Original Research

Hidden traumas of coloniality of a South African child who received an academic scholarship

Marcina Singh
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1394 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1394 | © 2024 Marcina Singh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 June 2023 | Published: 08 March 2024

About the author(s)

Marcina Singh, SARCHi Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Cultural dissonance and exclusion in schools persevere because of a lack of response to diversity. In South Africa, coloniality manifests itself in teaching and learning practices through promoting and privileging selective cultural norms in schools, often to the detriment of poor black children.

Aim: Despite the availability of educational scholarships for poor children as a way to promote economic success, these opportunities are often laden with cultural and hegemonic expectations making them challenging to navigate, often rendering the experiences as traumatic rather than developmental.

Setting: The article reflects on children’s schooling experiences in South Africa.

Methods: This qualitative exposition presents insights from a primary school teacher about her own childhood experiences of exclusion, alienation, and cultural dissonance in South African schools.

Results: It reveals the pervasiveness of coloniality and how social justice has still not fully permeated schools. The interplay between race and class remains salient.

Conclusion: Schools should intensify efforts to promote inclusion by recognising diversity and avoiding normalising singular narratives in diverse contexts. Educational opportunities given to children from disadvantaged backgrounds should be accompanied by psycho-social support to ease the culture shock and alienation they feel when learning in new contexts that differ from their norm.

Contribution: The article demonstrates that culture is more powerful than politics because, despite the democratic political context, the ‘cultural bomb’ of decoloniality is all-encompassing.


academic scholarships; cultural dissonance; coloniality; school children; exclusion; social justice; post-colonial; schooling

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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