n South African Journal of Education - Experiences of learners from informal settlements

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



The purpose of this article is to describe the experiences of learners from informal settlements at predominantly Indian secondary schools in Lenasia, as well as their experiences at the informal settlements themselves. Grade 8 learners from the Thembelihle and Hospital Hill informal settlements in Lenasia, Gauteng province, were identified as the target population in the study. A qualitative research design that was explorative, descriptive and contextual was used. Data were collected through individual interviews, focus group interviews, life studies/essays and a projective test. Analysis of the data revealed that learners experience a variety of negative feelings, that they were misunderstood by their educators and other learners and that they experienced racial discrimination, bullying and ganging-up. On the positive side, however, they felt privileged to be in schools where there was a good quality of education. At the informal settlement they experience difficulty in studying. Unemployment and poverty further add to their negative experiences, and make the learners feel disempowered. On the basis of the findings, several recommendations are made for an ecosystemic intervention with the learners, with specific roles of families, government, schools, and the community in the empowerment of learners from the informal settlements.

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