FaSRU Workshop on Intergenerational Relations and Social Grants

Last week, The Families and Societies Research Unit at the Centre for Social Science Research hosted a very successful one-day workshop on the relationship and interaction between social grants and the social assistance program more broadly and intra/inter-household dynamics and familial responsibility. The workshop was supported by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development. The workshop was attended by 12 participants coming from all over South Africa and included several presentations from PhD and postdoctoral students.  

Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable?

18 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Matthias Krönke, PhD Candidate University of Cape Town & Sarah J. Lockwood, PhD Candidate, Harvard University
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try and hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behavior, but little work has been done so far looking at other forms of democratic accountability (contact and protest). Using Round 6 Afrobarometer data, combined with a new, author-created, dataset, we find that the type of electoral system does indeed have a significant impact on these other forms of participation. Citizens in PR systems are significantly more likely to protest when they are dissatisfied than those in majoritarian ones, while those in majoritarian systems are more likely to contact their elected representatives. We argue that this is because the connection between citizens and representatives in majoritarian systems is clearer, closer and more responsive, making contact an effective strategy and providing an efficient "safety valve" when citizens are dissatisfied. The lack of a similar connection in most PR systems, in contrast, leads citizens to turn to protest with greater regularity. We provide evidence to support this hypothesis, and also suggest some directions for future research.

Thinking Historically about the “Black Tax”: Gender, Schooling, and Race in Umlazi Township

11 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Professor Mark Hunter
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

In the 2010s the term “black tax” became widely used to describe the unceasing claims of family members on the incomes of working black South Africans. There are various ways to contextualize the term’s recent use, including examining its connections to the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements. Yet this talk develops a historical viewpoint exploring the contested ways in which money and emotions became attached to formal education—as schooling itself increasingly became necessary to secure employment. Focused on Umlazi in the 1960s, the talk emphasizes gendered family dynamics surrounding schooling in this newly built apartheid township located on the outskirts of Durban. It shows the particular efforts that mothers made to school their children—despite and indeed because of apartheid’s oppressive educational and urban policies. In the face of increasingly insecure intimate relations, a booming economy, and expanded basic education, mothers’ attention to their children’s and grandchildren’s education grew in importance and scale: education required sacrifices but promised children’s eventual support.

Presenter biography: Mark Hunter is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has degrees from the Universities of Sussex (B.A. hons), KwaZulu-Natal (Masters) and University of California-Berkeley (PhD). He is the author of Love in the Time of AIDS: Inequality, Gender, and Rights in South Africa (Indiana and KwaZulu-Natal University Presses) and is currently completing a book on schooling, families and class in Durban. 

Racial and ethnic politics in the United States: The positive effect of political representation on political participation

4 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Carole Uhlaner
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

People participate more in politics when they believe someone represents their interests.  In the contemporary United States, having a representative who shares a person’s racial, ethnic, or gender identity increases participation and furthers political incorporation of immigrants.  Three empirical analyses support these claims.  The first shows the effect of coethnic candidacies on vote turnout among Vietnamese Americans.  The second study shows the positive effect of having coethnic/cogender U.S. state legislators on voter turnout.  The third study shows the positive effect of “feeling represented” on several types of political participation by Latinos in 1989 and Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans in 2016.

Presenter biography: Professor Uhlaner works in the field of comparative political behavior, notably in North America and Western Europe. She is particularly interested in understanding mass political participation and mass-elite linkages. She has worked on theories of social choice and rationality and has used this to guide her empirical work. Her current research examines the political mobilization of ethnic minorities in the United States. In addition, she has worked on gender and politics. Professor Uhlaner's graduate teaching includes seminars on political participation and representation, political behavior, and methods of political inquiry. She often uses mathematical and formal approaches in her teaching as well as research.


