The­sis on women liv­ing on PMB streets

The Witness - - NEWS -

UKZN staffer Dr Lungile Zondi grad­u­ated dur­ing UKZN’s Spring Grad­u­a­tion Cer­e­mony at Westville cam­pus this week with her PhD in an­thro­pol­ogy re­cently for re­search that delved into the life and ex­pe­ri­ences of young women (19-35 years) liv­ing on the streets of the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg CBD and sur­round­ings.

Ac­cord­ing to Zondi’s study which sam­pled 20 women, push and pull fac­tors such as an­ces­tral call­ing, whoonga ad­dic­tion, forced/ar­ranged/ early-mar­riages, cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment, grand­mother- and big brother-headed fam­i­lies, fam­ily con­nec­tions on the street as well as hered­i­tary fac­tors have led to women liv­ing on the streets.

Her study also found that these women pos­sess ob­scured and mis­con­strued iden­ti­ties that come with liv­ing on the street and they ac­tively use fend­ing strate­gies for sur­vival.

Fend­ing strate­gies in­clude hourly pros­ti­tu­tion, stand­ing on the road in­ter­sec­tions and work­ing as car­guards dur­ing the day and night.

Zondi ar­gues that the women’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity con­text in­cludes be­ing treated as less than hu­man, smug­gling whoonga, un­paid pros­ti­tu­tion, as­sault by law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties and the death of their friends while sleep­ing. De­spite such chal­lenges, the study finds that the women are scep­ti­cal about be­ing re­united with their fam­i­lies.

“Re­spon­sive in­ter­ven­tions that pol­icy cus­to­di­ans can em­bark on based on other African coun­tries are part of the so­lu­tion,” says Zondi.

Zondi thanked her fam­ily, friends and su­per­vi­sor, Pro­fes­sor Vi­vian Be­sem-Ojong, for be­ing her sup­port sys­tem dur­ing her stud­ies. — UKZN.

PHOTO: RA­JESH JANTILAL

UKZN staffer Dr Lungile Zondi grad­u­ates with her PhD in An­thro­pol­ogy. Pic­tured with Zondi is the reg­is­trar, Si­mon Mokoena.

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