Frank Relationships Radio Show: Relationships in South Africa

Monday, Jan. 21st 2013 12:29 AM

 

If you’re stateside listening, you probably have a relatively fixed idea of what the relationship courting process is like. Today we are traveling to another part of the world to see what the process is like in another culture. Buckle up, we are headed to South Africa … on this edition of Frank Relationships.


 
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: RELATIONSHIPS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Guests: Zee
Date: January 21, 2013

Frank: If you’re stateside listening, you probably have a relatively fixed idea of what the relationship courting process is like. Well today, we’re traveling to another part of the world to see what the process is like in another culture. Buckle up. We’re headed to South Africa on this addition of Frank Relationships.

Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look into relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com. Once again, I’m joined by my co-host, Dr. Gayle. She’s one heck of a smart woman, but today she’s mad at me. I told her we’re going to South Africa and to meet me at the studio. She showed up in a taxi with two big suitcases and a sarong dress in 30 degree weather, only to find out that I was speaking figuratively.

Now, I have a knot on the side of my head and I’m sitting with a woman with a doctorate in psychology and more attitude than usual, if you can imagine that. Well, what’s up, Dr. Gayle?

Dr. Gayle: What’s up, Frank?

Frank: I recently had a house guest and she and the rest of my family sat around exchanging stories and lying to one another. And she began to tell us about some of the nuisances around relationships in her home country, South Africa. I was fascinated as she discussed different cultural aspects that I had never heard of. And of course, you know what I said to her. “You should be a guest on my show. After all, I can’t be the only person interested in a relationship of nuisances of another culture,” and here we are.

Today’s guest is a resident and native of South Africa, but she’s not naïve about the states by any stretch of the imagination. You see, she attended and graduated from none other than Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then, which was about 18 years ago, she’s returned to her homeland to live. Now, she’s a mom, professional and altogether wonderful spirit, who’s here to grace us with a lesson in relationships, South Africa style.

Want to know what damages are? How the dowry process works and how the lineage system works? Well, then sit down, hush, because I’ve got those and a bunch of other questions that I intend to get answered over the course of the next hour, while I talk to Zee.

Greetings Zee, tell me about the expectations that were fed to you as a child about relationships in South Africa?

Zee: Well, growing up in South Africa and growing up in Soweto, my parents when they were guiding basically said that it was important that as a woman I do not actually engage in a relationship, which is going to result into me being pregnant before I get married. And they basically guided me and told me that if that ever happened and the *(inaudible) 04:22 would be that. The man that impregnates me will have to what we call “damages” and “damages” is a custom or it’s a tradition that basically happens before you even have the baby. So, if you get pregnant before you get married. That means the guy or the man that has contributed to that situation and has no intentions of probably getting married to you, then he has to pay what we call “damages.” It’s a lump sum that is required and that lump sum is a fee that says, “You have caused damages, because you’ve impregnated our angel and this is before time and this is before the lobola. You need to pay the damages. However, if your intentions are to marry her, you still have to pay those damages as well as the lobola.

Frank: And the mobola–

Zee: Lobola. Lobola is what some people call a dowry. And the real idea behind the lobola is basically to build relationships between the man’s family and the woman’s family, whether you want to call it paternal and the maternal.

Frank: Tell me how do damages get established? How do you know what the rate for the damages is going to be?

Zee: Well, it varies from family to family and some families would say–or some cultures–the bigger South African continent would basically say that, “Because my child is educated or because my daughter is educated–so it basically varies from family to family. It depends on the level of your education as well.

Dr. Gayle: And even if they pay the damages, are the families looked down upon or is the girl looked down upon?

Zee: Back in the days it was. Even still today this is still frowned at. People will frown but it’s not as customary as it used to be but if you come from a very traditional family, from a rural area, you probably will still be frowned at in a big way. And every parent would like to see their child or their brother get married before they have kids. It’s like anywhere in the world.

Dr. Gayle: Right. I was going to ask you, what do you think the difference is from here, from the states or the U.S. verses where you were born and grew up and raised?

