Gender and Behaviour

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Coping strategies employed by young Vhavenda widows in Vhembe in dealing with death and bereavement

Pelewe Itsweni, Rendani Tshifhumulo


Death and bereavement are sensitive issues experienced by all mortal species across the world. When death occurs, some individual are left bereaved. However, all societies have established cultural ways of mourning the dead as a way of healing the bereaved. The objective of the study was to solicit the coping strategies for Vhavenda widows. A qualitative research method was used to collect in-depth data through unstructured interviews. The research findings indicated that most young widows are coerced into performing bereavement rituals while elders made decisions for some. Only one young widow did not have bereavement rituals performed on her. The Findings also indicate that the participants are not fully aware of their rights as women, wives and citizens of South Africa.

Keywords: Bereavement, culture, respect, dignity, solidarity, compassion, survival

AJOL African Journals Online