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09 April 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Valentino Ndaba
William Kandowe, principal of the Albert Street School in Johannesburg, Dr Faith Mkwananzi, the author, and DR Chris High
From right: William Kandowe, principal of the Albert Street School in Johannesburg, Dr Faith Mkwananzi, the author, and DR Chris High, Senior Lecturer at Linnaeus University in Sweden, at the book launch.

Dr Faith Mkwananzi’s road from secondary school to university has been paved with challenges. After repeating her matric five times in Zimbabwe, she became an international university student in South Africa in 2006. Some years later, on 3 April 2019, the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus witnessed the launch of her excellent book titled: Higher Education, Youth and Migration in Contexts of Disadvantages: Understanding Aspirations and Capabilities, which was informed by these and many circumstances.

Aspirations formation

The book speaks to her own life. “Born and raised in Zimbabwe in KwaBulawayo, I had my own aspirations. I knew I did not want be a nurse   my mother’s earnest interest and desire for me,” said Dr Mkwananzi as she related the fluid dreams her seven-year-old self had that culminated into aspirations to enter academia.

Aspirations enabled Dr Mkwananzi’s capabilities to pursue a PhD in Development Studies at UFS, and then write her book. “Higher education aspirations are worth pursuing,” said the current postdoctoral researcher at the university’s South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) in Higher Education and Human Development Research Programme, as she reflected on her academic journey.

Voices of marginalised migrants

Dr Mkwananzi has focused her book on the lives, experiences and the formation of higher education aspirations among marginalised migrant youth in Johannesburg. She gives these young people a voice to narrate their own story, making this research an essential work for understanding the conditions necessary for youth to live valuable lives in both local and international contexts. 

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