SA Journal of Education, Volume 38, Supplement 1, October 2018

Adolescent girls’ behavioural characteristics and their vulnerability to bullying in Manzini high schools

S’lungile Kindness Thwala, Chinedu Ifedi Okeke, Nokwanda Tshotsho


Incidences of school bullying appear to be on the rise in most schools across the globe, and schools in Swaziland are no exception. Sadly, adolescent girls appear to be most susceptible to being bullied. This study considers how some of the traits of young girls tend to expose them to incidences of bullying. The approach was qualitative and employed the multiple case study research design in which data was obtained through focus group discussions (FGDs) involving 24 girls from three schools, by purposive sampling. Content analysis was employed to analyse data from the FGD. Results show the relevance of Routine Activities Theoretical framework in explaining the incidences of bullying among adolescent girls. Low self-esteem and the feeling of loneliness appeared as two major characteristics making girls more susceptible to incidences of bullying. Data interpretation suggests that loneliness tends to expose the girls as suitable targets. Schooling presents a lonely and unprotected experience for girls, where likely offenders take advantage of their isolation. The authors argue that the schooling experiences of adolescent girls require urgent intervention, in which curriculum experts ought to consider bullying lessons for both girls and boys.

Full Text: PDF