The Extended Family Support to Older Persons in The Context of Government Social Grant Provisioning in South Africa

Pius Tanga, Magdaline Tanga, Priscilla Gutura


The study’s point of departure is based on the assumption that the parent-child tie is the primary source of support within families. Therefore, by using a qualitative research design, this study is performed to explore the financial support being received by elderly parents in receipt of Old Age Grant (OAG) from their adult children. The study has been conducted in Amathole District in South Africa and thirty participants have been selected for the study. The participants have been selected using purposive sampling and data is collected by semi-structured interviews. Evidence from the study reveal that a significant proportion of the elderly who are receiving the OAG have not been getting support from their children precisely because of their receipt of the grant. Nevertheless, other reasons emerged are ranged from unemployment of the adult children, poverty, and urban migration. However, there is an insignificant proportion of those who have been receiving support from their adult children. On the other hand, the frequency of support received has not been regular. It is found that a large proportion of the support received is occasional and rare in some instances. The study reveals that extended family support networks are no longer as strong as they use to be in the past in rural South Africa. It is therefore recommended that more formal services will have to counteract the informal care provided by family members, in particular those provided by adult children.


Elderly parent; filial obligation; financial support; old age grant; adult children; reciprocity.

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