Zee: The difference as in what?

Dr. Gayle: With regard to how parents want their children to be raised or their daughters, particularly; like wanting them to be married prior to having children. It sounds like your culture maybe a little bit more strict. Do you think so or no?

Zee: I think our country is more stringent than the American culture.

Dr. Gayle: Uh-huh.

Zee: In the sense that there is no such a process in America and yet we have this process in South Africa.

Frank: It sounds like the closest thing to it was years past when they used to have shot gun weddings. And that’s when the father would show up to the young man’s house with a shot gun and say, “You’re going to marry my daughter since you’ve gotten her pregnant.”

Dr. Gayle: Yeah, but that was years ago.

Frank: That was years ago. Now, do damages, do they in any way pay for the child? So, is it a contribution at all to the well being of or is it simply like you said, “Damages for impregnating the young woman?”

Zee: Well, that money basically goes to the maternal parents and it depends on those parents if they want to use it to that money as support towards the well being of the child. But it doesn’t aim to be. You will still need to pay maintenance toward the child’s well being. This fee, it’s not a big amount, but it’s quite a lot amount of money. As I said, it varies from background to background.

Frank: So give me an idea of the variants. If a young woman is educated will the damages be $500 (American) or would it be $50,000?

Zee: It would be far, far less than $50,000 and it can start anywhere from R1,000 to R10,000.

Dr. Gayle: And is it also based on the young man’s background and his family or it doesn’t matter?

Zee: No, it’s more based on the woman’s background.

Dr. Gayle: Okay.

Zee: If you, for instance, as a doctor, your parents probably would expect more money from your spouse or your boyfriend, because of your background. You know what I’m saying? But as I was saying, it’s just like lobola. It’s not really intended to be mean or to be anything. It’s just a custom *(inaudible) 10:52. That, “This situation has transpired before our expectation, therefore you’ve really damaged this woman, because your parents see you *(inaudible) 11:03. They see you as an angel. So, if you come to them and say, “Look, this is the situation. I’m pregnant,” the first thing they would ask you is you need to give them the name of this gentleman, where he comes from and all that. Then the uncles and aunts will then get involved. Your immediate parents, they don’t necessarily get involved in the process. Neither do they get involved in that process also lobola.

Frank: And what if–

Zee: They wouldn’t be part the negotiation. They wouldn’t be part of their conversation but the final decisions rest with them. In that process, time and again, your uncles and your aunts will consult with your parents, your father or your mother, to say, “These people are saying, ‘A, b, c, d.’ What are you saying? What is your take?”

Frank: And what if the young man does not pay or the family does not pay the damages?

Zee: Well, that’s a huge risk, because then that would mean when it comes to maintenance, the *[man] 12:16 maintenance, that means you have to choose that based on the fact that this young man never even paid damages. And it’s very rare that people don’t do it, but you will find people that will do it. But it’s rare that you find people that really refuse completely to adhere to the custom.

Frank: Uh-huh.

Dr. Gayle: And then once you come to the states does that custom–

Zee: I’m sorry?

Dr. Gayle: Once you come to the states does that custom cancel out or do you continue it?

Frank: If you’re a South African family here in that States.

Zee: You would need to adhere to that. It depends on you as an individual. How you get that money there. It’s a plan that you knew and the man involved, that custom has to be adhered. Your man would need to know that this is how things would work back home.

Frank: Oh, really?

Zee: They would not necessarily come here and arrest you or anything like that, but it’s just out of respect.

Frank: Interesting. And is there no accountability for woman? So, the woman has gotten pregnant. I mean, she had sex, seeming consensual, with the man. Is nothing said to her?

Zee: No, the woman would be not be–well, I don’t know if I should use the word punished, but oh yes, the family would not be happy. But the man–

Dr. Gayle: But what would you expect for her to do, Frank?

Zee: The men who are accountable in this process. I’m sorry?

Dr. Gayle: I’m asking Frank, what would he expect the woman to do? She carried a child. She has to take care of it. He just sounds like he’s going to bounce after it’s born. Right?

