Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language, Education and Innovation 2016

The Literate Lives of Two Cameroonian Families Living in Johannesburg

Kajee, Leila

University of Johannesburg, South Africa


The aim of this research is to examine the literacy practices of two immigrant Cameroonian families residing in Johannesburg South Africa. The study forms part of a larger project on in-and-out of school literacies. In this case study children and parents were interviewed, and also observed in their homes after school. The research findings reveal that little linguistic congruence exists between the home and school, and that parents and children serve as language brokers at different points. The importance of English as a language of economic and social power is highlighted by parents. The study concludes that teachers need to be versed in the multiple literacy practices of immigrant learners and consider initiatives such as family and community literacy programmes. This is vital not just for the immigrant children, but for the South African education system as well.


Immigrant literacies, literacy as social practice; family literacy practices

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