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Perceptions of intercultural marriage: the lived experiences of South Africans and African foreiners in intercultural marriage.

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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.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.