Street children in Mafikeng, North-West Province: A qualitative study of social experiences
The general perception, on the part of South African society, is that street children are a major social menace. Yet the reality is that, street children are a vulnerable group that suffer both psychological and physical violence including sexual abuse. This qualitative study investigated the social experiences of street children in Mafikeng, North-West Province in South Africa. Data were collected using focus group discussions made up of a total of 20 participants aged 10-19 years, and selected using convenience sampling. Three themes were extracted using the consensual qualitative method and constant comparison to establish credibility and trustworthiness. The results of the study revealed three major themes (i.e. reasons for abandoning home; life in the streets, and the desire to go back home), and three sub-themes (risks and challenges encountered, regrets, and the desire for rehabilitation and schooling). Recommendations included the need for psychological interventions among this group, the need further for research, and the need to use probability sampling techniques in future studies, as this might provide a more comprehensive picture of the situation.
Keywords: Street children, social experiences, Mafikeng, Africa, vulnerable, psychological intervention