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.

ASRU Postdoctoral Fellowship Mzantsi Wakho (Closes 15th November 2016)

The AIDS and Society Research Unit (ASRU) at the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship for a suitably qualified individual to join a research project on adolescent health in South Africa. For more information please visit www.mzantsiwakho.org.za).

FaSRU researchers at Yale

Lwando Scott and Isaac Chinyoka, both undertaking doctoral research at FaSRU, caught up at Yale recently. Lwando was presenting a lunchtime seminar on 'Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa' while Isaac received the Fox Fellowship and is spending the 2016-2017 academic year at Yale. 


Workshop on Contemporary Zambia

As part of its expanding engagement with African politics and public policy, the CSSR hosted a workshop on contemporary Zambia on 30 and 31 September. The focus of the workshop was on the controversial elections in August 2016. Three presenters were from Lusaka: Dr Marja Hinfelaar (who spoke about the historical background to the elections), Dr Neo Simutanyi (on their significance) and Dr Tinenenji Banda (who analysed the legal process surrounding the 'petition' to the constitutional court to set aside the results ). Professor Ndangwa Noyoo from the University of Johannesburg spoke about the authoritarian streak in Zambian politics and successive government's failure to address the 'Barotse question'. , Dr Mundia Kabinga of UCT's GSB spoke about the economic context, and Hangala Siachiwena (of the CSSR and Sociology Department) dissected the election results themselves. The workshop was organised by Hangala Siachiwena.

FaSRU researcher, Kirsty Button, awarded a distinction

Congratulations go to Kristy Button, a postgraduate researcher at FaSRU. Her thesis "Household economies of low-income, African female-headed households in Khayelitsha: intergenerational support, conflict, and tension", completed in June at the Sociology Department, was awarded a Distinction from both external examiners. Kirsty will be continuing her research in this area by undertaking a doctorate in the coming months.

Elections in Zambia

Zambia will be holding presidential and parliamentary elections in August, and there is a good chance that the incumbent president (Edgar Lungu) and his Patriotic Front will lose power to Hakainde Hichilema and the United Party for National Development. On 4 July, the CSSR held an informal discussion of the forthcoming elections. Prof Horman Chitonge (of the Centre for African Studies), Dr Mundia Kabinga (of the Graduate School of Business) and Hangala Siachiwena (a PhD student in Sociology and the CSSR) led the discussion. The event was organised by Hangala, whose research focuses on the effects of change of government on social policy-making (see Hangala's Working Paper on policy reforms under the 2011-14 Zambian government). The CSSR intends to hold a workshop on the election results in early September.

Mzantsi Wakho web page launched - http://www.mzantsiwakho.org

Mzantsi Wakho (‘Your South Africa’) is based in the Amathole District of the Eastern Cape. Its academic homes are at the University of Cape Town, and Oxford University’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention.
The study seeks to answer several research questions about youth health, with a focus on medicines-taking and sexual and reproductive health. It uses multiple methods and data sources to identify and investigate risk and resilience-promoting factors, through linked qualitative and quantitative studies.

Students present papers at 'Unequal Families and Relationships' conference

Kirsty Button and Nicole Daniels in Edinburgh

Congratulations to three of our PG students,  Isaac Chinyoka,  Nicole Daniels and Kirsty Button,  who presented papers at international conference: Unequal Families and Relationships.   The conference organised by the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships was held at The University of Edinburgh, 13-15 June 2016.  The students were supported by the  Families and Societies Research Unit at the CSSR,  directed by Elena Moore. Elena and the team wish to express their gratitude for the warm welcome they received from Prof.  Lynn Jamieson.  

Print media coverage of community protests in South Africa

17 May, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Dr Tanja Bosch, Dr Wallace Chuma & Prof Herman Wasserman (Centre for Film and Media Studies)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Since the end of apartheid, there has been a steady increase in community protests in South Africa, as a result of growing citizen frustration and tensions.  High levels of unemployment, increasing inequality, shortages of housing, water and sanitation, electricity; corruption and municipal administration, health and crime, have all been listed as reasons for the protests, often described as a ‘rebellion of the poor’. The authors will present the findings of a quantitative content analysis, which explored the nature of mainstream print media coverage of the protests and offer reflections of how the protests are framed in relation to democracy. The community protests represent a form of bottom up resistance, raising issues of the politics of inclusion and exclusion. Moreover, the political realm is shaped by media coverage of the protests – when the media focuses only on violent protests, or frames protests as nothing more than a traffic disturbance – it shapes the nature of how these groups are given voice in mainstream media.

Contested notions of disablement and 'deservingness' in disability grant assessments in South Africa

10 May, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Gabby Kelly (CSSR)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper examines the interactions between doctors and claimants during assessments of medical eligibility for disability grants (DGs) in South Africa. Based on ethnographic work in clinics and hospitals, I show that disability assessments are sites of negotiation and contestation between doctors, claimants and the state over how social security rights should be allocated. Focusing on five cases of ‘resistance’, I show how disability as a social, medical and administrative category was socially and discursively constructed, (re-)defined and applied in ways that contradicted official policy. I argue that doctors’ divergence from rules and guidelines was driven by differences between the government’s bureaucratic framing of disability and the alternative frames doctors used for making sense of cases and thinking about disability, illness and employability in the South African context. Doctors’ framing of disability grant cases was shaped by their social and cultural backgrounds and dispositions, professional knowledge and values, as well as broader discursive framings of rights and social justice. Claimants also asserted their own subjective understandings of disability during assessments, using their agency to resist the objectifying process of disability categorisation and attempting to have their experiences of physical, social and financial suffering 'seen' and legitimised by the state. They used performances of disability, narratives of suffering, social pressure and threats of violence to manipulate or coerce doctors into recommending grants or to voice their frustration with perceived unjust treatment. This paper makes an original empirical contribution to the study of conceptions of disability as a category of the ‘deserving’ poor in a context of high poverty. It also highlights the influence of norms and values in the allocation of welfare rights at the street-level and demonstrates how the agency of both frontline workers and citizens can shape policy implementation. This provides useful insight into the ‘gap’ between policy and practice.