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Masters Degrees (Anthropology)

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    The impact of Coronavirus on the rural households headed by African women “breadwinners”: anthropological case study Of Mkhambathini in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
    (2022) Goqo, Nontokozo Fundiswa.; Kgari-Masondo, Maserole Christina.
    The literature surveyed for this study reveals that there is a gap in academia about studies on rural African women breadwinners’ experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. The study was undertaken to investigate and understand the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on rural African women and also to determine the strategies they used to cope during the era of the pandemic. The study employed a qualitative research method and a case study design. Guided by ethical considerations in research, semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 30 African women between 20 to 60+ from KwaZulu Natal province, Pietermaritzburg in Mkhambathini municipality that were recruited through the purposive and snowballing sampling and the generated data is analysed thematically. The theoretical framework employed in the study is family systems theory, social capital theory, and coping theory. The symbiotic relationship of these theoretical frameworks revealed the impact of COVID-19 which is nuanced and complex on African women in rural households. Secondly, the study revealed a prevalent Eurocentric analysis of the experiences of rural communities especially rural African women who are homogenized as if their lives are static. Narratives of rural women revealed that they never felt intimidated by being breadwinners in their households. The study also revealed that the impacts were felt differently by diverse women as some experienced more hardships than others but they never gave in to marginalisation due to the impacts of the pandemic. These women worked hard and used their agency to navigate the ramifications of the pandemic by creatively starting businesses to navigate and escape the economic hardships that came with Coronavirus pandemic as many of them lost their jobs or their working hours curtailed. They also used creative financial management of the little money they received from welfare funds, businesses, or pension funds to ensure resilience during this era of the pandemic. Hence the recommendation of the thesis is the decolonisation of anthropological studies by ensuring that studies about women especially the previously colonised and poor experience social justice and are studied from within their own context and are not homogenised. The recommendations propose that economic and welfare policies responses must be immediate and consider the concerns of women.
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    Perceptions of “spiritually transmitted diseases” within the Zulu community of KZN, Pietermaritzburg, uMgungundlovu District.
    (2022) Mthethwa, Silindile Nobuhle.; Jagganath, Gerelene.
    People worldwide have different cultural and spiritual beliefs that influence how they perceive disease or an illness. Such perceptions stem from cultural forces and individual experiences. Cross-culturally, medical anthropologists examine health, healing, disorders and treatments. Understanding health from a cultural perspective proves that illnesses/ diseases are not only physical but also social and spiritual. It is, therefore, necessary to understand these perspectives when aiming for culturally appropriate and sustainable interventions. Medical anthropologists are not only interested in studying diseases and illnesses but also in those that are culturebound. The lack of anthropological research on spiritual diseases from AmaZulu cultural perspective has influenced this research. This is not to claim that AmaZulu people in KwaZulu- Natal are a homogenous group with similar experiences, especially concerning spiritually transmitted diseases. However, in the researcher’s experience, this phenomenon is uncommon among AmaZulu adults in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. This research aims to describe and document perceptions and experiences of these “spiritually transmitted diseases” (SpTD’s) in a local AmaZulu community. A general conclusion is that SpTD’s are culture-bound even though some symptoms are like medical conditions that we know. This research also adds that a culture-bound disorder does not necessarily have to be spiritually transmitted. A spiritually transmitted disease can be or appear as a sexually transmitted disease. These spiritual distresses are associated with “ubumnyama”, which is said to be contagious to a certain extent, especially through sexual intercourse. They are also believed to make an existing medical condition worse. Previous studies have indicated that 80% of the population in African countries uses traditional medicine to maintain good health and treat illnesses and diseases. In the documentation of these perceived spiritual diseases, this dissertation includes the healing processes and unpacks the associated myths. The researcher also refers to allopathic medication not to disregard but to highlight parallel health systems with similar concepts (symptoms) but different healing processes. This research had its challenges and limitations. There is room for further research with a larger sample.
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    An examination of the significance of the cow body parts during traditional rituals of AmaZulu households in the Mpola community.
    (2022) Khanyile, Noxolo Princess.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.; Kgari-Masondo, Maserole Christina.
