Inadequate achievement in mathematics frequently occurs especially amongst black learners, and the
problem is assuming critical proportions. Tswana learners in the Mafikeng area find themselves in an
educational situation that does not always promote optimal actualisation of their personal potential. One
possible outcome of this situation is inadequate achievement in mathematics. The aim of this study is,
inter alia, the exploration of the Tswana learner’s inadequate achievement in mathematics in the Mafikeng
area. This was done by administering a Diagnostic Test and a Learner’s Questionnaire. The cognitive and
affective facets of the Tswana learner’s achievement in mathematics were measured. Our findings suggest
that mathematics teaching can never be divorced from the socio-economic context in which it is taught.