Narratives of Resilience among Learners in a Rural Primary School in Swaziland


  • Pholoho Justice Morojele University OF KwaZulu-Natal
  • Ncamsile Daphne Motsa University of KwaZulu-Natal



children, vulnerable, resilience, experiences, school, rural, Swaziland


Drawing from the concepts of social constructionism, the article provides insights on how six purposively sampled Grade 6 vulnerable children, aged between 11‒15, from poverty-stricken families, child-headed households and those allegedly orphaned by AIDS, resiliently navigated their schooling spaces and places in one rural, primary school in Swaziland. The article uses qualitative data from semi-structured individual and focus group interviews and a participatory research method, photovoice, to foreground narrative accounts of the vulnerable children’s creative coping mechanisms aimed at overcoming the unfavourable circumstances of their schooling experiences. Despite facing some home- and school-based challenges, the vulnerable children were found to display deep-rooted resilience, with or without social support and aspiration for educational attainment, seen as a viable alternative for a better future. Creative coping mechanisms that vulnerable children adopted included calculated rebellion against abusive teachers and consignment to solitude or isolation when feeling overwhelmed by unpleasant experiences. It is recommended that support strategies should involve affirming vulnerable children’s voice and resilience, drawing on how these children already creatively navigate their challenges. 


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How to Cite

Morojele, Pholoho Justice, and Ncamsile Daphne Motsa. 2017. “Narratives of Resilience Among Learners in a Rural Primary School in Swaziland”. Education As Change 21 (1):155-73.



Received 2016-05-06
Accepted 2017-04-12
Published 2017-07-19