remain as victims of their circumstances. These young people are taking care of their children and providing for them without adequate support from their respective families. Deconstructing the notion that teenage mothers and fathers are not capable of stepping up and taking responsibility for their children. They demonstrated that they were able to rise above dominant discourses that not only marginalize and disempower them but sees them as irresponsible individuals who are not capable of taking care of their children. The recommendations include the need for parents to monitor and supervise their children and be involved extensively in their lives. Additionally, the school and the community play an essential role in the reduction of teenage pregnancy, which was a significant contributor to child cohabitation in this current study. Hence, the need to create effective after school programmes such as sports clubs, scripture union clubs, debate clubs, and writing clubs in communities is important because these can provide a safe environment for children to be nurtured and disciplined. Teenagers are having sex, hence the distribution and availability of condoms in schools in Zimbabwe is critical in reducing the high rate of teenage pregnancy. Prioritising support for school-drop out is important, and the Zimbabwe government should put in place tangible mechanisms that support school re-entry for teenage girls that drop out of school due to pregnancy. Lastly, aligning laws relevant to children with the Constitution of Zimbabwe is fundamental in the protection of children from the repercussions of child cohabitation.
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    The experiences of senior women traditional leaders in addressing women abuse in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: an afrocentric and nego-feminist approach.
    (2019) Klaas-Makolomakwe, Gladys Nkareng.; Raniga, Tanusha.; Ngubane, Sihawukele Emmanuel.
    Women across the world are subjected to violence and experience gruesome forms of abuse. The problem of women abuse has exacerbated to far worse incidents being reported. Since the establishment of the new democratic dispensation in South Africa, this dire social problem has been acknowledged as a prominent political issue which is deeply connected to the private spaces of women. Traditional leaders have a critical role to play in addressing women abuse. This study explored the experiences of senior women traditional leaders in addressing women abuse. Underscored by Afrocentric and Nego-feminist frameworks, the study was conducted following a descriptive and interpretive research design. Data was collected from a purposely selected sample of 21 senior women traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal using semi-structured interviews. Thematic data analysis was used. This study revealed that various cases of abuse differing in magnitude and depth were encountered by senior women traditional leaders in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. Women who were victims of abuse were able to report abuse to senior women traditional leaders who exhibited empathy and care when addressing these cases. The study highlighted specific abilities about the strategies that senior women traditional leaders employed to address women abuse, the multiple challenges they faced and the support networks they had at their disposal. Their agency included making bold decisions to advocate for abused women to receive assistance they needed within traditional rural communities. The research participants raised concerns about the limitations imposed by the State on traditional leaders, which fuelled role conflict and hindered optimal services for women who were survivors of abuse. The study calls for the resuscitation of Afrocentric and Nego-feminist practices to mitigate the prevalence and dire effects of women abuse in rural communities. The findings also conclude that non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, the private sector and various ministries within government need to cooperate and collaborate with one another to ensure human rights of women, gender equality and awareness of women abuse.
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    The gender dimensions of the utilisation of agricultural inputs for food and income security : a case study of subsistence farming households in Goromonzi District, Zimbabwe.
    (2017) Mushunje, Mildred T.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    Based on the assumptions that women’s access to and utilisation of agricultural inputs leads to an improvement in household food and income security; that women and men make rational decisions in the utilisation of agriculture inputs; and that food insecurity is a result of structural inequalities, this study sought to understand the gender dynamics of the utilisation of agricultural inputs amongst women and men farmers. Informed by critical theory, the study was undertaken in Goromonzi district which is in a province in Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe. Through convenience sampling, a total of 30 participants - 15 women and 15 men - were selected from a list of 150 farmers. Data were collected through a triangulation process of qualitative research involving semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, case studies, review of secondary data and observation. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Data were analysed using critical discourse analysis. Emerging themes through data centred on household decision making processes in female headed and male headed households, how inputs were accessed, the influence of cultural norms and gendered stereotypes on the interactions within households and in the community and the fear of “going against the tide” in the quest for social justice. The main conclusions from the study were that gender stereotypes and social norms were key players in decision making, empowerment was a process and not a state of being, and that both women and men held responsible attitudes towards their household and felt compelled to provide for food security. Knowledge did not necessarily lead to action as all the participants had an understanding of gender issues but were not prepared to question or challenge prevailing injustices, for instance, their unwillingness to deal with the triple role of women and men’s supremacy within households and in community leadership structures. Based on the literature and the findings of this study, policy, practice and research recommendations are made, including the importance of social work engaging with sectors such as Ministries of Agriculture in order to address emerging issues on gender and agriculture. This was of particular importance in light of on-going discussion around climate change, which has been seen to affect women more profoundly than men, the role of social protection strategies related to food and nutrition security, and the potential contribution of critical and emancipatory approaches in challenging and undoing the normalisation of gender injustice.
