Adolescent Pregnancy and Reproductive Health in Transkei (Rural South Africa)

Monde Blessing Makiwane


A study of adolescent unmarried pregnancy was conducted in 1994 in the Transkei, Eastern Cape (South Africa). Data included a survey of 2,290 married and unmarried women, ages 15 to 49 years, and qualitative data collected from adolescents, parents and family planning officials. While only 11 percent of women were ever—married by age 19 years, 43 percent have had children. Marriage is late, with 64 percent of women 20—24 years never—married, a marked departure from universal and early marriage regarded as characteristics of most African societies. The recent South African political economy has contributed to the predominance of unmarried child—bearing in South Africa. For more than a century black men were recruited to work in cities, while by law, women and children had to remain in rural areas. This policy promoted a norm of unmarried women (possibly the largest in Africa) and a general acceptance of childbearing outside marital unions. (AfrJReprod Health 1998;2 (l):41—48)

KeY WORDS: Adolescent pregnancy, reproductive health, family planning

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