Lone mothers, social security and dignity
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Comprehensive social security could play a critical role in helping to protect and respect people's dignity. Gemma Wright and Andrea Royeppen report on a colloquium presented at the HSRC on lone mothers, hosted by PAN: Children.
There is a Setswana phrase that goes, 'Mma ngwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng'. Translated directly into English it means 'a mother holds a knife by the blade (sharpest part of the knife)', and is interpreted as meaning that a mother will do anything in her power to protect her child from danger.
In many respects, this phrase encapsulates the findings of a recently completed study titled Lone mothers in South Africa - the role of social security in respecting and protecting dignity. The three-year project, which involved collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford, the HSRC and the University of the Western Cape, was funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Economic and Social Research Council.