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    Exploring experiences of displacement and cross-border migration in South Africa : implications for Social Work's commitment to Social Justice.
    (2016) Hölscher, Dorothee.; Bozalek, Vivienne G.; Ballard, Richard James.
    The phenomena of displacement and cross-border migration highlight pertinent injustices under conditions of globalisation and neoliberalism. Social work is entangled in these injustices. Against such background, this study was intended to explore the implications of displacement and cross-border migration in South Africa for social work’s commitment to social justice. I conducted a multisite ethnographic study while practicing as a social worker in a refugee services organisation and participating in the responses of a local church to the mass displacement of foreign nationals during South Africa’s first xenophobic pogroms. Data collection lasted from May 2008 to October 2009 and included a reflexive diary, life story interviews with cross-border migrants, and depth individual interviews with practitioners of care. The data was analysed using a combination of grounded theory and critical discourse analysis and was further explored with reference to a range of writings on social justice. While foregrounding feminist relational/ethics of care approaches, I also drew on the ideas of capabilities and agency, and considered anti-oppressive and structural traditions in social work. Five empirical papers emanated from this study and were published as scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals. Cross-border migrants participating in the study shared pervasive experiences of exclusion, exploitation, deprivation, powerlessness, violence, and Othering. Members of the church community and practitioners of care in both sites were witness to some of the injustices experienced by the migrants. In those situations that facilitated face-to-face encounters, the response was one of solidarity and care. However, I found a general disregard for the structural nature of the injustices experienced by the migrants. Practitioners and community members also disregarded their own implication in these injustices. In the absence of any sustained and political response, there was a tendency to reify the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions surrounding these encounters. When expectations towards successful interventions were not met, cross-border migrants tended to be blamed for their situation, apt to be framed as undeserving of help. Finally, members of all participant groups – cross-border migrants, practitioners of care and members of the church community – shared a range of negative emotions pertaining to their surrounding social injustices. Together, there was a tendency to re-enact historical scripts for relationships between members of different races, classes, and nationalities in post-apartheid South Africa. These scripts were structured further by a well-established welfare discourse around service provider/service user relationships. The thesis concludes with a number of recommendations. These concern, firstly, territorial borders and nation state membership as a specific source of injustice, and the need for targeted, yet multifaceted interventions in the field of social work with cross-border migrants. It is also recommended that efforts to mainstream feminist relational/ethics of care approaches continue, and that their compatibility with other ethical approaches be further explored. With regard to the formulation of aspirational statements such as the global definition of social work and its statement of ethical principles, I recommend greater recognition of the relational and process aspects of social justice, and that the language of the documents reflects notions of care and of social justice as a shared and forward-looking responsibility. Historical consciousness, contextual understanding, criticality and emotional reflexivity are highlighted as important ingredients in socially just interventions, as well as in teaching and learning and research practices. In this context, attention to emotion and affect should not be seen simply as an end in itself, but also be regarded as an important means to revitalise social work as a political practice. I suggest that the ideals of care, participatory parity and dialogical forms of engagement can usefully guide such endeavours. Finally, I recommend the formation of communities of practice to provide safe spaces for mutual support, debate, and to explore ways of responding to pertinent social injustices under difficult circumstances.
