Exploring the Passage to Adulthood in Masxha: A Narrative Inquiry

Home Institution

Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


This project explores the transition into adulthood for individuals living in the neighborhood of Masxha, located in the outskirts of Durban, South Africa. The project addresses the topic of emergence into adulthood and identifies the defining features of that stage of life for a group of young people that I met in Masxha. I interviewed six men and five women ages 18 to 33 years of age, in addition to one interview of a local expert on Zulu culture. From these interviews, I gathered a variety of narratives that aim to describe various aspects of development and growth from adolescence to adulthood. I analyzed my findings by looking for common threads that are apparent in the narratives I obtained. From there I drew conclusions about themes that arise from Masxha residents regarding adolescence, adulthood and the transition in between. My findings have provided me with evidence towards the great variation that exists in people’s experience of maturation. Additionally, my findings point toward the different impacts that Zulu traditional ceremonies, relationships with parents, peers and romantic partners, and challenging events had on the participants in my sample.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Psychology and Interaction

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