    The absence of documented literature that explains the attached meanings to cow body parts during traditional rituals of AmaZulu households remains a notable gap in the existing body of knowledge. This anthropological study aims at studying and understanding the attached meanings of the cow body parts during traditional rituals from the viewpoint of AmaZulu in the Mpola community. For this study to bridge the gap and provide an in-depth understanding, qualitative case study using semi-structured (one-on-one-interviews) with fifteen (15) participants between the age of eighteen (18) to seventy (70) and two theoretical frameworks which are cultural relativism theory and indigenous knowledge were employed. The study findings reveal that culture and ancestors informs how AmaZulu slaughter cows when performing traditional rituals. The meanings attached to the cow body parts during traditional rituals are contributed as cultural epistemics in the decolonial literature of African countries as well as in the cultural and linguistic anthropology literature. The findings further portray that indigenous knowledge that is passed down from each generation by indigenous people illustrates cultural gender inequality between both genders (males and females). The males are educated and well-informed about cultural traditions compared to females because males are believed to be heads of the households who will oversee the performing of traditional rituals within the households. These findings indicate the need for indigenous knowledge of AmaZulu, traditional rituals and meanings attached to the cow body to be preserved.
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    Death, religion, and cultural schemas of South African indigenous societies: a case study of funeral services and burial rites of households and families of e-Macambini Community during the alert level 5 of National Lockdown.
    (2023) Vundla, Ntokozo Howard.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.
    This thesis anthropologically and qualitatively explored death, religion, and cultural schemas of the eMacambini community during the COVID-19 alert level 5. A sample of 20 participants were recruited through the purposive snowballing technique. Through the Social Constructivism Theory and Cultural Relativism Theory, this study revealed that the eMacambini community was heavily threatened by COVID-19 which affected patterns of their burial rites, cultural schemas and rituals. This study recommends that government authorities together with advisory committees (the South African government and the World Health Organization) should in times of the pandemic be considerate of indigenous knowledge systems that guide the process of death, cultural schemas and rituals of indigenous communities. This study recognized the use of isiZulu language by research participants as a phenomenological expression of painful experiences. It further validates that it is possible to study indigenous communities in their own languages which falls within decolonial ethnography. This study recommended that the content of this research and all other related studies on pandemics versus Africa cultural schemas and rituals should be integrated into the content of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Anthropology (102) Culture and Societies and Anthropology 201- Culture, Health and Illness curriculum as a new section which will deal with the impact of pandemic outbreaks in African traditions, cultures and religion. This study concludes that cultural schemas, rituals and burial rites shape or socially construct one’s identity and promote one’s cultural relativism which is the sense of pride and belonging.
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    Feminizing migration patterns and remittances: socio-economic experiences of female migrant street vendors, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Magwaza, Nolwazi.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.
    Using the African Feminist Theory coupled with Migration theory and the Social Identity Theory and qualitative/phenomenology research design, this study purposively sampled twenty (20) women who are street vendors in Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal. The study is titled: Feminizing migration patterns and remittances: socio-economic experiences of female migrant’s street vendors, PMB, KwaZulu-Natal. This anthropological study revealed quite a number of research findings; it proved that feminized migration is a dawn that has allowed women to have a financial muscle that they have used to remit back to advance their families, education and health needs of their children and families at large. This study also revealed that migration patterns have allowed women to migrate from different parts of Southern Africa; hence most research participants came from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Congo and Botswana. The analysis of the study shows that female street vendors don’t occupy vending stalls. Another pertinent finding of the study is that Pietermaritzburg streets proved to be an informal economic space from which these women have generated money that they own, which has lowered their dependency on their husbands. This study revealed that even women who head households have embarked on migration patterns to provide for their families as they are not married. While street vending has proved to have been an informal economic space for foreign women. The study also revealed that foreign women are vending illegally as they don’t have licenses to trade on the street. Most women indicated that they were occupying rented stalls. This means that some South Africans who had licensed stalls are now generating income from these women, but owners of these stalls are often not around to protect them when evicted by policies because they can’t produce licenses. The study revealed that these female street vendors sell different goods; some sell corrugated iron baths (ubhavu wokugeza kathayela), brooms and bath dishes, fruits and vegetables, airtime, chips and sweets etc. depending on the targeted group of people in that area. This study revealed that their daily earnings between R1050 and R2500 prove that Pietermaritzburg streets are full of economic possibilities. These women can safeguard their vending earnings, which are remitted formally while others are informally remitted. With financial independence, these women had the state of holding sufficient financial gain to fund their surviving expenditure for their entire living without having to work or seek help from their spouses. The study revealed that these remittances play a role in raising the standard of living of those who receive these remittances and assisting the global poverty. Study findings also revealed that Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in South Africa to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and decrease the number of fatalities impacted on street vendors. They were not allowed to sell during the stricter levels of lockdown. However, amid such conditions, women remittances played a constitutional part in changing the socio-economic situations of the people left in households, It has allowed them to buy necessities such as food and clothing. Many can now afford to buy sanitary towels for their girl children, which means that the young girls no longer miss school because they now have their monthly supply of sanitary towels. Study contributions and recommendations are discussed in the last chapter of this thesis.
