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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433

Abstract

JOUBERT, Ina. Children as photographers: life experiences and the right to be listened to. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.4, pp. 449-464. ISSN 2076-3433.

This article is about an investigation of eight-year-old children's life experiences as child citizens in democratic South Africa, their right to be listened to and to participate in the democracy. Research indicates that understanding children's life experiences can influence adults' understanding of what needs to be done to support their participation in democratic processes. I employed photovoice methodology as primary mode for data generation. The young children took photos of their home environment and interpreted the content of each photo. Despite the fact that they live in a central city environment known for its crime, the findings revealed surprisingly positive life experiences. However, they did take photos of negative aspects that could harm their experiences of an open society and a free democracy. Through their photos these young participants showed their capability of acting as agents for transforming their home environment, provided that their voices are heard and they are granted the opportunity to participate in these matters.

Keywords : child citizens; children's rights; citizenship practice; democracy; life experiences; photovoice.

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