The establishment of implicit perspectives of personality in Tshivenda-speaking South Africans
Ntsieni, Rejoyce Talifhani
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Personality tests are widely used in South Africa. The application of personality assessment techniques for clinical and personnel decisions has been a major activity for psychologists. All main personality models have ken developed in a Western context: the question therefore arises whether these models are adequate and sufficient for South Africa. There is a need to develop personality tests that are based on South African cultures. In South Africa the continuous use of Western-based personality tests raise a challenge. The challenge also lies with the current legislation with regard to the use of psychological tests. The challenge is to construct an inventory suited to the local needs while retaining the standards of validity and reliability expected of established assessment instruments. Our socially diverse society and its wide implications for the cultural dynamics of personality evaluations that we find in South Africa warrant further research. A qualitative research design was used in this study, including interviewing as a data gathering method. A total of 120 Tshivenda speaking people from the Thohoyandou district in Limpopo province and Pretoria in Gauteng province were interviewed. A total of 4 722 personality descriptors with a view to Tshivenda speaking people were obtained from the participants, and then translated into English. Content analysis was used to analyse, interpret and reduce these descriptors to a total of 150 personality characteristics which are the most important perspectives of personality for the Tshivenda speaking individuals. The personality characteristics were divided into eight categories, namely interpersonal relatedness, sociability, conscientiousness, emotionality, meanness, intellect, dominance and a category for other traits. The interpersonal relatedness factor in the Vhavenda personality characteristics could be regarded as a cultural factor. The Tshivenda speaking people are also sociable with a preference for companionship, social skills and numerous friendships. They also have a strong sense of purpose and high inspiration levels. The Tshivenda speaking people also experience emotions and feelings related to situations that they face. Intellect characteristics could also be extrapolated from the personality characteristics of the Vhavenda people. The findings of this study were compared to the five factor model, and evidence was found for extraversion and conscientiousness in particular. Very few characteristics of openness on the five factor model correspond to that of the Tshivenda speaking people, except in the cases of a few personality characteristics that were labelled under the category of intellect. Recommendations for future research are made.
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