South African Journal of Education
On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100
The ideal of creating a non-racial and equitable school environment is embedded in the South African Constitution. This ideal is informed by a desire to overcome the divisions of the apartheid past by pursuing policies and strategies that will promote the achievement of social cohesion, without denying space for various identities. Schools are seen as important vehicles for driving social cohesion amongst learners and it is therefore important that all learners, irrespective of their race, experience a sense of belonging in the school. Using a case study and an interactive qualitative analysis research methodology, we explored the experiences of black and Indian learners in a desegregated former House of Delegates school to determine the successes and possible challenges of ensuring racial integration at the school level and therefore its contribution to social cohesion. The study demonstrates the importance of eight concepts (namely, the school as a welcoming space; belonging; respect; security; equality in the way we socialise; tender loving care; motivation; and freedom) to the study of racial integration and social cohesion. This article focuses on the contribution that sense of belonging has on creating a school environment that is enabling, contributing to learner achievement and concludes that sense of belonging, integration, and social cohesion are intertwined and important in creating an environment that is welcoming and a "home" to diverse learners and educators.
Keywords : belonging; desegregation; diversity; integration; Interactive Qualitative Analysis; race; social cohesion.