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    Migration and diaspora: a case study probing socio-cultural challenges experienced by African migrants in Port Shepstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
    (2022) Dlamini, Mishack Siphosenkosi.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.; Kgari-Masondo, Maserole Christina.
    Historically, human mobility and blended settlements have been a massive part of anthropological research. This prospect traces back to the era of hunter-gathers and the era of globalization and labour migration. Contemporary anthropologists have contributed to the understanding of globalization, diaspora, and migration patterns all over the world, paying attention to how deterritorialization and reterritorialization, migration pull and push factors, and migration patterns have an impact on humans and until today, new dynamics continue to emerge hence migration and diaspora as research themes in Anthropology have not reached the level of saturation. This qualitative study titled "Migration and Diaspora: A Case Study Probing Socio-cultural Challenges Experienced by African Migrants in Port Shepstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal. This master’s project was conducted on twenty recruited African migrants living in Port Shepstone. The sampling method was snowballing sampling. From face-to-face interviews, data revealed that the movement of people in Africa continues due to economic challenges. The movement of people becomes means of escaping economic hardships that our state leaders have dismally failed to resolve. From the perspectives of the Migration Theory, this study proved that poverty and unemployment remain a prevalent socio-economic pandemic that most people want to escape to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Many Africans migrate to South Africa to benefit from a variety of economic opportunities available in the informal sector of the economy in the country. It emerged from the narratives of twenty (20) participants that many African diasporas are no longer interested in locating themselves in big cities and towns, but they mostly prefer rural communities because there is no economic competition; hence most of them own tuck-shops and other retailing stores. They are also celebrating that they have located themselves where there are less affected by municipality by-laws, which could have troubled their trading in big cities since they do not have citizenships and while others have lapsed visiting permits. The South African economic sector is much easier to penetrate for those without proper documentation. This study contributes to migration studies by revealing that rural communities are the economic hubs for Diasporas who can generate remittances for themselves and their families and escape poverty and other socio-economic hardships. Receiving remittances is another pull factor that led diasporas to leave their origins to South African rural communities called "the promised land, filled with honey, corridors of informal economic emancipation". From the views of Group Conflict Theory, this study noted immigrant economic celebration. Hence, most Diasporas endure constant xenophobic attacks and verbal abuse. The standard pejorative and derogatory label "Amakwerekwere" continue to be their cultural identity shock. They constantly live in fear of being attacked by those who believe they came to steal their economic opportunities. In contrast, they invented new economic corridors that even South Africans could have explored. The support of religious spaces provides psychosocial support for these Diasporas, and they have conducted advocacy awareness that fights against xenophobic attacks. Through the perspectives of the Network Theory, this study also revealed that they have coped with xenophobic attacks. This notion extends to identity shocks and other forms of verbal abuse. As much as they established strong ties, irrespective of their lineage or places of origin, they are still subjected to similar experiences. The demonstration of communal support by immigrant groups has been another psychosocial structure seen in many aspects of their lives. For example, they all contribute to marriage preparations or a funeral; they bury them through their collective money contribution. These highlight elements of solidarity. This study concludes by recommending that Africa be the socio-economic hub of all those born in Africa. This approach will be approved if the heads of States remove border gates that maintain Africa's territorial division. This will allow all Africans to migrate freely for economic opportunities without being socially excluded or categorized as trespassers that need to be apprehended for illegal trespassing. No African citizen should be identically called a migrant, diaspora, a kwerekwere or experience xenophobia and face any other socio-cultural challenges if they locate themselves within the African landscape. The study advances the call to collapse borders in Africa to expand economic corridors that will allow Africans to share their African resources. This call will realize or deepen the African Renaissance Agenda, which is the African treasure of all Africans. By establishing psychosocial ties, the studied population is commended for taking care of each other during trying times. They have proved to be "their brothers/sisters' keepers", which Africans should be known about.
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    Access to health care facilities during COVID-19: probing experiences of Ntabeni a rural community in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Ndlovu, Hloniphile Talent.; Zondi, Virginia Balungile.
