oa Journal of Psychology in Africa - Social identities of black South African first-year female students

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1433-0237



Social identity refers to that part of the individual's self-concept which derives from the individual's knowledge that she belongs to certain social groups, together with the emotional and value significance attached to each membership. Changes in post-apartheid South Africa bring to question the influence thereof on the social identities of Black South African first-year female students. The impact of the changing social context on the process of identity construction is therefore considered. The aim of this qualitative research is to explore and descriptionbe the emerging social identities of Black South African first-year female students. Information rich participants were purposively selected. The question, ""How do you see yourself in your social relationships?"" was posed during focus group interviews. The audio-taped interviews were transcribed and analysed using Tesch's descriptionptive analysis technique. Centering on group memberships, which constitute the social identities of these participants, the following themes emerged from the data analysis: membership of a family, membership of a peer group, membership of first year female university students, membership of a particular cultural group and membership of society at large. The recommendations in line with these themes could facilitate identity construction and interaction within a multi-cultural society.

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