Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


Curriculum and Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Samuel T. Harris

Second Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Third Advisor

Cedric C. Ward


Problem. Problems have been identified in the African family that is caught up in a cross-cultural situation between the traditional African culture and the Western culture. This study set out to collect and organize information about the changing patterns of African family life and the new structures which have emerged. The magnitude of the problem and the size of the population involved call for a serious attempt to understand the situation and to suggest probable solutions.

Method. Six churches were chosen as a sample, three from the Trans-Orange Conference and the other three from the Cape Field. Adult and youth questionnaires were sent to the presidents of the two organizations who administered the questionnaires to the members of the six churches. The responses were tabulated with the aid of the Andrews University Computing Center and the data were analyzed by means of percentages and Chi-squares.

Conclusions. The results of the study showed that in the Trans-Orange Conference, the decrease in church marriages was even more marked than that of the general population. Premarital children and uncertainty about how reliable the future spouse might be were seen as the main contributing factors to decreased church marriages. Although the respondents practiced the lobola custom, they were not sure whether or not it violated any Christian principle. A certain section of the constituency is still holding on to initiation schools and they would like to see a greater involvement of church members rather than kinsmen in the custom. The study also revealed that with little kinsmen structure in urban areas and limited pastoral visitation, the marriage union lacks support from important societal groups. The adult respondents indicated that a greater percentage of them disapproved of companionship between opposite sexes and this lead to fifty percent of them having difficulty in guiding their youth in sex matters. Child rearing practices were found to parallel those of the industrialized societies where mothers worked and had little time for children.

Subject Area

Family life education, Seventh-day Adventists--South Africa.

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