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Perceptions and Experiences of Motherhood: A Study of Black and White Mothers of Durban, South Africa

Thenjiwe Magwaza


The article examines responses and experiences of Black and White women – checking on the dynamics of their social, political and cultural lives. Mothers were interviewed and responded to a questionnaire to ascertain their personal opinions, expectations of their communities and mothering choices they finally make. The following questions were posed to the respondents, i.e. enquiring how they play out in the different groups:

1. Gender equality in the lives of mothers: what challenges do the mothers as opposed to the fathers face?

2. The work-family dilemma: what challenges do they have as mothers living in an urban area, what choices do they have to make and why?

3. Family support: what support (if any) do they have, what pressures are there within the nuclear and extended family?

4. Cultural and societal expectations on mothers: what does motherhood mean in their cultural groups, how do they live up to those meanings, what final choices do they make and why?

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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