Zee: Right. Right. I agree with you.

Frank: I mean, she has to carry the child, but that’s not his fault that she has to carry the child. She has to carry the child, because that’s biologically what women do.

Dr. Gayle: But she also has to take care of it and what Zee is saying, this is when the man chooses not to be involved in the child’s life or–

Frank: That’s not what she said. She said this is damages for impregnating a woman that he’s not married to. And it has nothing to do with the actual child or taking care of the child. It doesn’t go to the child, necessarily. It goes to the family of the mother. So, this doesn’t even have to do with the child, it has to do with in many ways damages or what she just said a minute ago, “Punishment for impregnating the mother.” And I’m saying instead of punishing her, what about the accountability of the woman for getting pregnant. She was there.

Zee: Can I say something?

Frank: Sure.

Dr. Gayle: Certainly.

Zee: Frank, *(inaudible) 15:14 the man and the woman were in agreement in that engagement of having sex together, but you have to be careful. So, if you’re not careful, if anything happens, then, as I said, that *(inaudible) 15:37 irrespective of the fact that you agreed, you’ve been together for whatever period. The point is you got pregnant and you were pregnant before you got married to this man or before the man paid the lobola. So, perceived as being disrespectful to the other family, to the paternal family.

Frank: Uh-huh.

Zee: Therefore, you cannot run away from it and you cannot blame the woman. It’s not about blaming each other. It’s about the custom.

Frank: Okay. Now, there are different tribal organizations in South Africa, before we get into the customs as it pertains to how they interact with one another, would you mind naming some of them?

Zee: You’re talking about the ethnic groups, the different ethnic groups?

Frank: Yes, Zulu.

Zee: There’s so many, because we have about 11 different languages in South Africa. I may not necessarily be able to name all of them, but you have Zulus, you have Xhosa, you have Swazis, northern Sotho, you have sothern Sotho, you have the Venda people, you have the *(inaudible) 16:58 people and you have the *(inaudible) 17:03. It’s a long list.

Dr. Gayle: Now are those cultures extremely different there?

Zee: They’re not extremely different, but they are different. And the ways things are done by the Zulus is different from how things are done by the Swazis or the northern Sotho or the southern Sotho.

Frank: And you are a Zulu?

Zee: I’m Zulu but I originate from the Swazi tribe. But I’m Zulu.

Frank: Explain the origination and what you are.

Zee: The origination was from my sisters who were based in *(inaudible) 17:47 The Zulus and the Swazi, we are the group that went away from *(inaudible) 17:58 in KwaZulu-Natal, which is where the Zulus are based.

Frank: Got you. Now, tell me some of the differences. If you can think of one major difference as it pertains to a relationship between, maybe the Zulus or any of the tribal organizations. And what do you call it? Is it tribes?

Zee: Some people say tribes and some people say it’s different ethnic groups.

Frank: Ethnic groups. Okay. Which do you say?

Zee: I’m sorry. What was the question, again?

Frank: Which do you say? Do you say tribe or ethnic groups?

Zee: I use them interchangeably

Dr. Gayle: Okay.

Frank: Okay. So, tell me the differences in the dealings as it pertains to relationships.

Zee: For instance, I would not specifically talk to our relations just because their cultures are somehow intertwined.

Frank: Uh-huh.

Zee: You know, there may be a different here and there. You may find that maybe the Sotho people don’t ask for these damages.

Frank: Okay.

Zee: Because, as I said, it varies. It really varies. It really varies.

Dr. Gayle: How long have you been here, Zee?

Zee: I studied here. I was *(inaudible) 19:57 Yeah.

Dr. Gayle: And so, what are some of the major differences that you notice from our culture here in the states verses your culture home in South Africa, with regards to relationships?

Zee: Let me just give you an example.

Dr. Gayle: Okay.