    Anthropologists have critically taken an interest in studying the political economy of health and healthcare of people especially in forgotten communities. This incorporates admittance to medical care offices and reception of medical care. While they concur that the South African public medical care framework has gone through key changes, they also agree that the implementation or the realization of such important policies have become fragmented, and exacerbated inequalities in relation to access to health care and related facilities. This happens at the heart of solid constitutional and legislative policy frameworks which are in place to guarantee the right to access to healthcare. These constitutional and legislative provisions of guaranteed health care access remain a panacea and, as a result, most poor people are still unable to enjoy this international human right to health care and health facilities. The unprecedented arrival of COVID-19 brought South African health inequalities to light as most people could not access medical health care and health facilities at the time of their need. This qualitative study titled “Access to health care facilities during COVID-19: Probing the experiences of Ntabeni, a rural community in Pietermaritzburg, KZN”, draws on critical contributions of anthropology as a field of study and uses two theoretical frameworks, namely, social constructivism and access theory, as guidelines for the study. Data was collected from thirty (30) purposely sampled participants from the Ntabeni community. The recruitment included both males and females that were deemed fit to participate in the study as guided by ethical considerations of the study. Research findings revealed that the community of Ntabeni could not access health care during the COVID-19 lockdown levels 5 and 4 restrictions in South Africa, and this took a toll on their health. COVID-19 and lockdown regulations/restrictions exacerbated inequalities because poor community members of Ntabeni encountered barriers of affordability, accommodation, awareness, availability and accessibility of health care and facilities. Community members of Ntabeni felt excluded as human beings and as voters who were promised access to free medical health care. The study recommends that: the department of health should prioritize health and access to health care and facilities for the Ntabeni Community which is caged by poverty, unemployment and many health issues. These issues threaten the survival right of all human beings. Government should remove user fees at public hospitals to maximize access to health care and facilities for indigent people. The provision of a wellness or mobile clinic should be expedited as they will also accommodate those who cannot cater for their medical needs. This will make health services more accessible and affordable. Future anthropological research is needed to understand the factors that inhibit communities from accessing universities and contributing to the high rate of unemployment. Other studies could potentially look at the impact of the Msunduzi Integrated Development Planning, which is supposed to positively impact the lives of the members of Ntabeni community in terms of their socio-economic needs.
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    Urban/rural migration: exploring the motivating factors of people involved and their perceptions related to migration in Matshana community in KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2021) Mpanza, Sifundo Prince.; Ojong, Vivian Beseng.
    This study examined the arrival and settlement of recent urban migrants in Matshana area, who are classified as retired migrants, labour migrants, and permanent or temporal migrants. They also divided into two groups, which are new arrival urban migrants and returned urban migrants. The increasing expansion of urban migrants in Matshana has led the researcher to explore the migrants’ motives and perceptions of urban-to-rural migration, withMatshana community in Kwazulu-Natal as the case study. The study focused on people involved1 within areas of urban-rural migration patterns. The study employed the qualitative research approach and utilized focus group discussions and in-depth interviews as the main methods of data collection. This allowed the researcher to interact with key community members, newly settled residents, and local ward committee representatives, in an endeavor to investigate the challenges and opportunities that migrants encounter in Matshana community. The study used a non-random sampling procedure and a sample of 15 participants, consisting of nine females and six males, was selected. The migrant network effect2 formed in Matshana suggests strong family ties, cultural meanings, inheritance of land, and emerging housing market in rural areas. The study established that ‘Ama- Site3’ characterized the type of new urban houses/areas in Matshana community. The study also established that there are potential gains and challenges in moving to rural areas, both for urban migrants and the local people. The study community is characterised by a transition from a rural area to a township or ‘urban-rural area4’. This study suggested this type of urban-to-rural migration in Matshana as the primary factor for social change through migration witnessed in Matshana community.
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    The anthropological understanding of depression and attached social constructs amongst university students: the case study of UKZN-PMB.
    (2021) Mthembu, Sinenhlanhla Santa.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.
