Pregnancy among teenagers and unmarried young adults is common in South
Africa. This presents challenges and concerns due to the association with lower
socio-economic status, lack of paternal support and commitment among male
partners, disruption of schooling that potentially accompanies pregnancy, and
many others. It also raises critical sociological and communication questions:
Do parents talk to their children about sex-related issues? What are the young
adults’ idea of love, sex and relationships? What are the patterns of motherhood
and pregnancy among university students? Many studies have explored teenage
pregnancy in South Africa, but there is limited focus on young adult students
at universities, especially rural universities. Through a survey of 150 students
at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, this study shows that parental
communication about sex is not a popular communicative practice among many
students, and for those whose parents have talked to them about sex, the parental
communication tends to have limited influence on the students’ attitude to safe sex.
In this study, for a third of the students who are mothers the concerns about young
motherhood continue to shape their economic and socio-cultural experiences.