CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED BY GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

JM Mokone

Abstract


Family structures and roles have evolved over time. In South Africa the extended
families that characterised the black social structure in the past have been affected by
modernisation and urbanisation (Ingstad, Bruun, Sandburg & Tlou, 1992:379;
Department of Welfare and Population Development, 1997:58). The typical family,
where the older persons were part of the extended family, was replaced with a new kind
of family. Modernisation, which led to the migrant labour system, meant that younger
men left their parents, wives and children in the rural areas to look for jobs in the mines
and factories in towns and cities. Furthermore, people started to rely less on subsistence
farming, and young women also joined men in seeking jobs in the cities and on
commercial farms. This led to a situation where grandparents and younger children
remained in the rural areas, while younger members of the communities sold their
labour where job opportunities existed. However, factors such as unemployment and
low wages have also resulted in young parents shirking their responsibilities of
providing financial care for their children, so that many grandparents have been forced
to take over not only the physical care of their grandchildren, but are also expected to
provide for all the other needs of the grandchildren. This full-time responsibility for
their grandchildren has proven to be strenuous to the elderly care-givers.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15270/42-2-311

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