    Through the Cognitive Theory of Depression, Narrative Theory and the Social Constructivism Theory, this interpretive/phenomenological qualitative anthropological study purposively sampled twenty-six (25) UKZN-PMB students to explore means and understanding associated with depression. To achieve objectives of the study, this study anchored itself in linguistic and cultural anthropology to understand the power of language and cultural epistemologies that are attached on the expression and the interpretation of depression which this study has proved to be the experience of UKZN-PMB students. This study revealed that the use of cultural language depicts cultural reflexivity which anthropologists recognise as a unique trait of people’s identity and ability to socialize. This study thus contributes social constructs which are cultural epistemologies or narratives which UKZN students have own as their language to express the state of being depressed. Social constructs that were revealed and explored in this study showed that depression cannot only be understood from the lens of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but also through emic/explanatory models that convey the impact or the extent of depression on university students. Such cultural constructs are contributed not only in the body of literature but should also inform responsive cultural interventions which UKZN as institution may adopt to become proactive and intentional about assisting its students. This study thus concludes by recommending a holistic approach (which observes social constructs that emerged in this this study) when designing and implementing of awareness programmes towards an in-depth understanding of depression amongst UKZN students. The student support services should have pop-up messages or billboards using these social constructs in order to invite students for immediate interventions. e.g. ✓ uma uzizwa ukuthi uyaGOWISHA we are here to help you or to provide any academic/therapeutic support. ✓ uma uzizwa ukuthi awukhoni, trust that the university student support service centre is here to help you pull through. More anthropological research is also suggested as follows: ✓ within the context of Covid-19 is recommended. ✓ probing why UKZN male students are not comfortable to talk about depression.
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    The customary significance of using ‘ihlahlalomlahlankosi’ in death processes within the eNqabeni community.
    (2021) Makhathini, Xoliswa.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.
    This study contributed to the African qualitative understanding of the significant use of Ihlahlalomlahlankosi/Umlahlankosi (tree branch/leaf), also known as Ziziphus Mucronata, in death processes by the eNqabeni Community in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Drawing from the Social Constructivism Theory, indigenous knowledge and in-depth interviews conducted, as well as the purposive sampling. Twenty (20) research participants, between the ages twenty-five (25) and seventy-nine (79), voluntarily participated in the study that was ethically cleared by UKZN HSSRC. The scope of this study was in cultural anthropology, which shaped the wording of themes that are thematically described in the data analysis chapter. Data analysis revealed ten themes, theme one: Defining Ihlahlalomlahlankosi; theme two: The customary use of Ihlahlalomlahlankosi in all death rites; theme three: Importance of practicing this custom; theme Four: Gendered use; theme five: Social constructs; theme six: Disposing the Ihlahlalomlahlankosi leaf. theme seven: Knowledge transmission; theme eight: Uses; theme nine: Symbolic signs and the last theme; theme ten: Industrialization. Such themes are contributed by this study into the existing body of knowledge, and they recognize the well of indigenous knowledge that the community of eNqabeni holds in relation to ihlahlalomlahlankosi. They further offer a heterogenic view of the use of this topic against the literature reviews that exist. These themes confirmed that cultural relativism is socially constructed because of indigenous knowledge that has historically existed amongst people of the same community, culture, family, or society; it reveals that the celebration or observation of customs, rituals, and other cultural schemas, give people a cultural symbolic identity, which is the gift that their ancestors socially constructed to be celebrated or performed in their remembrance. Research participants further alluded that if this cultural rite is not performed it triggers the anger of their ancestors and the spirit of the person wonders around and could cause more death in the family, however, when this custom has been carried out successfully (appreciating the goat that was slaughtered when the family was preparing for the burial ceremony), ancestors communicate with them through dreams. The study also revealed that ancestors communicate even before the body and spirit of the dead person is laid in his or her new home, they said, if the candle that has been put next to the coffin lights up, that signals that the spirit is at peace. Narratives of the respondents further revealed that the community of eNqabeni that used Ihlahlalomlahlankosi, recognizes the grave as a ‘new house or home’ for the dead person. Other themes that emerged from data collection revealed that patriarchy, as well as the religion (Christianity), has contributed to the social construct of gender assigned leadership roles, which this community embraces as indigenous knowledge. Such gender assigned leadership roles to exclude women from leading the spirit of the dead person to the grave, as this hegemonic patriarchy believes that women were not born to lead or to be the heads of households. While this gender exclusion was concern, several advocacy calls were made to recognize the agency of women in all aspects of life, it was interesting to note that other people in the community recognize women as capable and echoed that they should be trusted with this leadership role, given the fact that most households are female headed households. This study thus contributes that some trees are not alien trees or form part of vegetation but they have a customary significance; that some cultural customs are not dependent on the level of affluency but on accessing trees that naturally grow on mountains, hence it is important to conserve nature from harmful environmental hazards because if Ihlahlalomlahlankosi becomes extinct, this would anger their ancestors or propel them to deviate from celebrating their customs, which makes them culturally unique from other existing cultures in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa or in Southern Africa. In conclusion, cultural insights into the use of this leaf or tree branch contribute to the existing body of literature.
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    Household sustainability through wage labour and land-use in Zwelibomvu.
    (2021) Kuluse, Philani Goodman.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.
