Exploring the needs and strengths of families who live in a resource constrained community in Christiana, North West Province
Families are natural social systems and its members act as both emotional and economic networks that provide individuals with a sense of belonging. The connectedness of individuals biologically and historically related across generations comes through as a powerful message in recent empirical work, highlighting the undoubted importance of families around the world. Traditionally, families in Africa are grounded on an extended family system within which all members of the family find themselves closely knit together in connections of relationships. The African family is known for the interconnectedness of its members where space and resources are shared, guaranteeing family survival in cases of crisis and adversity. South African families are of particular interest, supported by the unique history of the country and the legacy of apartheid. Families in South Africa are uniquely divided by race, language and socio-economic means although a shift has been observed in the recent past with more blended families being observed. Yet, this shift is not significant enough to change the format of the contemporary South African family. The majority of South African families’ lives are lived in poverty, as South Africa is one of the countries with the highest unemployment rates in the world and its historical poverty. A vast body of literature exists that explores deficits in families in South Africa due to poverty and historical legacies; however, little light is shed on the functioning of the family as a unit. The present study forms part of a larger research project which focuses on the strategies of the White Paper on Families in South Africa, with a particular interest in the strengths and needs of families in South Africa. The present study has been approved as an affiliated study of the larger research project by the Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) of North-West University in September of 2018. As an affiliated study, the present study is fully aligned with the larger research project with the aim of exploring the needs and strengths of families who reside in a resource-constrained community in Christiana, North West Province where they work as farm and general workers. This aim was explored by means of a qualitative methodology, led by a qualitative descriptive research design and data were collected my means of the participation learning action technique (PLA). PLA is an approach that enables researchers to capture new nuances of phenomena being studied by making use of Venn diagrams and free drawings. These PLA tools allowed for all family members to actively participate in data collection and provide in-depth information in relation to their needs and strength regardless of their educational background or age. Data collected by means of PLA groups were transcribed and all verbatim data were analysed by means of thematic analysis. Findings revealed normative values as the core strength of families living in Christiana. They also described environmental and personal needs because of the lack of resources in their community. These families described their active practising Ubuntu and spirituality as the cornerstones to cope with their daily lives while living in this community. These findings are crucial to this study, as they represent the voices of these families living in the resource-constrained environment in Christiana, North West Province. Thus, the findings can be utilised by government in order to elevate the lives of these families when implementing intervention programmes that are suitable for these families. Also, the findings contribute to existing knowledge and academia, especially when trying to understand the needs and strengths of these family units within the South African context.
- Health Sciences