Zee: Coming back and seeing a lot of my friends, some who have got married years back or not necessarily years back and coming here and then finding them getting divorced or divorced, that is another difference. The main difference is that, for me, people stay in their relationships and try and work things out and seemingly here, the concept is if you’re not happy in this marriage you can easily get out of it and move on to the next relationship and into the next relationship and to the next relationship. Wherein we tend to try to stay in a relationship and work things out, but with the modern times, we do find a lot of break-ups. You find a lot of divorces. But here the concept seems to be like you can get married today, get out of it, move onto next relationship, get married, get out of it, move into the next relationship and *(inaudible) 21:38.

Dr. Gayle: Are people looked down upon if they do get divorced?

Zee: It’s *(inaudible) 21:46, but it’s not a situation whereby people feel, “You know, you shouldn’t. You know, you can’t.” You try and work things out and assuming do you get involved before you finally decide to get out a relationship, they’ll try to–both families from the paternal side and the maternal side–they’ll try and talk to both of you and before you take process further. If then, things fail then, it’s between you and your spouse to make that call at the end of the day.

Frank: Now, some of the often heard issues in relationships are, men having more than one woman or so, the woman might complain about something like that. The man might complain about the woman having too big a mouth or talking too much. If, let’s say a family were counseling their children. So, meaning the husband and the wife are children of the respected families, what might they tell them about those two issues? What would be a common resolution or common advice that they would give to addressing those two things?

Zee: You mean, the families? The two families?

Frank: Yeah, so if your husband–and you’re not married, but if your husband were to say that, “She talks too much. She has too much to say,” and that’s been said in many relationships. If your husband were to say something like that to your parents, what might your parents say to you? What would their advice possibly be?

Dr. Gayle: Is that even common, Zee, in your culture? Or is that an American thing?

Zee: No, it’s common. It’s common everywhere. The men will bring the issues on the table and the woman will bring her issues on the table. And so, both families will look at both issues that are being raised and if they feel that there are certain things that you as a husband that you need to adjust or to change they will tell you. And if there are certain things that you as a woman, they would want you to change or calm down, they will also tell you that you need to go back and work on this on this on this on this. And if a man feels like it’s not working, he will go back. If the woman feels it’s not working, she will go back to her spouse’s parents to say, “Dr. Frank is not, since the last session we had, there hasn’t been any changes, I’m still not happy with a, b, c, d, e, f.

Frank: Uh-huh.

Zee: And then it’s just a custom that’s there as well to say, “We get out parents involved and we see if they cannot help us. And if they cannot help or if we feel that we really have grown apart, then we take the next step.”

Frank: Okay.

Zee: Some people will not even follow that process, would not even go to parents. People will just make decisions on their own. It’s not compulsory, but it’s always advisable to look at it from that angle if you still want to work things out in your relationship.

Dr. Gayle: Now Zee, can you tell us what are the main differences and similarities between African men and African American men in romantic relationships and in terms of how they treat their loved ones and how they treat their women in romantic relationships?

Zee: Look, men are all the same. Men are same. That’s the bottom line. Men are the same. Men behave, in most cases, alike and they were born from the same mother and from the same father. That’s the bottom of it.

Frank: / What can you say? What can you say to that?

Dr. Gayle: / Take you all off the conveyor belt, huh?

Frank: And how about the ladies? What do you have to say about women? Are women the same?

Dr. Gayle: You going to let that pass, Frank? You don’t have anything?

Frank: We got to see if she’s the same on both sides. If she’s the same on both sides, I’ll let it slide.

Zee: Okay, women, more brave, we more calm, we kind of know where our position is in the relationship.
Dr. Gayle: You mean African women verses African American women?

Frank: Yeah, because you’re not talking about–

Zee: I will say it varies from background to background.

Dr. Gayle: Now Zee, so I work with a few at my other job. I work with a few people of African descent. So, one of the males were saying, he wanted to get married and an African American guy was like, “Oh, you need to get you an American woman.” And so he said–the African guy was like “I know, because the African women, they come here to the states and they think that they can tell us what to do and acti dependant.” And he said, wherein at home, it’s, “Do this, go sit there,” and they go sit down. But here, they come here and they try to become more independent and try to adhere to our culture. Do you find that to be true?