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    Marriage in contemporary Zulu society: implications for couple counselling.
    (2015) Haselau, Catherine Mary.; Kasiram, Madhubala Ishver.; Simpson, Barbara.
    Most Western therapeutic methods are based on the Western world view and are very individualistic, and may therefore not be appropriate for social work practice with African clients. This study focused specifically on marriage counselling. It aimed to explore the meaning of marriage among Zulu couples, elders and social workers with a view to recommending guidelines for marriage therapy with Zulu clients. The research study was qualitative in nature and was guided by social construction theory. In social construction theory the social practices that people engage in to interact with each other influence the meaning that is ascribed, and how the world is viewed and understood. Thus social interaction within any culture determines how a person perceives reality, and this influences one’s world view. As a result people with different world views will have a very different of understanding. The study explored the beliefs, values, traditions and practices of marriage in contemporary Zulu society, and examined the resulting implications for marriage counselling in order to develop best practice guidelines. The study took place in two phases. In the first phase twelve couples who defined themselves as Zulu, nine Zulu family elders who had given relationship advice to their family members, and ten Zulu social workers who worked with couples and families in the community were sourced using snow ball sampling. They were interviewed in depth about their experiences, beliefs and values of being married as Zulu people. Thematic and discourse analysis generated four main themes that were of significance in Zulu marriages: belonging, respect or hlonipha, spirituality and ubuntu. Each of these themes was interlinked with each other and generated a number of sub themes. In the second phase these results were discussed with the Durban and with the Pietermaritzburg FAMSA (the Family and Marriage Society of South Africa) social workers who specialise in marriage counselling. The feedback received added to the trustworthiness of the study and also facilitated an exploration of the implications for marriage counselling. The FAMSA social workers challenged the judgemental aspects of traditional helping and stressed that the social worker needs to rather facilitate change. As social workers therefore, we need to be familiar with both traditional African world views and values, and to appreciate how these values may be used in practice. Best practice guidelines were thus developed to include these traditional Zulu values.
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    Psychosocial, religious, and traditional framework for intervention in addressing challenges faced by adoptive families in developing countries : the case of Lesotho.
    Thabane, Botsoa Sophia.; Kasiram, Madhubala Ishver.
    Parenting quality is the single most important determinant of social and psychological wellbeing in humans. In the case of Lesotho, however, parenting can be undermined by a range of undesirable circumstances including orphaning; abandonment; and poor biological and adoptive parenting skills. While significant effort has been applied by the relevant government department to improve child welfare and protection services in Lesotho, more can still be done. The aim of this research was to understand the nature of challenges that may undermine adoptive parenting with the intention of promulgating measures to circumvent such challenges with specific reference to Lesotho. To achieve the above mentioned aim, data was collected from two samples (adoptive parents and child protection professionals) in Lesotho in 2014. The data was then analysed qualitatively to arrive at the conclusions. Three main findings emerged in the study: 1. Adoptive parents adopt on account of infertility; to mix their children’s sex; and as acts of goodwill. 2. More can be done to improve pre-adoption assessment; and 3. More can be done to improve post-adoption support. Against these main findings recommendations put forth include a pre-adoption assessment questionnaire; pre-adoption parenting training guidelines; parenting journal; as well as individualised video-aided post-adoption capacity building and parenting support.
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    Understanding child sex offenders : implications for the protection of children.
