An analysis of the emerging patterns of reproductive behaviour among rural women in South Africa : a case study of the Victoria East District of the Eastern Cape Province

Mfono, Zanele Ntombizanele (2002-03)

Thesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study describes and analyses changes in women's reproductive behaviour ID developing communities. These changes took more than hundred years to occur ID Western communities but only two to three decades in developing communities such as Taiwan and Barbados. The population of Victoria East district of the Eastern Cape province of South Afiica was chosen as a case study of these changes. Changes in the reproductive behaviour of women are described over a period of twenty-two years. The base year for the study is 1978 and data were collected up to 2001. Changes increased in particular since 1988. Statistical descriptive analyses were undertaken with regard to patterns of changes in variables such as age at the onset of births, child spacing, the mean number of births per woman, fertility regulation, and the number of children ever bom. Variations in patterns were analysed according to age cohorts, occupation and marital status. Information regarding these variables was collected from records at hospitals and clinics. Focus group interviews were held to reflect women's own descriptions and experiences regarding these variables. The research design thus combines the quantitative and qualitative approaches. The findings confirm a pattern of fertility decline that Caldwell described as the African pattern, which is different from that seen in Europe and Asia. It is characterized by a progressive delay in onset of childbearing and reductions in the mean number of childbirths that occur across all age cohorts and are associated with contraceptive accessibility. The high incidence of non-marital childbearing in the Victoria East district however sets the population studied apart from the polygamous Afiican societies on which Caldwell based the African transition. In this respect the population considered resembles the scenarios seen in Latin America, the Caribbean, Botswana and in recent years Europe. The study population shows a divergence in the patterns of marital and non-marital childbearing, with marital childbearing following the African pattem. Because of its high incidence, non-marital childbearing is dominant and the major contributor to the fertility decline that is afoot. The implications of this pattern needs much more in-depth study before comparisons with the above-mentioned communities can be made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie beskryf en ontleed veranderinge in vroue se reproduktiewe gedrag in ontwikkelende gemeenskappe. Hierdie veranderinge het in Westerse gemeenskappe meer as honderd jaar geneem om plaas te vind maar slegs twee tot drie dekades in ontwikkelende gemeenskappe soos Taiwan en Barbados. Die bevolking van die landelike Victoria-Oosdistrik: in die Oos-Kaapprovinsie is gekies as 'n gevalstudie daarvan in Suid- Afrika. Veranderinge in die reproduktiewe gedrag van vroue in hierdie gemeenskap word oor 'n periode van twee-en-twintigjaar beskryf Die basisjaar van die studie is 1978 en data is ingesamel tot en met 2001. Veranderinge het veral toegeneem vanaf 1988. Statistiese-beskrywende ontleding is gedoen ten opsigte van patrone van verandering in veranderlikes soos die ouderdom by die skenk van geboorte, geboorte-spasiëring, die gemiddelde aantal geboortes per vrou, fertiliteitsregulering en die aantal kinders ooit gebore. Variasies in patrone is ook na aanleiding van huwelikstaat en beroep bepaal. Inligting aangaande hierdie veranderlikes is verky vanaf rekords wat by hospitale en klinieke gehou word. Fokusgroeponderhoude is ook onderneem waarvolgens vroue se eie beskrywings en ervarings aangaande die genoemde veranderlikes verkry is. Groepe is saamgestel volgens verskeie ouderdomskohorte en huwelikstaat. Die navorsingsmetodologie behels dus 'n kombinasie van kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe benaderings. Die bevindings bevestig 'n patroon van fertiliteitsafhame wat deur Caldwell as die Afrikapatroon beskryf word en afwyk van die Europese en Asiatiese patroon. Dit word gekenmerk deur 'n progressiewe vertraging in die aanvang van geboorte-skenk, afhame in die gemiddelde aantal geboortes oor al die ouderdomskohorte en word geassosieer met kontraseptiewe toegankliheid. Die hoë voorkoms van buite-egtelike geboortes in die Victoria-Oosdistrik onderskei egter die bestudeerde bevolking van die poligame Afrika gemeenskappe waarop Caldwell die Afrika-oorgangstipe gebaseer het. In hierdie opsig vertoon die bevolking eerder ooreenkomste met ontwikkelende gemeenskappe m Suid-Amerika, die Karibbiese Eilande, Botswana en die meer onlangse Europa. Die bestudeerde bevolking vertoon uiteenlopende patrone van binne-egtelike en buite-egtelike geboortes met die binneegtelike patroon meer in ooreenstemming met die Afrika-patroon. Die hoë voorkoms van buite-egtelike geboortes domineer egter die algehele patroon en kan beskou work as die hoof bydraende faktor in the afhemende fertiliteit wat waargeneem is. Die implikasies hiervan moet egter veel dieper studie ondergaan alvorens verdere vergelykings met die bogenoemde gemeenskappe gemaak kan word.

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