FaSRU researcher, Nicole Daniels, publishes article

Congratulations to FaSRU researcher and PhD candidate, Nicole Daniels, for publishing an article, ‘Doing Homebirth Like a Man” in the Journal of Gender Studies. Nicole’s article is based on her Master’s research which explored the homebirth narratives of middle-class South African couples. The article explores the intersections between South African men’s narratives of homebirth and constructions of masculinity by posing two specific questions: Do men’s narratives of homebirth reproduce or subvert normative ideals and modes of masculinity? How does the experience of homebirth potentially interrupt normative ideas about being a man and how do men negotiate competing discourses of masculinity in their narratives? To access the article, click on the link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09589236.2017.1301811

The Impact of an Integrated Adolescent Youth Centre and Clinic on Sexual Reproductive Healthcare Utilisation and HIV Testing in the Western Cape

28 March, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
A Mendelsohn, K Gill, R Marcus, D Robbertze, C Van De Venter, E Mendel, L Mzukwa, LG Bekker
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Despite the increasing HIV incidence among young South African women, HIV counseling and testing (HCT) rates remain unacceptably low. One in three young women has a pregnancy by the age of 20. Alternative strategies should be explored in order to increase prevention and screening among high-risk adolescents.

Methods: The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) Youth Centre (YC) in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, offers integrated health, educational and recreational programmes in order to increase adolescent access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services (SRH). Participation is incentivised and clinic statistics tracked with a biometric data system. We compared HIV testing and contraception rates with data from a public clinic in Imizamo Yethu (IY), Cape Town, a community with similar demographics, to ascertain the impact of the YC on SRH and HCT utilisation rates for adolescents.

Results: In 2015, adolescent females under 18 had 3.74 times (3.37-4.15) more contraception visits at the YC than adolescents at IY clinic. There was no difference in the type of contraception used, with both populations favouring injectable methods. Adherence to contraception was sub-optimal, with the average YC female using contraception for 6.1 months/year. Youth at the YC were 1.85 times more likely to have HCT than youth in IY. This difference was greater in boys, with those aged between 15-24 3.83 times (3.04-4.81) are more likely to test. YC attendees were a third less likely to test HIV positive than their IY counterparts. Female sex, older age, clinic attendance for contraception and STI treatment, redeeming incentive points for rewards, and high Youth Centre attendance were all independent factors associated with increased HIV testing.

Interpretation: Adolescents from Masiphumelele were significantly more likely to access SRH and HCT services at the YC in comparison to the public clinic in Imizamo Yethu that has made adolescent friendly accommodations. The differences were most dramatic in contraception coverage for females under 18 and HIV testing rates in males. Lessons from the DTHF YC may be applied to clinics in order to increase adolescent health care utilisation rates.

Child abuse in South Africa: prevalence, risk factors, prevention and measurement issues

4 April, 2017 - 14:30 to 15:30
Dr. Franziska Meinck
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Child abuse victimisation is a major public health concern in South Africa. Research on risk and protective factors and prevention interventions is still in its infancy. In this talk, Franziska will describe findings on linkages between risk factors of abuse and putative health outcomes as well as ongoing research on the prevention of child abuse using parenting interventions. Further, she will talk about issues regarding the measurement of child abuse and potential ways forward to mitigate these.

Presenter biography: Franziska Meinck is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions at the University of Oxford. She holds a BA in Social Work from the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Interventions and a DPhil in Social Interventions from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of child abuse in South Africa investigating prevalence rates and risk and protective factors as well as access to services. Her new research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK aims to develop and validate child abuse measures for use in intervention studies in different cultural contexts.

Recognition and Redistribution: The state of the South African Women’s Movement 20 years after democratic transition

14 March, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Professor Amanda Gouws
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper analyses the shift from a mass based women’s movement in the form of the Women’s National Coalition in South Africa to more localized temporal movements since political transition twenty years ago.  I will apply Nancy Fraser’s theory of recognition and redistribution to illustrate how two alliances – the Shukumisa campaign around gender based violence and the Alliance for Rural democracy around the Traditional Courts Bill meets the criteria of localized temporal movements that engage the state with the intention of recognizing identities and redistributing resources to promote gender equality.  I will compare these alliances with the actions of the ANC Women’s League.

