Transitions from rural contexts to and through Higher Education in South Africa: negotiating misrecognition

Emmanuel, M. Mgqwashu*, Sue Timmis, Thea De Wet, Nkosinathi Emmanuel Madondo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This paper reports on an international collaborative study that investigated how students from rural contexts negotiate the transition to university, and how prior cultural and educational experiences influence their higher education trajectories. A qualitative, participatory methodology was adopted, centred on co-researcher narratives, digital artefacts and discussions. Findings demonstrate how family and community, including religious, study, and self-help groups, influenced their transitions into higher education and journey through university and to their identities, agency and sense of belonging. The paper argues that university practices, values and norms need to acknowledge and incorporate all students’ prior experiences and histories and recognise their powerful contribution in working towards a decolonial higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-960
Number of pages18
JournalCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Issue number7
Early online date18 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2020

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Knowledge, Culture, and Society
  • SoE Centre for Higher Education Transformations


  • transitions
  • rurality
  • higher education
  • figured worlds
  • misrecognition

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Transitions from rural contexts to and through Higher Education in South Africa: negotiating misrecognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this