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- Volume 28, Issue 6, 2014
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 28, Issue 6, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 28, Issue 6, 2014
Against all odds : the role of 'community cultural wealth' in overcoming challenges as a black African woman : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academicsAuthor T. NkambuleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1999 –2012 (2014)More Less
Academic challenges for students from 'previously disadvantaged backgrounds' do not necessarily begin at university, but start during their school years, as was the case for the author. This article is in three parts. Firstly, the author presents a brief narration of the challenges faced before she went to university, which influenced her undergraduate progress. Secondly, the author describes the key challenges she experienced as an undergraduate in particular courses and in a postgraduate education course. Thirdly, she focuses on the challenges she encountered during her first work experience as a black African PhD student and tutor on an education campus. In particular, the author focuses on key challenging incidents and how she approached and engaged with them to enable a successful journey through university as a student and young academic staff member. In the form of a first-person narration, the qualitative research method of 'testimony' is used to reflect critically on her academic and professional journeys as a black African woman in the post-apartheid era. Testimony was chosen because it provides an epistemic lens to support an analytical inquiry into experiences and intellectual understanding of self and community.
Too late to come back? The paradox of being a 50-year-old 'early career' black female academic : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academicsAuthor A. MsimangaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 2013 –2026 (2014)More Less
Much of what is known about the experiences of black women in academia is from research in the developed world. Little is known about the experiences of black women at African higher education institutions (HEIs) and even less about the experiences of black women who experience career breaks. Using an auto-ethnographic approach I reflects on her attempts to balance the demands of her different roles as a black woman and an academic. In a narrative that explores the complex relationship of time, career and context, the author argues that the time of womanhood, blackness and motherhood in academia is out of joint. Finally, she considers some of the strategies and resources that enabled her entry, re-entry, survival and growth during the course of her stop-and-start academic career. The author hopes that her story may contribute to the ongoing debates about the challenges of and possibilities for late-entry female academics at HEIs.
Critical reflections : experiencing discrimination, disrespect and disregard; forming a professional identity : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academicsAuthor M.M. MadilengSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 2027 –2040 (2014)More Less
This article offers a brief account of some critical incidents in the author's educational journey as a learner and teacher in South African schools and universities, and an analysis of the influence of these incidents on the formation of her professional identity. It examines how social interactions and engagement with peers and students have helped to construct and reconstruct her professional identity, allowing her to better recognise herself as an educator shaped by experiences of various forms of discrimination, disrespect and disregard. These experiences and her critical reflection on them have proved valuable for the development of her personal 'voice' as a reflective professional. The author argues that the process of critical reflection has led to a deeper understanding of how negative (and some positive) experiences in her journey from rural primary school learner to university lecturer have been positive for strengthening her determination to succeed academically and to be the kind of teacher in academia who aims to be respectful and supportive of all students.
Turning adversity into opportunity : a black woman's journey into academia : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academicsAuthor N.S. NdlovuSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 2041 –2051 (2014)More Less
This article is a contribution to the stories of black women educators working at schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa as they have responded to a variety of challenges in their journeys into academia. It is an auto-ethnographic account in which the author has borrowed concepts from sociology to help her analyse her experiences in two educational fields or contexts (ie, a high school and a university) which have contributed to the constitution of a habitus characterised by resilience and assertiveness. In this auto-ethnography the author focuses on the challenges she has faced; how her habitus has informed the choices she has made in response to these challenges; and how, as she has tried to work out what actions to take, she has been able to survive in the sometimes trying circumstances presented by the fields. Her story is in three parts: (i) her experiences as a Zulu First Additional Language (FAL) teacher in a previously white suburban high school at which there were no materials available for teaching Zulu at this level; (ii) her largely positive experiences as a student in the Bachelor of Education (BEd) Honours degree programme which enabled her to respond to some of the challenges of the high school teaching context; and (iii) her experiences as a lecturer at the Wits School of Education (WSoE) with responsibility for teaching (successively) Zulu FAL and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education courses, while also undertaking research in the latter area - experiences in which the support of a mentor played a key role. The author concludes by making explicit the impact of the interactions between her habitus and her experiences in the two fields as she has made choices that have contributed to her on-going development as an academic.
Contradictory location of the black woman passport academic : embrace, alienation and vulnerability : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academicsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 2052 –2064 (2014)More Less
This article is a narration of two black women's experiences and perceptions of inclusion and/or exclusion within the academy arising out of their identity as 'passport academics'. The inter-relation of nationality, ethnicity and race as identity markers creates power dynamics that lead to conflicting and competing expectations depending on whose discourse holds sway. The competing expectations form the nexus of the contradictory location leading to an identity crisis of a particular kind. Using an auto-ethnographic approach, the authors describe critical incidences in the course of social and academic relationships within the university which were interpreted as instances of 'othering'. Alternate perceptions and feelings of embrace, alienation, and vulnerability by both black women 'passport academics' and black women South African academics are described. These reveal complex identity issues in which, sadly, black academics' feelings of affirmation are still seen through the eyes of their white academic colleagues. The irony is that colleagues of different racial categories originating from the same foreign country are often perceived and labelled differently as either 'outsiders' or 'insiders'. It is interesting how the apparent invisibility of one racial category affords people the privilege of global citizenship, while the visibility of blackness opens people to the scrutiny of national origins. What also emerges is that current discourses of transformation and diversity within the university seem to be struggling under the weight of a nationalistic turn. The authors conclude by suggesting that recovering the 'academic' rather than projecting nationality might be more productive and beneficial to all.
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 academicsAuthor E. NyamupangedenguSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 2065 –2078 (2014)More Less
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.
Black women academics in higher education : in search of inclusive equal voice and justice : part 2 : being and belonging in South African higher education : the voices of black women academicsAuthor J.J. DivalaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 2079 –2087 (2014)More Less
This article reflects on the narratives of black women academics in higher education. These narratives range from an interrogation of societal expectations of what it means to be a woman, and more so, a black woman and society's designation of the place of a woman. Some of these experiences include: the struggle to negotiate entry into the higher education space; the challenges that confront women from within and without the higher education system; as well as how otherness is perceived even within a seemingly homogeneous group - black women academics. These narratives and stories, though unique in themselves, are sources for further reflection. The article offers one line of reflection as it proposes questions of inclusion and exclusion, redress and equity, and equalisation of voices as lenses that could be used for analysis.