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A voice-centered relational analysis of the career development narratives of six Black African professionals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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Career Psychology and career education is not a new concept in the South African context, it is evident dating back as far as 1943. Literature shows that career guidance was first introduced in White schools and later into the Black African schools, with various political and legislative constraints which resulted from the apartheid governance. Centuries later, the country is still faced with the challenge of addressing the inequalities which resulted from the apartheid governance and the education structures of the time, one of the main inequalities which are relevant for this study is access to career education and career guidance that informs career decisions. Career psychology is traditionally informed by western career theories, these career theories do not adequately account for contextual factors which influence one’s career development. As a result of this critique, there rose the call for indigenous career theories relevant to a multicultural context. This study was undertaken as an attempt to explore the contextual factors which influenced the career development of six Black Africans in KwaZulu-Natal. It further aimed to explore whether these contextual factors were enablers or constraints on the career development of the six South African Black professionals. This qualitative study was informed by the theories of social constructionism and social constructivism. Career narratives were collected and transcripts were analysed using the voice-centered relational method, which provided a structure of four readings as a guideline for analysis. The findings of this study provided an explorative view of the contextual factors which influenced career development. Through the four readings, two overarching themes emerged mainly a career narrative beyond the self and Complex career narratives . Within these overarching themes lies various contextual factors such as family expectations, cultural dynamics, historical and political structures, lack of career guidance, unplanned happenstance, financial limitations and religion. The study also further supported the call for indigenous career theories that address challenges faced in the South African context. The study concluded by providing recommendations for research, theory and practice. In addition, the study encouraged researchers to further explore the concept of social justice in understanding career development in South Africa.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.