Exploring the lived experiences of seasonally unemployed parents in the Gouda area
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The research study focuses on the lived experiences of seasonally unemployed parents in the Gouda area in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Unemployment in South Africa is a serious problem, as the unemployment rate of 25% (second quarter 2015), is very high (Statistics RSA, 2015). Since unemployment is one of the indicators of lower levels of well-being, this issue must be addressed. Seasonal unemployment is characteristic of rural areas where unskilled people are reliant on agricultural activities for their income. Also, the cyclical periods of unemployment have an immense impact on both parents and their children. Method: A phenomenological qualitative design was used to explore the lived experiences of seasonally unemployed parents. A total of seven participants, namely parents who are seasonally unemployed were purposively selected from the Gouda area. In-depth one-on-one interviews were conducted with all the participants. Collages were created by each participant after completion of each interview. The collages supported and enriched the information obtained in the interviews. Findings: The findings show that the experiences of the participants as seasonally unemployed parents could be explained as series of challenges linked to periods of employment and more challenges or problems associated with periods of unemployment. During seasons of employment, mostly positive feelings and experiences were revealed. However, their negative feelings centred on the fear of losing their job due to a perceived lack of control concerning their circumstances. During seasons of unemployment, mostly negative experiences were revealed as the participants feel unhappy about not being able to provide for their families. However, the support they receive from their extended families and the community brings relief and are viewed as of positive experiences. This support encourages them to engage in entrepreneurial activities to support their families. It is recommended that existing support programmes utilise the collective wisdom and inputs of the participants toward the empowerment of seasonal unemployed parents. Limitations of the study are indicated.
- Humanities