Zee: Look, things have changed. I’m only speaking for where I’ve come from. I’m only speaking for myself. Things have changed. You do find women that are becoming more independent even in my continent. And as they become independent, I think it tends to be misconstrued, because they independence does not necessarily mean that I don’t need a man, that I can do better by myself. I think everybody like to be in a steady relationship and having stability. It’s not necessarily that it’s because you’re educated, and therefore you can do this and do that for yourself. You just happen to be in the right place at the right time. You have your educations and therefore you’re not necessarily going to wait for a man to come into your life for you to create that independence for yourself. It just comes natural but–

Frank: Does that mean–

Zee: But a lot of men are intimidated by dependant women back at home. And I think anywhere else. I could be wrong. And that independence is *[ever said as being] 29:43 construed. It’s misunderstood.

Frank: Does that mean you stopped being, as a woman, you stopped “independent,” once you create a relationship with a man?

Zee: No, it doesn’t mean that independence is going to fade away.

Frank: But you just said that it has to do with not needing a man. So, well, once you get a man–

Zee: No, no, no. I’m not saying that.

Dr. Gayle: Stop trying to twist her words, Frank.

Zee: I’m saying it’s misconstrued. It’s misconstrued. It’s misconstrued.

Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with South African native Zee, about her native customs around relationships.

In our culture, romantic relationships begin with conversations and courting, generally. Explain how relationships tend to start in South Africa? Do the families introduce each other? That sort of thing.

Zee: No, no, no. It begins with conversation. It begins with courting just like anywhere else. It’s not that matchmaking.

Frank: Okay. Generally speaking, is it okay for people of different ethnic groups to date one another?

Zee: Yes, it is. It is. It is common.

Frank: Okay.

Zee: It is common.

Dr. Gayle: Do you have a preference?

Frank: She doesn’t.

Zee: I don’t have a preference.

Frank: Now, when you’re in the states, you went to college here–

Zee: Yes.

Frank: Did you date while you were in college?

Zee: Yes, I did.

Frank: Tell me about some of the funny or the awkward situations that you found yourself in or at least one of them. That you found yourself in as a result of being from a different culture as you dated.

Zee: You would meet guys or young men who would say that, “I’m not going to be seeing you. I want to see other people.” It’s more like they want an open relationship and I did not give myself involved in those relationships, because I did not believe in an open relationship like that for obvious reason. I don’t think any woman wants to share a man with any other woman. So–

Dr. Gayle: Zee, you have no idea. You have no idea the people we’ve had on this show that are willing to share their relationships.

Zee: Look, if traditionally, I look back in the days, the way those situations but even now, you still find a man that marries more than one woman in our culture.

Frank: Okay, speaking of–

Zee: So, it’s still there. It’s still practiced.

Frank: Uh-huh.

Dr. Gayle: And how does that work, Zee, when men do have more than one wife? How does that work in your culture?

Zee: How do you mean how does it work?

Dr. Gayle: How does it work? So, here we have this TV show–what is it called?

Frank: “Big Love?”

Dr. Gayle: No. “Big Love.” “Sister Wives.” it’s called “Sister Wives” on TLC.

Frank: Sorry. Shoot. There’s more than one.

Dr. Gayle: Maybe, it’s the same premise. However, they document–

Zee: Well, if the man says, “I want to take a second woman,” the man will speak to his first wife and say, “Sweetheart, this is what I’m thinking of doing. What’s your take?” And if the woman says, “No,” at the end of the day, the man will make that call. And so take a second wife or a third wife if they want to.

Dr. Gayle: So, do you go into the relationship with an understanding that at some point and time my husband may come to me and say that he wants another wife?

Zee: No, that’s not the mentality that you go with, but there’s a likelihood depending on where the men come from what is he all about.

Frank: There was a South Af–

Zee: If you want to stay in it, you will stay in it. If you don’t want to stay in it, you won’t stay in it. But it depends on you and that relationship with that man.

Frank: How are interracial relationships perceived in South Africa?

