Contrast and contradiction: being a black adolescent in contemporary South Africa

SOURCE: Journal of Psychology in Africa
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2016
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Arndt, L.Naude
KEYWORDS: ADOLESCENTS, AFRICAN PEOPLE, CULTURE, IDENTITY
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9899

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Abstract

This study aimed to gain in-depth understanding of the lived identity of black African adolescents in a contemporary South African setting. A purposive sample of 59 adolescents (females = 47%; Sesotho = 46%, Setswana = 36%, Other = 18%) from the Motheo district of the Free State, South Africa, participated in focus group discussions and in-depth individual interviews. Thematic analysis suggested that black South African adolescents experience transitional identities characterised by contrasts and contradictions. Altruism, autonomy, religiosity and cultural experiences were important to their lived identities. The interplay between African rituals, Christian principles, Western values and the globalisation of cultures provided fertile ground for developing a nuanced and multi-dimensional identity as an adolescent living in contemporary South Africa.