African Journal of Social Work

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Marginal identities, histories and negotiating spaces: life experiences of street children in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Ian Ndlovu


So much has been said and written about Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems with very little mention of Zimbabwe’s street children who are a common feature of the urban landscape. Street children’s life experiences can be viewed in the context of stigmatised identities and living on the margins of society. The research explored some of the conceptual terrain necessary to a study of the life experiences of street children in Bulawayo in the context of their day to day activities and claims for space and places. The study employed an ethnographic approach based on the understanding of street children as autonomous social actors. Their street image, their journeys and how they project themselves into the future emerge from their dynamic interactions amongst themselves and their immediate environment. Their life experiences define who they are and how they navigate living on the margins of society; crossing physical, social and moral boundaries. Finally, the study explores whether a child-centred model of practice could be used in relation to street children and the implications for policy and practice.

KEY TERMS: Street children, stigmatised identities, space, place

AJOL African Journals Online