Zee: They’re not as frowned as much as before, but with the changes and transformation *(inaudible) 34:44 uplifted. People are mixing, people are interacting, especially the generation after my generation. There are relationships where you’ll find people are dating white and marrying white and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a South African. It can be anywhere from around the globe but it’s becoming more and more common. But for most people, it’s still a very, very difficult move to make

Frank: Okay.

Dr. Gayle: Now, I don’t know if we touched on this earlier when we spoke about the differences, but how do you personally view the black women or African American women in the States?

Zee: They’re quite aggressive and too aggressive to a certain extent. Sometimes they lose the sense of taking that role of woman.

Frank: Preach.

Dr. Gayle: Stop.

Zee: I’m sorry?
Dr. Gayle: Frank is, loving what you’re saying right now.

Zee: Oh, okay. You know the fact that a woman–understanding your role as a woman in a relationship or in a marriage.

Dr. Gayle: So what does that mean, Zee? Can you ex–

Zee: It means you still go to work and come back home and you still need to prepare that meal. You still need to iron those clothes for the next day.

Dr. Gayle: Wait a minute.

Frank: That’s right.

Zee: You still need to clean the house. You have to cook.

Frank: Cook.

Zee: And I see that a lot of times that African American women can do not like to cook. As a result, there’s a lot of eating out.

Frank: Don’t you just hate that?

Zee: We believe that a home cooked meal brings the family together and it builds the relationship between the man and the woman. It’s important to have that meal in the house, no eating out every day or all the time. This may not sit well on an African American woman, the things that I’m mentioning but that’s how we were raised, that you need to take care of your own, of your man.

Dr. Gayle: So what is the man’s role in taking care of you?

Zee: The man is supposed to take care of you. The man has to provide financially for you and otherwise.

Dr. Gayle: So, do we sit home all day and wash, cook, clean and iron?

Zee: Remember, I told you about the independent woman. That independent woman still goes and work and still comes home and takes on her role in that household. Yeah.

Frank: I love it.

Dr. Gayle: I bet.

Frank: Okay Zee, tell me–

Zee: And this is based on my experience. Somebody else may have a different view, but this is based on–

Dr. Gayle: And Zee, that’s interesting, because in actuality I could ask my aunt, my great aunt or my grandmother or even my mom and say something similar to you to what you just stated. Do you think that first generation women that are assimilated to our culture, do you think they view things differently than you do? So women that are ethnically from your culture, but are similar to the American culture, do you think that they view things similar to you with regard to relationships and what the gender roles are?

Zee: You’re talking about women in my generation, African American?

Frank: Women that came from South Africa, but are now well immersed in American culture.

Dr. Gayle: They’re Americanized. They’ve been here for awhile or may be even they’re first generation here, like they were born here, but their parents were born in South Africa, but they were born here. Do you think that or have you found that they take on American culture and American views?

Frank: Not necessarily. It depends on how you’re raised. That’s the bottom line. That’s the bottom line. It depends on how you’re raised. If you’re raised well, you get your mind right.

Zee: It depends on how you’re raised. And yeah, it depends on how you’re raised. If your parents are still holding on strongly to the culture, you will probably get the influence from them.

Dr. Gayle: Are those things, you would want–

Zee: But it’s basicall your decision at the end of the day, whether you want to assimilate or not.

Dr. Gayle: Right, exactly. Now, are those things that are instilling or would want to instill in your own child, if you have or had a daughter?

Zee: Well, I aim to fulfill those cultural beliefs in my child. Our kids are mixing with the other races. As you know in South Africa, we’ve got coloureds, we’ve got Indians, we have blacks and we have whites. So, the schools are integrated. So, we try to ensure that the culture in which we were raised in, we still want to make sure that at home we instill those cultural beliefs so that they don’t lose them.

Frank: You have a son. Correct?

Zee: Yes.

Frank: Tell me about your relationship with your son’s father.

Zee: The relationship with my son’s father?

Frank: Yes. I assume you’re not together anymore. is that correct?

Zee: No, we’re not.

Frank: Tell me how your dating process, how it stopped. Tell a story.

