Child care by the elderly and the duty of support in multigenerational households

  • Sandra Burman Socio-Legal Unit, University of Cape Town


This paper discusses an investigation of the extent of childcare services rendered by lower-income elderly persons formerly classified as coloured, and the consequences for them in terms of current finances, future support, and status and control within their families. An interview study was conducted among a sample of 100 women drawn from lunch clubs in poorer areas of Cape Town. Interviews were also conducted with a wide range of social workers, club organizers, religious leaders and welfare officials. A third of the sampled women were providing child care. As a result of this service, together with the housing and financial contributions which they made, the women played an important role in the welfare of their descendants.


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