    This study probed "Household sustainability through wage labour and land-use in Zwelibomvu". The rationale for this qualitative investigation was on studying challenges associated with poverty and economic hardship in South Africa using the Zwelibomvu rural area as a microcosm. The research drew on the appraisal of agriculture issues, land use, distribution and ownership, and rural household wage contributions. The critical argument for the study was that most societies still lack legitimacy over their land, and most societies are still without financial gain such as wages. This study was within the scope of agricultural and economic anthropology, while Agricultural anthropologists advocate that any piece of land is a symbolic identity of those forcefully removed and those who continue to be denied access from their ancestral land. Agricultural anthropologists believe that land is a resource that promotes human agency and healthy households and societies. Agricultural anthropology supports this study and might agree that land-use and wage labour may deepen socioeconomic inequalities. The economic anthropology is the study of how human cultures offer the products and services that allow people to make ends meet in order to escape socio-economic hardships and poverty. The literature reflected on the land issues paying critical attention to what happened during the apartheid era, and redressed these issues within a democratic exemption. This study was embedded mainly in marginalisation theory, social capital theory, and family systems theory. All theoretical frameworks are relevant because they allowed the expression of the research objectives, influenced data collection, analysis, interpretation and shaped the research recommendation. The qualitative research design permitted collecting data using an ethnographic method, participant observations, and in-depth interviews on a purposive and random sample of 30 households from the Zwelibomvu community. Research findings through emic perspectives of research participants revealed three households in Zwelibomvu (small, medium, and large households). Narratives in the data analysis chapter depict engaging narratives generated from the community concerning land use and wage labour. These narratives indicate that since the community of Zwelibomvu has access to land, their socioeconomic situation accommodates more wage labour income, although some members of rural households are informally employed. This community has achieved gender equality as findings show men recognise women's agency, specifically on small-scale farming. This community has created food production through subsistence farming this community and access to land (cocoyams, potatoes and spinach). This agricultural production has allowed families and households of Zwelibomvu to escape rife poverty. Religious and traditional elements were also noted as crucial elements or pillars to maintain order and create values for Zwelibomvu households; hence this community still holds values of collectiveness and has achieved solidarity in food production. The community of Zwelibomvu survive through an interactive process of subsistence farming to tackle balanced food security and reciprocity. Balanced food security and reciprocity in this study are confirmed to shape the family socioeconomic status and achieve a sustainable communal system. This study's contribution is that dynamics from these households discussed as case studies in the analysis chapter could potentially enhance the content of the module called "Families and Households" offered by the Anthropology discipline at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The study recommended that community members with smaller and larger plot sizes in Zwelibomvu merge them to increase or double their vegetable harvest. They could even sell more food through this strategy. This can establish opportunities to supply the nearest supermarkets such as Pick n Pay and Checkers, which are not far from the community. Rural communities should get educated so their land-use their plots productively. This education could further promote young agricultural entrepreneurship skills for self-employment. It may lessen the burden on expecting the government to create employment for every single youth person in South Africa. The youth of Zwelibomvu could become successful commercial farmers in the future and possibly employ other community members. More government support is needed to boost the locals' attempts to expand their agricultural plots with seeds to produce more. The community requires government support to mitigate some of the topographic and climate issues that threaten the sustainability of their small agricultural patterns. This study also recommends that future research employ ethnography to understand how other rural communities use land and wage labour to sustain their families amid increased unemployment numbers due to Covid-19 in South Africa.
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    Exploring the lived experiences of parents of children with cognitive learning barriers at uMkhambathini.
    (2020) Gwala, Mxolisi.; Zondi, Balungile Prudence.
    The ethnography that was embarked on in completing this paper aimed at collecting the emic perspectives of parents of children with cognitive learning barriers at uMkhambathini. The main objective was to understand their lived experiences as parents of children living with disabilities. The hallmark for doing an anthropological study is undertaking ethnography while being highly cognizant of holism as a principle in anthropological research; such consideration drives researchers to consider all important details that contribute to the phenomenon that is being studied. This was the manner in which the study was completed, and it was brought to an understanding that socio-cultural contexts of parents in the topic have not received much attention in the public domain, especially in rural areas like uMkhambathini where the study was conducted; although it should now receive essential consideration, especially if the makers of policy in the public sector have to achieve adequate and uncompromised inclusion whether in learning or designing appropriate psycho-social support initiatives for parents or their children living with disabilities in an inclusive environment. A total of fifteen (15) parents of children living with cognitive disability as a learning challenge in question were purposively sampled from Asizenzele, Inkanyezini and Table Mountain Primary Schools. The findings were generated through in-depth interviews as well as focus group interviews which allowed parents to share their personal and collective experiences; this also helped the study to collect quality of these experiences. Parents responded to sixteen (16) research questions and significant themes were generated following a thorough qualitative thematic analysis. Theoretical framework and the existing literature in the subject were used to analyse and anthropologically interpret experiences of parents. The socio-cultural perspective is the quarry in which individual problems related to the topic exists; in this breath, government must also design, implement and promote public activism to safeguard education and socialization of people living with disabilities in general.
