Repository logo

The transition of sport scholarship boys and their experiences in a privileged high school in post-apartheid South Africa.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study is about the transition of black boys from disadvantaged rural areas with rugby scholarship to a privileged high school in an urban environment. While there is much debate in the area of sport scholarships, not much has been written on how scholarship learners manage to cope and adapt with their situation in privileged ex Model C high schools in South Africa. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of scholarship learners within the school environment and to consider their opportunities and challenges. Each journey is unique but similarities did emerge. This study’s research methodology involved a life history approach using a narrative method to analyse the different stories. Purposeful sampling was used to select five learners. Semi-structured interviews and unstructured interviews were conducted within two months of each other, with each of the participants. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, analysed, and coded (Creswell, 2009). Emergent themes were then researched for further theoretical and empirical insights before being presented here. The research findings indicated that previously disadvantaged scholarship learners initially struggled with the transition but learnt to adapt and cope admirably in their new school, partly due to the role that rugby played in their lives and in the school. Respect and hierarchy emerged as key drivers in how the boys learnt to thrive in the school. These codes of conduct had strong resonances with their own family and community backgrounds, allowing the boys to intuitively find common ground and adapt to their new environment.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.