Grandparenting in southern Africa: what the elders see while sitting the young ones standing on their toes won't see

SOURCE: Grandparents in cultural context
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.Makiwane, N.A.Gumede, M.Makiwane
SOURCE EDITOR(S): W.Shwalb, Z.Hossain
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9876

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The scope of this chapter is limited to the Southern African region with a special focus on South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The main theme of this chapter is how grandparents continue to act as anchors for families in this region. Although the HIV/AIDS epidemic may have exacerbated the situation, it is important to note that care for grandchildren by grandparents and other members of the extended family pre-dates the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. As noted above in the case story, grandparents can assume the roles of primary parents, and do not have the luxury and time just to be story- tellers. The current economic climate has meant that numbers of unemployed young adults have increased in the region, and this has resulted in a widened gap between the rich and poor. Seen in this context, the role played by grandparents to sustain families is invaluable.