    (2014) Naidoo, Linda Krishnavani.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    Although largely underreported, the incidence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is increasing in South Africa within a context of engendered violence, inequalities, wider structural, cultural challenges, and the secrecy and myths, which surrounds this endemic social problem. There are two polarities of relevance to child protection in this thesis: the one involves understanding the mind-set and modus operandi of the sex offenders who sexually abuse children and the second involves understanding the entrapment and vulnerability of the victim. Understanding of these polarities has been synthesized to discern their implications for the prevention of child sexual abuse. The current study, which was conducted over three phases, was guided by a qualitative paradigm and set within a framework of critical social work theory. Critical theory focuses on the impact of socio-structural factors and dominant societal discourses on individual and family functioning, the relationship between structure and agency, the need to transcend the micro-macro divide in dealing with major psychosocial issues and the power of praxis. The first phase of the research entailed analysing the characteristics and the life experiences of twelve child sex offenders. In phase two, the testimonies of the child sex offenders were assimilated in the production of a DVD, on the mind-set and strategies adopted in sexually abusing children. In phase three the DVD was screened and various service providers and parents of sexually abused children, reflected on and assessed the lessons associated with understanding the offenders methods in selecting, grooming children, ensuring compliance, non-disclosure, desensitization, maintaining them as victims and avoiding detection. The findings indicate that understanding of the mindset and strategies of the offender has implications for child protection, within a context of altered structural factors, systems and institutions. Further implications and practical recommendations for prevention are provided.
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    Narratives on abortion : psychological, ethical and religious considerations.
    (2013) Gilbert, Indira.; Sewpaul, Vishanthie.
    The introduction of the Termination of Pregnancy Act, No. 92 of 1996 was welcomed by pro-choice groups but it did raise strong opposition from pro-life groups. The pro-life/pro-life dichotomy reflects the polarization of extreme views and forms the basis of the intense abortion debate with little opportunity to reconcile the views. Although abortions are common in South Africa, not many studies have explored the experiences of women, men and health professionals related to abortions. This study aimed at fulfilling this gap. Adopting a qualitative paradigm and a feminist research design, it explored the psychosocial, religious and ethical considerations which affect women’s decision-making, and men’s and health professionals’ views on abortion. Analysis of the data was carried out by means of critical discourse analysis and presented according to several themes. The data challenges the conventional pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy. Despite deciding on the abortion, the language used by the women reflected decidedly pro-life views. None of them expressed the view that abortion was right. Their narratives reflected various structural conditions that pushed them into making the abortion decision. Despite living in a predominantly pronatalistic world, society generally prescribes the ideal conditions under which pregnancy and childbirth should occur. Thus pregnancy outside of the institution of marriage is frowned upon. Circumstances resulting from dominant pronatalistic and patriarchal discourses and practices that have made women unequal partners in society, force women to opt for decisions such as abortion. While the focus is on the fulfilment of women’s rights, from an individual liberal perspective, there is a general failure to appraise the structural conditions that fail women, thereby rendering women’s choices to be constrained by their social and financial circumstances. Based on the results of the study proposals are made with regard to future research on abortion, and policy and practice.
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    An exploration of the phenomena of multiple addictions and addiction interaction disorder in Durban, South Africa.
    (2013) Keen, Helen.; Sathiparsad, Reshma.; Taylor, Myra.
    Addiction to drugs is a widely acknowledged problem in South Africa. Newer developments in the study of addiction include behaviours such as gambling and sex as part of a broader syndrome. International research has established that most people with one addiction are at risk for co-occurring addictions which are frequently undiagnosed and untreated. Multiple addictions (MA) have been shown to combine in specific patterns to produce addiction interaction disorder (AID) resulting in a more complex, treatment- resistant illness. This was the first study South Africa to investigate if people with substance use disorders had other addictions. The research had three aims: to establish if in-patients admitted to three drug rehabilitation centres had other addictions, to investigate the extent of the MA and AID and to determine whether the treatment programmes managed them appropriately. The study employed the mixed methods research design and was located at three in-patient facilities in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. During the first phase, discussion groups were held with professionals that explored their perceptions of MA, AID and current treatment programmes. The second phase involved a survey of 123 participants screened for poly-substance abuse, sex (including internet) addiction and problem gambling. The third phase utilised in-depth interviews with 25 participants displaying MA to understand the development of addiction, AID and treatment received. The data were analysed utilising descriptive and statistical analysis for the survey data, and thematic analysis for the in-depth interviews and discussion groups. The study found a high incidence of MA within the survey population of 54%; 37% of participants tested positive or at risk for problem gambling and 41% tested positive for sex addiction with 24% of the participants being positive for both. In-depth interviews revealed high rates of trauma, especially for the female participants and demonstrated the complex interrelationship between addictions. AID was identified in all 25 participants. In KwaZulu- Natal, it appears that MA and AID are currently not being assessed or treated. The study highlights the need for a broader conceptualisation of addiction which would improve current assessment and treatment and has implications for further training of professionals and addiction policy in South Africa.
