Crossing the threshold : evaluation of a rites of passage programme in a peri-urban South African community

Knoetze, Katharine (2003-11)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Adolescence, especially for boys, is a time of exploration, experimentation and risk taking - "a rejection of the mundane" (Pinnock, 1997, p. 7). As their gender identity develops, boys start to identify with their fathers and require nurturance from them in order to develop an internal locus of control and the strength to successfully cope with life's challenges. Without older men to guide adolescent boys in mastering the tasks necessary for them to attain adult status, boys turn to other boys for assistance in making this transition. In the absence of community involvement and positive male role models, this rites of passage process can have disastrous effects. In 1999 a primary health care clinic was opened in Jamestown (located lOkm south east of Stellenbosch) and the staff at this clinic approached the Department of Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch for assistance, as there was an urgent need for psychological services in the community. The community role players were especially concerned about the male youth in the area, who were identified as being at risk for becoming involved in gang related activities and amongst whom drug and alcohol abuse was on the increase. In partnership with Usiko, a rites of passage diversion programme (targeting twenty-one boys and lasting for a period of nine months) was started at Stellenzicht Secondary School to address this concern. Thirteen men (mentors) were selected from Jamestown and surrounding areas to guide the boys (mentees) through this process. This research assignment is an outcome evaluation from the perspective of the twenty-one young men who participated in the first Jamestown Usiko Youth Project, as well as from the perspective of key informants (parents/guardians and teachers). Feedback from the mentees affirmed that participation in the project had contributed towards an improvement in interpersonal relationships, decreased in involvement in high risk activities, and an inspiration to overcome adverse circumstances. The teachers, however, indicated the need for closer collaboration between the project and the school to counter negative attitudes of the participants. Recommendations received from the mentees, their parents/guardians and teachers have been an invaluable resource ill improving the content and processes of the programme, which is now in its third cycle.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Adolessensie, veral vir tienerseuns, is 'n tyd van ontdekking, eksperimentering en waagstukke neem - "a rejection of the mundane" (Pinnock, 1997, p. 7). Soos hulle geslagsidentiteit ontwikkel, begin seuns hulle met hulle vaders identifiseer en ontvang hulle vaderlike ondersteuning. So ontwikkel die seuns mettertyd 'n interne lokus van beheer en die nodige vaardighede wat hulle in staat stelom die uitdagings van die lewe te hanteer. Sonder ouer mans wat aan adolessente seuns die begeleiding kan verskaf om die take te bemeester wat nodig is vir die bereiking van volwassenheid, raak seuns op ander seuns aangewys om hulle by te staan in hierdie oorgangsfase. In die afwesigheid van gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid en positiewe manlike rolmodelle, kan dié deurgangsrites rampspoedige gevolge hê. In 1999 is 'n primêre gesondheidskliniek in Jamestown (10km suidoos van Stellenbosch) geopen en die personeel van dié kliniek het die Departement van Sielkunde van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch genader vir bystand, aangesien daar 'n dringende behoefte vir sielkundige dienste in die gemeenskap was. Die rolspelers in die gemeenskap was veral bekommerd oor die manlike jeug in die area wat geïdentifiseer is as mense wat die risiko loop om by bendeverwante aktiwiteite betrokke te raak en onder wie dwelm en -alkoholmisbruik aan die toeneem was. In vennootskap met Usiko is 'n afleidingsprogram vir deurgangsrites in Stellenzicht Sekondêre Skool begin. Die teikengroep was een-en-twintig seuns en die program sou nege maande duur. Dertien mans (mentors) is uit Jamestown en omliggende gebiede gekeur om die seuns (mentees) deur hierdie proses te lei. Hierdie navorsingsprojek is 'n uitkoms-evaluering vanuit die perspektief van die een-en-twintig jong mans wat deelgeneem het aan die eerste Jamestown Usiko Jeugprojek, sowel as vanuit die perspektief van sleutelinformante (ouers/voogde en onderwysers). Terugvoering van die mentees het bevestig dat deelname aan die projek bygedra het tot 'n verbetering in interpersoonlike verhoudinge, 'n afname in betrokkenheid by hoë-risiko aktiwiteite, en 'n inspirasie om nadelige omstandighede te oorkom. Die onderwysers het egter gewys op die noodsaaklikheid van nouer samewerking tussen die projek en die skool om sodoende negatiewe gesindhede by die deelnemers teen te werk. Aanbevelings wat van die mentees, hulle ouers/voogde en onderwysers ontvang is, was 'n bron van onskatbare waarde om die inhoud en prosesse van die program, wat nou in sy derde siklus is, te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97518
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