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Exploring the experiences of young women’s transition from childhood to adulthood: case study of Inanda Township in Durban.

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The transition from childhood to adulthood is well known in the human race because it is inevitable that humans grow. This phenomenon is simple yet complex because people transition to adulthood at some stage of human development. Its complexity comes from the fact that, while there may be personal and societal factors determining the process, the experience turns out to be unique for each individual. Social factors, personal choices and experiences have been noted by various scholars as infusing the uniqueness in the experience of the transition of young people to adulthood. The researcher was drawn to explore the experiences of young women's transition to adulthood at Inanda Township. The interest started with the question of what it takes for a girl child to become an adult at Inanda Township. The researcher was intrigued mainly by dynamic nature of factors in this area that make the transition unique and how they shape the young person’s experience. Location played a huge role in the study in various ways. The gendered nature of transition to adulthood is worth noting. There is a greater vulnerability in women compared to men. The world still regards women as significantly more vulnerable compared to their male counterparts. The researcher wanted to explore how female children experience their transition to adulthood, specifically in South African townships. While there is much controversy around the age of the transition to adulthood, the study findings revealed that young women of Inanda describe the transitional stage to adulthood as ranging from the age of 16 up to 21. In this period, the main focus of the young person is acquiring an education. Financial challenges were the leading contributory factors of the derailment of young people from achieving their goals. There was also an indication of a lack of support from some parents during this period, the participants regarded as making them vulnerable. As a result, some young women find themselves having to navigate life without proper guidance. Some find themselves engaging in activities that the law and culture regard as privileges for adults such as sex, drugs and alcohol. The state of Inanda Township was mentioned as influencing how young women transition to adulthood. The lack of economic activities and the high unemployment rate in the area makes it less motivating for young women transitioning to adulthood. There are notable cultural influences on young women's transition, which inflicted stricter rules towards women than men.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.