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    Perceptions of intercultural marriage: the lived experiences of South Africans and African foreiners in intercultural marriage.
    (2019) Tshibangu, Andiswa Preetyangel.; Ojong, Vivian Besem.
    Over the years there has been an increase in migration of immigrants from African countries to South Africa. This migration has led to even more cultural diversity in South Africa. Romantic relationships which lead to intermarriage between African migrants and black South Africans are becoming more prevalent in society. This has created a need for intermarriage to be understood and theorized in an African context. The purpose of this study was to investigate the lived experiences of intermarried South Africans born nationals and African migrants. Perceptions about intermarriage according to both intermarried couples and the public were explored. Another aim of the study was to ascertain if intermarriage helps the assimilation process of the migrant spouse. To gather the descriptive narratives of intermarried couples and the public this study made use of semi structured and open –ended interview questions. The primary findings of this study showed that individual, structural and contextual factors affect how couples experienced being intermarried. Intermarried couples are negatively affected by external stressors .These stressors are namely family and societal disapproval, institutional discrimination and lack of social support. These factors are mainly based on how the family and public perceive African migrants and those who decided to marry them. Based on negative perceptions held against intermarriages in South Africa it can be concluded that intermarriages do not necessarily help assimilate the African migrant spouse. Finally this study also showed that besides external factors that impact intermarried experiences each couple has internal challenges that stem from being culturally different. Major life decisions such as identity, religion, child rearing methods and gender roles were a challenge as each individual in the marriage was socialised in a different culture.
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    Understanding the factors contributing to sexual harassment amongst black African university students.
    (2021) Ngubelanga, Noluvo Loveness.; Nzuza, Nokwanda Yoliswa.
    Depictions of the sexuality of female university students included themes of insecurity, subordination, submissiveness and passivity. This study presents lived experiences of sexual harassment among Black African university students within a socio-cultural, gender and feminist context to understand the factors that lead to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment encounters among female university students created a questionable background for the victim to pursue arrangements of authority and ultimately exercise sexual power, agency and subjectivity. The research also tried to understand the degree to which these interactions were culturally and socially focused. Michael Foucault's concepts of sexuality and power, social constructionist epistemology and the theory of social identity influenced the theoretical analytical support of this research. The research implemented qualitative interpretive approaches that were in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions. Data analysis and interpretation was carried out using the thematic and material analysis of Social Sciences. The study used convenient & purposive sampling techniques and 24 participants formed this study. In the form of graphs and emerging themes from the investigation, the study results are discussed. Black African university students' narratives portrayed a sexually dysfunctional context in which the perceptions of sexual abuse of the participants were reciprocity of social cultural and individual variables. Although sexual harassment at the university was found endemic, it was described as marginalized and underreported. A dissent from the notions of sexual docility and passivity retained in the current literature is addressed in this review. The study found sexual harassment as socialized in societies and societal norms for decades the normalization is through silence and rape culture. It is important to resolve and take aggressive and sexually abusive climates as a priority because it is a hindrance to the well-being and wellbeing of students. The research also found the LGBTQI+ and women students as often victims of sexual harassment by men who were more wealthy and influential than them.
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    Community perceptions of an early warning system: a case study of Swayimane, UMshwathi Local Municipality’s lightning warning system.
    (2021) Ndlela, Senelisiwe.; Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    This study attempts to understand community perceptions of a lightning warning system in the community of KwaSwayimane. The study therefore takes a detailed look at the local community’s views on and insights into the warning system, and how these are shaped by the cultural practices and beliefs embedded in indigenous/local knowledge. The study was carried out at KwaSwayimane, and adopted a mixed methodology, making it both qualitative and quantitative. It involved 100 participants who engaged in questionnaires, focus group discussions and face-to-face interviews. Social constructionism and symbolic interactionism theories were used to analyze the insights gathered during data collection. Findings revealed that the community has recommendations on how to improve their experience of the lightning warning system installed in the area (especially in the context of the dissemination of the warning messages) and these recommendations involve integrating their local/indigenous understandings for protection against lightning strikes with the existing system.