Zee: The story is basically we’re not together. That means then–

Dr. Gayle: So, he had to pay a damage to your family?

Zee: Yes. Those damages were paid.

Dr. Gayle: Oh, wow. Okay.

Zee: Yes, yes.

Frank: And so what happened? Did you all date with the expectation that you were going to marry or did you just date?

Zee: No, that was not the expectation. When we were dating, that was not the expectation but with time when you are in a relationship, you build the relationship with the notion that someday that you will settle down. But that was not written at the beginning of the relationship.

Frank: And is he is the same or a different ethnic group?

Zee: A different ethnic group. Yes, a different ethnic group.

Frank: How does that work with your son?

Zee: He has a relationship with his son.

Frank: He does have a relationship with him?

Zee: Yes, he does have a relationship with his son but it’s not going to be the same as–

Dr. Gayle: It’s not going to be the same as what? You were breaking up a little bit.

Zee: I’m sorry. The mother is the one that’s raising the child. So for obvious reasons, you spend more time with your child and you spend time with your child, you develop a better relationship with your child. But if you don’t see your child on a regular basis, you have to do a double job to build that relationship with your child.

Dr. Gayle: And is that a little bit where the damages come into play? The fee of the damages, because obviously, like you stated, one parent is going to care for the child more than the other, which typically is the mother, so is that where the damages come into play? The fee?

Zee: No, damages don’t necessarily mean money towards maintenance. It varies from family to family. It’s paid to the maternal family and if you decide to break-up that maintenance will still have to be adhered to. It’s got nothing to do with maintenance per se. You cannot say, because he paid damages then you cannot maintain your child. You cannot maintain a child.

Dr. Gayle: Was there a difficulty with your family when you had to explain to them that you were pregnant and you weren’t planning on getting married?

Zee: The idea was not necessarily not planning on getting married, but I’m pregnant. And it was not well receive that you’re pregnant. You’re not even married to this man.

Frank: What did they–

Zee: I’m sorry?

Frank: Well, what did they say?

Zee: They were disappointed.

Frank: Okay.

Zee: Yeah but things happen.

Frank: things happen, the

Zee: Yes.

Frank: Your son, is his last name yours or his dad’s?

Zee: Well, he’s using my last name.

Frank: Okay

Zee: He’s using my last name.

Frank: And what does it say on paper?

Zee: On paper it’s my last name. It’s my last name on paper.

Frank: Okay, alright.

Zee: Yes. It’s my last name on paper.

Dr. Gayle: What made you ask that, Frank?

Frank: Just curious as to how the last name lineage goes.

Dr. Gayle: No, but I meant, would you–

Zee: He’s using my last name, because I’m not married to his father. Again, it varies from culture to culture from group to group, from ethnic group to ethnic group.

Frank: Okay, have relationships–

Zee: And if I may add, in most cases or maybe I should say in most cases, that variant to say okay and the next person cans fight for his surname. In other words can make sure his child is registered under his surname.

Frank: How would a father go about fighting that issue? Does it have to happen in court? Does it have to have happen–

Zee: It’s a conversation between the two parties and can be extended to the paternal family or the maternal family together to decide on how these issues are resolved. Yeah.

Dr. Gayle: Well Zee, it really only sounds like the difference between your culture and American culture, is just the damages paid for when a child is born out of wedlock or when they aren’t planning to get married and–

Zee: Uh-huh. But traditionally–

Dr. Gayle: And the independence of American women?

Zee: But traditionally the expectation is that the child will need to take the father’s surname.

Frank: How does it work with relationships now that apartheid has ended? Is there any change that you see? Were interracial relationships less common then and now they’re more common? What–

Zee: Interracial relationships are more common. I think I mentioned earlier that you find people dating outside of their ethnic groups, outside of their race. So, it’s common, but I wouldn’t say it’s 50 percent. The number is still down but with kids coming from a different generation, it’s different. It’s different.

Dr. Gayle: And you live here now or are you back in South–

Zee: No, I was in between.

