© The Author(s) 2018. The study explored the relationship between black mothers- and daughters-in-law in Pretoria North, South Africa. The theoretical paradigm of the family systems theory provides a perspective on the dynamics of the mother- and daughter-in-law relationship. A qualitative approach allowed the researcher to obtain rich data from in-depth interviews with 20 mothers-in-law and 20 daughters-in-law who had been in a mother-daughter-in-law relationship for at least 6 months. Phenomenology was also used as a design that guided the research process to allow participants to express the meanings that they had attached to their own experiences of the relationship. From the analysis, six major themes emerged regarding the dynamics that influence the mother-daughter-in-law relationship. These themes included the quality of mother-daughter-in-law relationship, first meeting, expectations, importance of having a good relationship, roles of the makoti and mamazala, as well as reflections on the mother-daughter-in-law relationship. The results of the study indicated that both mothers- and daughters-in-law perceive that it is important to have a good relationship with each other for the smooth continuity of the family. Furthermore, the results of this study highlighted the complicated family systems that exist within the in-law relationships among modern black South African families.
- family systems theory
- qualitative research