Whether in Johannesburg or Capetown or any other urban area, divorce rates have been spiking in South Africa for the past 5 years or so. Indeed, it is said that divorce has become a hot trend in the country. Different reasons are offered for this trend including money woes, infidelity and women’s economic power. Indeed, at the 28th International Population Conference to be held in Capetown this October, this issue of divorce and family life and their interaction to the population explosion on the continent will be front and center.
The two seem inversely related. As the population on the continent explodes, fewer people are getting married and more people are getting divorced. Just a decade ago, the majority of South Africans who frequented the divorce courts were of British descent. But now the majority are African descent. There has been a nearly 30 percent increase in divorces in this population in recent years and an even greater drop in the rate of marriages.
South African women have become more prone to seeking a divorce when their marriages fail to meet their expectations. They are less inclined than generations of women before them to put up with unsatisfactory spouses. A big part of the reason is that more South African women than ever before are working outside the home and are less economically dependent on their husbands. They are less inclined to put up with cheating, domestic violence and child abuse.
There is no question that in South Africa, divorce has become quite cool. The question is whether other countries will begin to follow South Africa’s lead.