The Need for Culturally Responsive Mediation Practices to Enhance the Process and Outcomes of Mediation for Unmarried Fathers
Keywords:mediation, unmarried father, culturally responsive, family
The past decade has shown significant progress in family mediation services in South Africa, following the implementation of the amended Children’s Act of 2005, which has not fully considered issues relating to customary law and culture pertaining to mediation with unmarried fathers. A broader qualitative explorative study was undertaken to understand the experiences and perceptions of unmarried fathers, unmarried mothers and mediators regarding mediation. This article focuses on factors influencing the process and outcomes of mediation for unmarried fathers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of seven unmarried fathers and eight mediators. Factors were identified that influence the process and outcomes of family mediation, of which culture, customary law and family dynamics are the focus of this article. Findings from Xhosa and Zulu participants in the study highlight the need for the inclusion of culturally responsive approaches to family mediation services by foregrounding issues relating to customary law, culture, and unmarried fathers.
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