Poor South African Migrant Women and their Children’s Education: Is there Hope After All?

Vuyisile Msila


The number of women who settle in urban areas from rural villages is growing in South Africa. The promise of a better life for these women in cities appears real. The government has done much in building low cost houses and bringing services to many poor families. However, as numbers burgeon, so does the demand for better life and essential services. This case study examines the experiences of eight women in educating their children in the city. They are all residents of Nene Informal Settlement where life has become hard. These participants were observed, shadowed and interviewed. Trying to feed their children, their stories reflect life of poverty and ill-health. With no full time jobs, they have no hopes of moving out of the squalor. However, the schooling of their children does not appear to be the ultimate solution to poverty. These poor women’s homes lack social and cultural capital necessary to support the children. Yet, with no motivation and necessary resources, it appears as if the children will live the life of their mothers. The paper concludes by showing that unless these women change own their lives, they can never change the dire course of their children’s journeys.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n14p546

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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