Probing marital conflicts within the context of migrant families from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province.
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This study is based on marital conflict among migrant families from the Democratic Republic of Congo living in Durban, South Africa. It aims to explore and examine the extent of marital conflicts among these migrant families, investigate the root causes of marital conflicts among them and examine whether there is any relationship between marital conflict and migration. Additionally, this study aims to investigate if there are any existing approaches to marital conflicts resolution among Congolese migrant families and if so, to identify them as well as examine their functions and effectiveness. The theoretical framework within which this study is constructed includes the theories of Social Constructionism, Symbolic Interactionism, and Conflict Transformation. This study utilises a qualitative approach; 20 men and 20 women married, divorced and separated Congolese migrants participated in the initial questionnaires. Respondents in this study were identified through two selected Congolese migrant Churches. In-depth personal interviews were conducted with 8 men and 8 women volunteers from those participated in the questionnaires and with two church leaders and church Counsellors from where participants were selected. The target group for this study were men and women married, divorced or separated, from Congolese migrant community living in Durban. Respondents in these categories are selected because of their own experiences in marriage. The research has used a random and judgmental sampling method. After examining the extent of marital conflict among migrant families from the DRC living in Durban, the findings show that marital conflict among these families is prevalent. The findings from this study also demonstrate that there are a number of root causes and factors that results in marital conflict among them. These include family life stress, unemployment, lack of communication between couples, changing behaviour of one or both partners, the influence of relatives or friends and lack of social support. It was also revealed that other factors such as the absence of one partner, emotional and financial depravation of one partner and alcohol abuse also contributed to marital conflict among migrant families from DRC living in Durban. In examining whether there is a relationship between marital conflict and migration among Congolese migrant families in Durban, the majority of the study participants agreed that there is a close relationship between marital conflict and migration. Several indicators were identified and these include the change of behaviour by one or both partners in the host country, family life stress, unemployment. With regards to whether there are any approaches to marital conflict resolution among these families, the findings from this study show that there are several approaches to marital conflict resolution. Negotiation and mediation however were considered to be the key approaches in solving marital conflict among Congolese migrant families living in Durban.