A child inmate’s stories of schooling and the possibilities for self-change and self-care

  • Daisy Pillay University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Sithembiso Ngubane University of Zululand, South Africa
Keywords: Crime, Vignettes, Self-care, Stories, Juvenile inmate


Going beyond the static, dangerous version of a single story about who an African child inmate is, is an ethical responsibility – especially when we consider the structural and material forces that are tangled in this evil deed. Drawing on a sociological framing of self and Foucault’s theory of ethics, we take a narrative inquiry stance to explore what can be learnt about being an African child from a juvenile ex-inmate, Bakhona who negotiates the complex educational experience as a poor, orphaned and homeless child. The three storied vignettes represent our attention to the multiplicity and fluidity of self – negotiated through the entangled pathways of learning to and from prison. The analysis releases our eyes to a deeper understanding of the young African child who turns to crime driven by a desire to learn, know, and live differently. The choice to learn to care for self differently within dislocating and unproductive material and structural conditions is complex and possible if schooling as a system can become more educationally relevant, socially responsive and inclusive teaching and learning sites.


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How to Cite
Pillay, D., & Ngubane, S. (2019). A child inmate’s stories of schooling and the possibilities for self-change and self-care. Perspectives in Education, 36(2), 75-87. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v36i2.7