n South African Journal of Education - Career identities of first-year female coloured students

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



It is a well-acknowledged fact that the role of women in society has been changing worldwide over recent decades and South Africa has not been exempt from this trend. Dramatic changes - politically, socially, economically and educationally - have occurred in South Africa since its first democratic, non-racial elections in 1994, which have affected the lives of all citizens. These changes have had major implications for South African women, also regarding their identities. This necessitates a re-evaluation o f the prior conceptualisation of identity among women, an issue which has moved from the periphery of academic discourse to the centre. The objective in this research was to explore and describe the career identities of a group of first-year female coloured students in post-apartheid South Africa. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design was implemented. Using purposive sampling, data were collected during six focus group interviews with the students. The findings of the study are presented under four central themes which emerged, namely, the participants' perspectives on career issues; self-knowledge; factors influencing career identities and career choices; and concerns regarding career development. Finally, recommendations are presented in this regard.

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