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    An exploration of rural communities' and government response strategies to drought in South Africa : the case of Msinga villages in KwaZulu-Natal province.
    (2010) Joseph, Rudigi Rukema.; Kaye, Sylvia.
    This thesis seeks to explore and examine the application and use of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in the management of drought through a case study of Msinga village communities in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal Province, paying specific attention to droughts that have been recorded and that prevail in the area. Government's policy aimed at mitigating and the effect of drought on communities and its effectiveness is examined as well. The question is whether government policy measures supplement rural communities' drought management strategies. The findings demonstrated that droughts are endemic in the study area and that drought-management strategies are as intrinsic to local livelihood systems as are seasonal-adjustment strategies. The findings also indicated that communities in Msinga have knowledge of drought management. However, this knowledge contributes very little to the management of drought. The findings also demonstrated that there is poor capacity in government to deal with disasters and this has serious repercussions for poor rural communities in Msinga. Disaster management requires disaster reduction, planning, and capacity to reduce the losses borne by impoverished households. This process will be more effective if there is efficient mobilization of resources, rapid responses, and a long-term strategy to prevent drought and reduce the risks of vulnerable groups, rather than transferring risks. The new legislation, the Disaster Management Act of 2002, should ensure that any form of financial and bureaucratic bottlenecks are eliminated so that assistance reaches people more quickly and is based on developing a long-term programme targeting the reduction of risks from the drought prevailing in Msinga. It is also important that NGOs in the area are empowered and involved in disaster management and are able to play their full role.
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    The social work profession in South Africa : Quo Vadis?
    (2004) Naidoo, Samantha.; Kasiram, Madhubala Ishver.
    The overall aim of this study was to research the status of social work in South Africa by examining what factors contribute towards social workers in South Africa leaving their country to seek employment in the UK. Further, current frustrations, problems and needs of social workers in South Africa and those working in the UK were investigated. The benefit of the study therefore was to evaluate the status of the social work profession at present, and to expand future professional services. The study utilised both the qualitative and quantitative research methods. The research was undertaken in two phases utilising three different sample groups. The two phases were: (1) Phase One - in which the researcher quantitatively researched social workers frustrations, problems and needs in South Africa and (2) Phase Two - in which the researcher qualitatively explored the difficulties, experiences and accomplishments of South African social workers who have relocated to the UK. In sample group 1 in Phase One of the study, eighty social workers who had applied to work in the UK were selected. While, in sample group 2, in Phase One of the study, eighty social workers who were remaining in South Africa, were randomly selected. In sample group 3, in Phase Two of the study, thirty social workers were derived from the social work relocation list of a known Recruitment Agency. The research tool was a mailed questionnaire for the two sample groups in Phase One of the study. Reasons to relocate or remain were asked of both sample groups, along with their suggestions for improving the image of social work in South Africa and contributing to its survival. In Phase Two of the study the researcher chose the qualitative method of data collection, namely focus group interviews. Within the focus group interviews social workers in the UK were able to share their experiences of relocation. Focus group thematic questions guided the group discussions to generate a rich understanding of the social workers' experiences and beliefs. In this study, research evidence was provided on the concerns plaguing the profession such as safety and security, service conditions, poor salaries, staff turnover, lack of supervision and support from agencies, ineffective graduates/educators, curriculum change, and continuing education. Alongside this research results also indicated that culture, family, social ties and climate were significant factors preventing social workers from leaving the country. Recommendations were made by social workers to improve the image of social work as a way of contributing to its survival. These recommendations included a unifying role to be played by the Council of Social Service Professions to tackle cogent issues such as service conditions; staff development/training in accord with the need for continuous professional development; relevancy of training curricula to the new developmental paradigm; competent educators; research, and using auxiliary workers in service delivery. These recommendations need to be incorporated into policy/plans set up to address relevancy, image and survival issues facing the profession. Other general recommendations for the profession to survive, was the need for a partnership to be established between employers, workers and educators working together to create new supportive structures and develop knowledge and skills on an on-going basis. A further component to consider in addressing the exodus of social workers was for policy-makers, employers, educators and the South African Council of Social Service Professions (SACSSP) to prevent any further under-valuing of the profession and its practitioners. Social workers need to be presented as valued and crucial role players in our newly developed democracy.
