n South African Journal of Higher Education - Finding a voice : reflections on a long journey from silent student to confident teacher educator : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academics

Volume 28, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In this article, the author narrates and reflects on challenges that she has faced throughout her academic journey from being a school learner and a university student to a teacher and a teacher educator - challenges that she attributes mainly to her limited communicative competence in English. This reflective examination of her experiences is informed by Bourdieu's (1991) cultural capital theory (CCT), specifically the concepts of habitus, field and linguistic capital. The author argues that the ability to speak, read and write English in Zimbabwe, her own country, and in South Africa constitutes linguistic capital and that those who do not possess such capital may have limited access to a country's desirable goods and positions. Based on what she has experienced, she makes some recommendations for recognising and nurturing students' home language, while at the same time, because English has become such a powerful language locally and globally, creating chances for students to become proficient in this language in order to maximise their opportunities in life.

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