Original Research

Forgotten women in education: A narrative inquiry into the marginalisation of ECD practitioners

Kaylianne Aploon-Zokufa
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1492 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1492 | © 2024 Kaylianne Aploon-Zokufa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 December 2023 | Published: 29 May 2024

About the author(s)

Kaylianne Aploon-Zokufa, Institute for Post School Studies, Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: South African narratives of and by early childhood development (ECD) practitioners often focus on policies, practices and perspectives in research. While these are important for the development of the field, the voices of ECD practitioners, in this marginalised space, are silent.

Aim: This article aims to understand: Who are the ECD practitioners? What are the conditions of their lives and livelihoods? How do they negotiate opportunities for employment, socio-economic growth and further education and training?

Setting: The study describes the marginality of ECD practitioners by narrating the lived experience of work and post-school education and training of one mature woman in the Western Cape. By narrating a single story, the stories of others unfold; working in similar circumstances and negotiating the same opportunities in the harsh reality of poverty and oppression. Employing a narrative methodology is a commitment to decolonising the practice of research, where voices of the ‘Other’ are centralised and amplified.

Methods: An intersectional lens forms the theoretical grounding for this article with life history interviews as its primary form of data collection.

Results: Adult women ECD practitioners are mainly poor, black and female. They pursue access into higher education to improve their lives and livelihoods.

Conclusion: The intersections that shape their lives limit their opportunities for access and success.

Contribution: The power of narrative research, displayed in this article, ensures that voice is used to move the lived experiences of black women ECD practitioners from the margins to the centre.


ECD practitioners; voice; marginalisation; narrative inquiry; lived experience; intersectionality

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality


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