The literacies of Congolese adult asylum seekers and refugees in Johannesburg : a case study.

Shabanza, Kabinga Jack
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This research primarily looks at the literacies needs of Congolese Asylum Seekers and Refugees (ASRs) in Johannesburg. By means of surveys, interviews and participant observations, it interrogates the literacies that are perceived by ASRs as most important for their integration in their Johannesburg communities and whether literacy needs change over time. It begins with a sample of thirty subjects and ends with two participant observation participants, narrowing the sample size to ten, then five and finally two, based on the importance of information on literacies susceptible of being retrieved from the subject‟s data. The data was analysed within the framework of theories on social literacies and Berry‟s integration theory. Key findings are that in the ASRs‟ opinion, firstly, being able to communicate in English increases one‟s chances of finding employment, engaging in trading activities and operating efficiently in Johannesburg. Secondly, being able to communicate in a local language made it easier for ASRs to build successful social relationships with locals. Thirdly, computer literacies and Internet literacies may mostly be beneficial if the ASRs already have a profession, trade, skill or occupation. Findings from this research provide a foundation for more investigation into the literacies needs of ASRs, the factors that facilitate the acquisition of these literacies and their impact on the ASRs‟ lives in the context of their Johannesburg communities.