Presenter biography:  Professor Amanda Gouws is Professor of Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa She holds a PhD from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in the USA.  Her specialization is South African Politics and Gender Politics. Her research focuses on women and citizenship, the National Gender Machinery and representation.  She is the editor of (Un) Thinking Citizenship: Feminist Debates in Contemporary South Africa. (UK: Ashgate and Cape Town: Juta, 2005).  In 2007 she was the Edith Keeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, USA.  In 2011 she was selected as a Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Bellagio, Italy, where she was working on a book on the Women’s Movement in South Africa. In 2012 she received the Wilma Rule Award for the best paper at the International Political Science Association Conference in Madrid, Spain, in the category Gender and Politics with the title “Multiculturalism in South Africa: Dislodging the Binary between Universal Human Rights and Culture/Tradition”. Her edited book “Gender and Multiculturalism: North/South Perspectives” appeared with Routledge Press in 2014. She was a Commissioner for the South African Commission on Gender Equality from 2012-2014. She is currently a Distinguished Professor, holding a NRF Research Chair in Gender Politics.


Divorce, Families and Emotion Work 'Only Death Will Make Us Part'









A  new book by Senior Lecturer Dr Elena Moore pays attention to the oft-neglected emotional, relational and familial aspects of post-divorce everyday family practices.

Divorce, Families and Emotion Work: 'Only Death Will Make Us Part' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) focuses on parental commitment to family life after divorce, in contrast to its common perception as an irrevocable breaking up of the family unit, which is often perpetuated by representations from popular culture and the media.

Why is that society still puts pressure on women to get married?

On Tuesday last (17th January) Elena was invited to talk about the pressure society places on women to marry. The discussion was a response to the news that Pastor Alph Lukau from Alleluia Ministries last year held a conference in Johannesburg, for women seeking marriage proposals. He said all he needed to do was anoint their ring fingers and Mr Right would appear in 90 days. Women from all corners of the world gathered at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg, each paying between R450 to R5, 000 for a VIP ticket.

To watch the interview, click on the link below:



Do you know what Africans think? The Afrobarometer story

Do you know what Africans think? The Afrobarometer story                                                  

Dear colleagues and partners,

Do Africans even care about democracy? Do Africans want presidents for life? Do Africans only like their own ethnic group? Isn’t bribery just an accepted way of life in Africa? Do Africans believe in equal rights for women?
Our latest film tells the story of Afrobarometer, the world’s premier source of reliable data on public perceptions and attitudes across Africa. Visit this link to view >> 'The Afrobarometer story'.

FaSRU PhD/PostDoc Funding Opportunities

Families and Society Research Unit (FaSRU) 
Intergenerational Relations in South Africa: A study of intergenerational family responsibilities and obligations
PhD/PostDoc Funding Opportunities
The Families and Societies Research Unit http://www.cssr.uct.ac.za/fasru based at the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) at the University of Cape Town is seeking applications for PhD and post-doctoral applicants.
Applications are invited for a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship or a 3 year PhD opportunity to undertake research on any aspect of intergenerational relationships in South Africa. Successful applicants will develop and carry out innovative research as part of a team headed by Dr. Elena Moore.

Engagement with Karoo farmers

CSSR researchers reported back to three groups of Karoo farmers in mid-November. For several years, the Sustainable Societies Unit, headed by Beatrice Conradie, has been working closely with sheep-farmers, in association with UCT zoologists. The presentations at meetings in Lainsburg, Beaufort West and Prince Albert included PhD student Marine Drouilly's work on the diet of caracals and jackals and post-doc Marion Tafani's work on the diet of baboons. Jeremy Seekings also presented preliminary analysis by the team of the journey taken by the jackal 'Leroy', collared by Marine and released near Beaufort West, who broke all records for jackal dispersion by travelling as far as Anysberg before turning back and settling close to Prince Albert Road. For more on this, see Marine's blog on the Karoo Predator Project website.

CSSR research acknowledged

UCT’s Research Report for 2015 highlights a range of research conducted by CSSR researchers: Elena Moore’s work on customary marriage (conducted with Professor Chuma Himonga in the Law Faculty), Rebecca Hodes’ research on the history of abortion, Jeremy Seekings’ and Nicoli Nattrass’ book Policy, Politics and Poverty, and Bob Mattes’ work on school students’ knowledge of and attitudes towards democracy.

2016 Summer School cancelled

For about ten years the CSSR together with Afrobarometer have held an annual Summer School  in applied social science research methods applied to political and social issues facing contemporary Africa. Several hundred mostly junior researchers from universities and research organizations across Africa, as well as UCT post graduate students, have participated. Our Summer Schools are generously supported by, inter alia, the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

This year we have regrettably decided that we are unable to hold our annual Summer School.