n South African Journal of Higher Education - What were they all about? Two questions that provoked different reactions and feelings : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academics

Volume 28, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The poor education and lack of exposure to literature for most blacks in South Africa makes it difficult of English Second Language (ESL) speakers to cope with the demanding expectations for engaging with the level of knowledge and skills required for working in higher education. Being black, being an ESL speaker, and having to work at a higher education institution (HEI), which privileges the use of English, have combined to shape the author's identity in many ways. The author uses the theoretical framework of agency and ownership in this narrative to share episodes of her journey as a student and an academic. Perseverance and persistence enabled her to overcome the challenges she faced during her studies and to navigate the expectations in her academic career. The narrative is based on two questions: the one triggered action of agency, and the other evoked feelings of self-doubt and judgement. As a black woman and an ESL speaker, the article intends to share the author's experiences associated with overcoming those challenges and celebrating her success against all odds.

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