"A license to leave South Africa” : a qualitative study of South African parents’ narratives of their children’s reasons for emigration

09 Sep 2020

The number of South Africans citizens emigrating abroad has increased dramatically, resulting in a multitude of parents remaining behind. This qualitative phenomenological study explored and described the reasons for the emigration of adult children of predominantly white South African parents. Multiple motivating factors validated the emigration, namely the South African political climate, violent crime, lack of employment opportunities and high skill mobility. In an attempt to justify the emigration, parents subsequently provided their children with a “license to leave”. Each parent was affected uniquely in this complex psychosocial journey. Social workers can assist in the reconstruction of meaning by guiding the parent through this life-altering decision.