Gender and Behaviour

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‘My journey to school’: photovoice accounts of rural children’s everyday experiences in Lesotho

Pholoho Morojele, Nithi Muthukrishna


The study presented in this article used photovoice as a research tool to explore the journey to school undertaken by children in a rural context. Twelve children (male = 6; female = 6) from three different rural villages in Lesotho participated in the study. A photographic technique, where children were entrusted with disposable cameras to act as recorders of salient places and spaces of their school journey was employed. Based on children’s photographs, individual and focus group interviews were conducted to engage children in dialogue and discussion about the challenges, risks and pleasurable aspects of their school journey. The findings indicate that children travelled long distances, crossing flooded rivers and dense forests in pursuit of access to education. They also denote how children attached complex emotions (of fear and admiration) to school journey spaces in ways that indicate both the negative psychological trauma that the harsh school journey terrain had on children, and the pleasures that children experienced as they creatively traverse their school journey. Drawing on their social identities (as girls and boys) and the dominant discourses of sexuality in their local contexts, the children tactfully used agency to navigate the obstacles of their school journey. The immediacy of visual image helps in highlighting how actively involving children in choosing what aspects of their lives they wish to share in a research project, could become a potential catalyst for policy and social action aimed at improving the schooling experiences of rural children.

Keywords: Photovoice, agency, emotional geographies, children’s geographies, school journey, Lesotho

AJOL African Journals Online