Dr. Gayle: Okay, and so your son is being raised there in South Africa?

Zee: Yes, yes.

Dr. Gayle: Okay, and was he ever raised here?

Zee: No, he was never raised here.

Dr. Gayle: Okay, and is that something that you planned on purpose? Is that how you wanted to raise your child?

Zee: I’m based there, so he has to be raised there.

Dr. Gayle: Okay, but if you had the choice, would you rather for him to be raised in that culture or here in America?

Zee: In that culture.

Dr. Gayle: Okay, and what’s the reason for that?

Zee: It’s different.

Dr. Gayle: Different how? And maybe that’s my American ignorance that oftentimes I hear people from different cultures state that they want to come here and–like I stated I worked with a lot of people of African descent and they state that they want to stay here for their children. They always hear that there’s more opportunities, so forth and so on, so I’m curious as, why you would say you want him to be raised there and not here.

Zee: I want to make sure that, with the support of my family I install the *(inaudible) 49:43 in him. I need him to make *[that type of stand] 49:49 and to have an identity and speak for his identity. So, whenever he decides at some point in his life that he’s spinning wheels and going in that direction and that direction, he must know how things are done in our culture.

Frank: How would your parents feel or what would your father or mother have to say if you were in an interracial relationship?

Zee: I don’t know how they would react. The probably will have questions. They probably will have lots of questions.

Dr. Gayle: Is it worse to have a child out of wedlock or is it worse to be in an interracial relationship? Which one is worse?

Zee: For me, I think having a child out of wedlock but being in an interracial relationship, I don’t know if I would be comfortable introducing someone of different race to my family.

Frank: What would you say to your son if he were to be in an interracial relationship?

Zee: I would say that I would not feel comfortable and in the first question would be are there no any other black girls or are there no other people of your own race that you could date? That would probably be the first question I’d ask.

Frank: “But mom, this is the woman in front of me right now. This is the woman that I’ve met and I fell in love with. Why do you want me to be with someone else, when this is who God has presented to me?”

Zee: I would probably tell him that the culture’s totally different there; completely, completely different.

Dr. Gayle: You would tell him that’s why I bought you back to South Africa, to raise you here. Right?

Zee: *(inaudible) 52:03 to raise him here, so that you can be with your–

Dr. Gayle: With your people.

Zee: With your people.

Frank: Now–

Zee: I would not be very comfortable. I will have an issue, but then again, it would depend on him. If at the end of the day he says, “Mom, this is it? What do I do?”

Dr. Gayle: How old is your son, Zee?

Zee: My son is 11.

Dr. Gayle: Oh, okay.

Zee: Yeah, he’s 11.

Frank: And what are some of the differences between blacks and whites in terms of culture there in South Africa? We haven’t really touched on that yet.

Zee: Look, as I said we are raised differently. We were told or are told that as a woman, this is what you should be doing in a relationship. You have to respect. You need to know your place. You need to look after a man. You need to clean. You need to cook. You need to make sure there’s food in the house, but remember the man has to provide financially. That’s the expectation that the man has to provide financially. Then again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you are on par when it comes to salary, it doesn’t give you as a woman the upper hand. You still need to respect your man. You still need to know where your place is.

Frank: And what do–

Zee: In the household.

Frank: What do you understand of your white counterparts? What is their culture?

Zee: I didn’t know that counterpart.

Frank: Okay

Zee: I’m not prepared to start knowing the white counterpart now.

Frank: Got you.

Zee: I’m probably one of those women from the old school who basically say, I would not date or marry white, basically.

Frank: You’ve been listening to Frank Relationships. We’ve been talking with South African native, Zee, about her native customs pertaining to relationships.

Along today’s journey, I’ve learned quite a bit. I now what damages are. I know about the interracial landscape in South Africa and I also know about a few of the expectations that South Africans have of one another as it pertains to relationships. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had, talking with Zee about South Africa and it’s relationship customs, laws and norms.

As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that will help you create a relationship that is as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook/relationshipflove, on twitter at @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. Until next time, keep rising, This is Frank Love.

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