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    Never marry a woman with big feet : the proverbial oppression of women in Igbo African culture : an investigation of the semantics of female devaluation in Igbo African proverbs.
    (2017) Chikwelu, Emmanuel J.; Otu, Monica Njanjokuma.; Nzuza, Nokwanda Yoliswa.
    Gender discourse has occupied an important position in African scholarship. The question is no longer whether women are being marginalized and abused, the question is how and why women are abused and relegated. Men in various cultures and societies have taken the responsibility for the construction of female identity based on some gender stereotype through cultural vehicles such as proverb. Proverbs in Igbo African culture have perpetuated the mainstream oppression and subjugation of women in Igbo society of Nigeria. Like in many other African cultures, proverbs help in defining moral consciousness, thought and belief. They are at the core of African oral literature and are believed to be a reflection of wisdom and truth preserved and passed from one generation to the other. Nonetheless, the beauty presented by this integral aspect of African folklore has been partial and paints a derogatory image about women. This stereotypical depiction of women in Igbo African proverbs has continued to limit and deny the notable contributions of women in the enhancement of humanity in the society. This study, therefore seeks to interrogate the overt sexism in Igbo African proverbs. Through the use of in-depth interview and qualitative content analysis, this study highlights evidence of marginalization of women in Igbo African proverbs. The study equally makes use of social construct and liberal feminist theory to give a thick descriptive approach to the issue at hand. The study makes use of 5 in-depth interviews and 16 proverbs samples collected from written texts and unwritten narratives accessed from Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) and other visual sources.
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    Exploring constructions of masculinity among young men in the context of poverty: a case study of Kenneth Gardens, Durban.
    (2016) Dlamini, Melusi Andile Charles.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    This study explored how young masculinities are constructed and enacted in the context of poverty, unemployment and violence. It sought to understand how poverty shaped young men’s identities, and how they navigated the salient challenges in their lives. The study draws from ethnographic data collected in Kenneth Gardens in Durban, which focused on a group of unemployed men aged between 19 and 30. The study concerns itself with how young masculinities are shaped by social and economic dynamics that unfold in the lives of the young men. This study used the concept of structural violence and adopted a constructionist approach in order to interpret the data collected in the field. The participants’ narratives suggested a dissonance between the young men’s personal circumstances and their aspirations, which demonstrated limited agency. The social and economic marginality of the participants facilitated the emergence of ‘impoverished masculinities’ among the young men, which was marked by the recurrent use of substances and violence. ‘Violent masculinities’ also emerged among the participants as a reaction to instances of victimisation within and around their community. Moreover, the study explored how unemployment and poverty influenced the young men’s enactments of masculinity in relation women as intimate partners. In the study, women were often (hyper)sexualised and objectified, with sexual relationships used as sites of negotiation and resistance in the context of disempowering material conditions. In a context that is increasingly challenging for young people, poverty and unemployment deepened the marginalisation the young men and resulted in the enactment of potentially destructive masculinities. Overall, the data suggests that the context of social and economic marginality lead to limitations in life choices that severely limited the agency of the young men and profoundly affected the construction of young masculinities in Kenneth Gardens.
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    Shortening the foreskin : probing perceptions towards Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) and Traditional Male Circumcision among University of KwaZulu-Natal African male students.
    (2015) Khumalo, Sinakekelwe Khanyisile.; Naidu, Uma Maheshvari.
    Across the world, in populations where circumcision was commonly practiced, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS was found to be lower compared to those populations where circumcision was not practiced. Male circumcision was in turn flagged as a potentially important prevention strategy in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. University students constitute an important community in interventions against HIV/AIDS. Given this, this study focused on the embedded cultural complex that would influence male attitudes to take up circumcision. The study was in turn conducted at three of the University of KwaZulu-Natal campuses, where it probed the perceptions of local Black African male students towards Medical male circumcision (MMC) and Traditional male circumcision (TMC). The study worked through social identity theory and social constructivist theory and employed a non-probability sampling technique on local Black African male students between the ages of 18-25. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with 15 participants who included Zulu and Xhosa male students. Findings reveal that the students’ embedded cultural background has an influence on the method of circumcision that the male students chose; whether medical or traditional. The findings also reveal that entrenched constructions of masculinity are believed to be attained by going through the rite of passage in a traditional context while a circumcised man in the medical setting is often not seen as a ‘real man’.