In search for a new identity after spousal death: the desire to remarry among young widows in South Africa
The study aims to understand the desire of young widows in South Africa to remarry again after the loss of their spouse. These young widows lose their husband at very early stage of their lives and are faced with the challenges of raising their children alone. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 young widows, no more than a year after their husbands’ deaths. They participate in the interview process to share the search for an identity after the spousal death. Data was analysed by using thematic content analysis. Their responses mainly highlighted their desire to remarry and escape poverty. The thematic analysis indicated that remarrying was influenced by age, sexual desire, financial pressure, companionship, and community pressure. The widows find it very difficult to find a perfect match, as many men of their age group are already married. They find themselves dating married men. This is as a result of the shortage of men of their age group. Four major themes emerged from the interviews, namely age of the widow, financial support, ccompanionship, and if ostracised by the community. The findings of the study revealed that there is a strong desire for young widows to remarry, and this desire is met with many obstacles they must overcome along the way. The study recommends that men must be gender sensitive when dating widows; they are human too and need to be treated with respect.
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