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    The validation of the Heimler Scale of Social Functioning (HSSF) for client groups in South Africa.
    (1986) Van Zyl, Michiel Adriaan.; Welch, Gary John.
    The problem identified as the focus of this study is the absence of a scale that measures social functioning with validated norms for any population group in South Africa. The need for such an instrument is highlighted by the importance of measurement to social work practice. Descriptions and definitions of "social functioning" in social work literature are evaluated and social functioning is operationally defined. Various approaches to the measurement of social functioning and contemporary ideas concerning the measurement of marital and family life are explored. Literature pertaining to the Heimler Scale of Social Functioning (HSSF), the measurement instrument selected in this study to measure social functioning, is examined and systematized and research findings on the HSSF are reviewed. The examination of the HSSF is focussed on the reliability of the scale for three population groups in South Africa : Whites, Indians and Blacks. The HSSF was administered to client sample groups (N = 281) from three types of welfare agencies in Durban, South Africa. These welfare organisations represent the counterparts of the British welfare agencies from which samples were drawn in the original validation study of the HSSF. As English and Zulu speaking clients are included in sample groups, the HSSF had to be translated into Zulu. The questions included in the HSSF appear to be suitable in a construct that attempts to measure social functioning and the Zulu translation of the HSSF appears to be acceptable. Findings of the study show that the international norms of the HSSF cannot be applied without adjustment across racial and ethnic boundaries and certain changes to the norms for specific client groups are recommended.
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    Stressful life situations of duodenal ulcer patients and the role of the medical social worker.
    (1983) Mason, Jean Beatrice.; Anderson, W. W.; Schlemmer, Lawrence.
    A study was undertaken of the stressful life situations of 87 duodenal ulcer patients (50 Indian and 37 Black males) and a control group of 75 non-ulcer patients (43 Indian and 32 Black males). The majority of the control group were orthopaedic patients selected on the grounds that they were not hospitalised for a psychosomatic complaint. The group emerged, however, as highly stressed in relation to possible work and income loss, because of their injuries. The duodenal ulcer and non-ulcer groups were similar in many demographic details and in several stressful life situations. There was a significantly higher reporting of stress in family life, in the work situation and as a result of the illness itself, by duodenal ulcer patients compared with the controls. The initial hypothesis that there would be more areas perceived of as stressful in the case of duodenal ulcer patients than controls was confirmed in the study. A minor hypothesis that there would be cross-cultural differences in the perception of stress was also confirmed. The follow-up study of Indian duodenal ulcer patients demonstrated the development of an "illness career" consisting of a periodic response to stress with onset or recurrence of duodenal ulcer symptoms accompanied by changes in the individual's family system. Minuchin's (1978) concept of enmeshment or disengagement in family systems was found to be applicable to the duodenal ulcer patient. The symptom served to maintain family homeostasis by transforming family conflict into care and concern, or by legitamising the under-functioning of the sick person. The role of social work intervention in relation to duodenal ulcer disease was explored through the establishment of a medical social work programme at the Gastro-Intestinal Unit, King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban. It was shown that the psychosocial aspects of duodenal ulcer disease must receive attention, together with medical treatment, if comprehensive patient care is to be achieved. Intervention should emphasise self management of stress through behaviour modification and cognitive restructuring. Family therapy is essential in cases where the symptom has a function in the family system. Many systems are involved in the aetiology and treatment of duodenal ulcer disease. A general systems approach is therefore useful in promoting a holistic view of the person and the illness.