An exploration of the occupational-life-trajectories of five young men in the Heideveld community

Du Preez, Karlien (2013-03)

Thesis (MOccTher)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Heideveld, a suburb that forms part of the “Cape Flats”, is plagued by high levels of crime, gangsterism, unemployment and relative poverty. I became specifically interested in the occupations of the young men in Heideveld, as I often observed them loitering in the streets, at an age when they should have been in school, studying or starting a career. This led me to wonder about the repertoire of occupations that they had performed over the course of their lives, i.e. their occupational-life-trajectories. I became interested in the influence that the environment and their personal attributes had on the occupations that they performed over time. Guided by the Person-Environment-Occupation model as a conceptual tool I decided to explore the occupational-life-trajectories of men between the ages of 20 and 25 throughout the course of their life, up to their current age. At the organisation where I volunteered during my time in Heideveld, there was a weekly programme for the children and young women (aged 12 to 22), but nothing for young men, which prompted my interest in doing research about this age group. My initial thinking was to form the theoretical basis from which an occupation-based intervention group could be developed. I intended to explore what had motivated occupational participation throughout their lives, how certain occupations developed over time and the influence of the environment on their occupations. Snowball sampling was applied to gain access to the participants. Using a qualitative approach I combined a method called PhotoVoice with individual, narrative interviews, in order to collect data on the occupational-life-trajectories of five young men from Heideveld. PhotoVoice is a participant-based method that allowed the interviewees to take photos of occupations that they have performed throughout their lives. The photographs were used to facilitate the interview process along with two or three guiding questions. Within-case and cross-case analysis were used to find themes that pertained to the aims of the study. I uncovered five themes in my analysis: “Ons gee nie krag weg nie/We don’t give away power”, “Ons het saam geloop/We ‘hang out’ together”, “Ek het baie probleme by die huis gehet/I had many problems at home”, “Die lewe is swaar hier buite/Life is hard out here” and “Ek wil net uit hierdie plek kom/I just want to get away from this place”. I found that the environment played a large role in the occupational-life-trajectories of the participants. I also found that the participants’ sense of masculinity, gender and identity affected their occupational choices and participation. I explain the peer nature and motivational factors influencing gangsterism and drug use as they manifested in the young men’s lives. I concluded that an occupation-based intervention programme might address certain aspects such as occupational choice and exposure, but that wider, more long-lasting intervention was necessary to truly make a difference in the occupational-life-trajectories of young men in Heideveld. After taking the support structures in the physical environment into consideration, recommendations were made in terms of the family unit, the peer group, education, skills training and community empowerment. Furthermore, as the organisation already serves boys between 10 and 14 years and a greater impact may be possible at this life stage, more detailed recommendations were developed regarding a possible occupational therapy intervention programme.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Heideveld, ‘n voorstad wat deel vorm van die Kaapse Vlaktes, gaan gebuk onder hoë vlakke van misdaad, bende bedrywighede, werkloosheid en relatiewe armoede. Ek het ‘n spesifieke belangstelling ontwikkel in die “occupations”¹ van die jong mans in Heideveld, omdat ek dikwels waargeneem het dat hulle in the strate drentel, op’n ouderdom wat hulle op skool moes gewees het, besig om te studeer, of om ‘n loopbaan to begin. Dit het my laat wonder oor die verskillende “occupations” waaraan hulle deelneem gedurende hulle lewens, m.a.w. hulle “occupational-life-trajectories²”. Ek was geïnteresseerd oor die invloed wat die omgewing en hulle persoonlike eienskappe gehad het op die “occupations” waarin hulle oor ‘n tydperk deelgeneem het. Gelei deur die “Person-Environment-Occupation” model as ‘n konseptuele instrument, het ek besluit om die “occupational-life-trajectories” van mans tussen die ouderdomme van 20 en 25, gedurende die tydperk van hulle lewens tot en met hul huidige ouderdomme, te bestudeer. By die organisasie waar ek ‘n vrywilliger was gedurende my tyd in Heideveld, was daar ‘n weeklikse program vir kinders en jonger vrouens (vanaf ouderdom 12 tot 22), maar niks vir jong mans nie. Dit het gelei tot my belangstelling om navorsing omtrent hierdie ouderdomsgroep te doen. My aanvanklike gedagtes was om ‘n teoretiese basis te vorm waarvandaan ‘n “occupation”-gebaseerde intervensie-program ontwikkel kon word. Ek wou die motivering agter die jong mans se “occupational”-deelname, hoe sekere “occupations” oor tyd ontiwkkel en die invloed van die omgewing op hul “occupations” verken. Sneeubalsteekproeftrekking is gebruik om toegang tot die deelnemers te kry. Deur ‘n kwalitatiewe benadering te gebruik, het ek ‘n metode genaamd “PhotoVoice” met individuele, narratiewe onderhoude gekombineer, om data te versamel omtrent die “occupational-life-trajectories” van vyf jong mans in Heideveld. “PhotoVoice” is ‘n deelnemer-gebaseerde metode wat die deelnemer toegelaat het om foto’s van die “occupations” waaraan hulle gedurende hulle lewens deelgeneem het, af te neem. Die foto’s is gebruik om die onderhoude te fasiliteer tesame met twee of drie gerigte vrae. Tussen-geval en kruis-geval analise is gebruik om temas te vind wat die doelwitte van die studie aanspreek. Ek het vyf temas ge-identifiseer gedurende my analise: “Ons gee nie krag weg nie/We don’t give away power”, “Ons het saam geloop/We ‘hang out’ together”, “Ek het baie probleme by die huis gehet/I had many problems at home”, “Die lewe is swaar hier buite/Life is hard out here” en “Ek wil net uit hierdie plek kom/I just want to get away from this place”. Ek het gevind dat die omgewing ‘n groot rol speel in die deelnemers se “occupational-life-trajectories”. Ek het ook gevind dat die deelnemers se sin van manlikheid, geslag en identiteit hul “occupational” keuses en deelname geaffekteer het. Ek verduidelik ook die portuur natuur en motiverende faktore wat lei tot bende-aktiwiteite en dwelm gebruik, soos dit in die jong mans se lewens gemanifesteer het. Ek het afgelei dat ‘n “occupation” gebaseerde intervensie program moontlik sekere aspekte soos “occupational” keuses en -blootstelling kan affekteer, maar ‘n breër, langduriger intervensie is nodig om werklik ‘n verskil te maak in die “occupational-life-trajectories” van jong mans in Heideveld. Nadat ek die ondersteunende strukture in die fisiese omgewing inaggeneem het, het ek voorstelle gemaak in terme van die familie-eenheid, die portuur groep, onderrig, vaardigheidsopleiding en bemagtiging van die gemeenskap. Aangesien die organisasie reeds toegang het tot seuns tussen 10 en 14 jaar oud, en ‘n groter impak in hierdie lewenstydperk gemaak kan word, maak ek verdere, meer gedetailleerde voorstelle rondom ‘n arbeidsterapie program vir hierdie ouderdomsgroep.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80039
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