Original Research

Grandparents raising their grandchildren: Implications for the vulnerable children of Eswatini

Ncamsile D. Motsa, Pholoho J. Morojele
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 12, No 1 | a1024 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v12i1.1024 | © 2022 Ncamsile D. Motsa, Pholoho J. Morojele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2021 | Published: 19 September 2022

About the author(s)

Ncamsile D. Motsa, Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Pholoho J. Morojele, Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban


Background: Studies have shown that caregivers’ economic constraints and emotional burdens have a negative implication both on their well-being and that of their children. For children raised by grandparents, age is also an additional dynamic that not only affects the grandparents but also affects the children they raise and other family members. However, poverty, HIV infection and AIDS have forced many children in Eswatini (formerly, Swaziland) to be in the care of their grandparents, hence raising concerns about their educational focus and achievement.

Aims and objectives: The study aims to comprehend the ways in which being raised by grandparents, influence the vulnerable children’s schooling. The aim is to contribute insights to our understanding on how these children’s education towards academic success could be enhanced.

Setting: Three rural primary schools in Eswatini were involved in the study.

Method: The article draws on social constructionism and the multiple worlds’ theory. A qualitative narrative approach was adopted using semi-structured individual and focus-group interviews for data generation. The participants included nine purposively selected vulnerable boys and girls, raised by their grandparents, within the age range of 11–13 years.

Results: The findings indicate that most of these grandparents were far from the reality and were unaware of the importance of education, thus they did not give any motivation or support towards their grandchildren’s education. When they became very old, sick and bedridden, they also became an extra burden in ways that ended up affecting the children’s schooling.

Conclusion: The study recommends the inception and embracing of social justice and inclusive education in the schools as one-way teachers could tailor their pedagogical practices to meet individual learners’ educational needs.


education; grandparents; schooling; vulnerable children; Eswatini.


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