Using community based and women-centred perspectives, this study explored experiences of
unplanned motherhood during adolescence. Ten African teenage mothers from a semi-rural area
in KwaZulu-Natal volunteered to meet once a week for eight weeks to discuss their experiences of
pregnancy and motherhood. The findings are discussed in the context of the effect of teenage
motherhood on self, on family and peer relationships, traditional Zulu customs, and community
support. Current relationships with partners and concerns about the future are also reported. The
results indicate the need for school-based programmes and parent groups for adolescent mothers
that will enhance their ability to examine options with a view to establishing a trajectory towards
better life outcomes. Community health workers were also identified as resource personnel for
enabling teenage mothers in rural and semi-rural areas to cope with their concerns and develop a
way of understanding them.
Published when Prof de la Rey was a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Cape Town.