Decoloniality and Higher Education Transformation in South Africa
In this chapter, Celiwe Ngwenya argues that decoloniality ought to be a theoretical cannon for conceptualising democratisation and transformation in contemporary South Africa, which still has enduring and active injustices since the public education systems and institutions are covertly characterised by coloniality. Ngwenya concedes that, although public policy in democratic South Africa aspires to reach equality in accessing higher education, which is a tool for social mobility, the majority of South Africans—owing to their poverty status—do not access this cardinal tool for social mobility. Furthermore, the pedagogical encounters of universities favour the prevailing undue privileges that were restricted to and monopolised by the white minority during the apartheid era. Ngwenya further argues that realisation of the promise for equality in accessing higher education, as well as pedagogical encounters that resonate with the situationality of African people, is obliterated by the politics and demands of the new neo-liberal global order that informed the public policy direction of post-apartheid South Africa. The major challenge regarding the neo-liberal order in the context of South Africa, as Ngwenya argues, is that education in the country sustains and perpetuates asymmetrical power relations in institutions of higher learning. Ngwenya further argues that the presupposed ‘fair’ competition among students disaffirms and nullifies as morally inconsequential the enduring inequalities most black students face due to their social and historical situatedness. The neo-liberal demand for global competitiveness results in the marginalisation of African languages, a systematic endeavour of apartheid coloniality, placing such languages at the periphery of the higher education agenda; hence, they remain undeveloped for academic discourse, retaining the goals of apartheid and coloniality. Ngwenya contends that such trends of marginalising African-ness subtly rationalise coloniality as natural and that all African students have to do is to embrace the new global norm that is nevertheless alienating in principle. Ideal education for Ngwenya is one that does not overlook national needs and contextuality that values care for the other and not unmoderated competition. To be consistent with democratic equality, Ngwenya argues that South African education must actively aim to restore the dignity of African people by embracing relevant African values and ideals in higher education. African languages should be centred in the university. The university must not prize free market capitalism and globalism at the expense of achieving democratic equality that is responsive to the historical and socio-cultural situatedness of the people.
- Akoojee, S., & McGrath, S. (2003). Globalisation and education and training in South Africa: On being GEAR(ed)! Prepared for RUIG Research Programme: Le defi social du development/the social challenge of development. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. Retrieved November 23, 2018, from http://www.lmip.org.za/sites/default/files/documentfiles//comeliau-edu_SouthAfrica-Akoojee-McGrath.pdf
- Christensen, C. M., & Eyring, H. J. (2011). The innovative university. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training). (2013). Education White Paper for Post-school Education and Training: Building an expanded effective and integrated post-school system. Pretoria: Government Printer.Google Scholar
- DoE (Department of Education). (1997). Education White Paper 3: Programme for the transformation of higher education. Pretoria: Government Printer.Google Scholar
- Freire, P. (1985). The pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Jansen, J. D. (2002). Political symbolism as policy craft: Explaining non-reform in South African education after apartheid. Journal of Education Policy, 17(2), 199–215. Retrieved September 7, 2018, from https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/130/Jansen%20(2002)b.pdf?sequence=4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kane, N. (2007). Frantz Fanon’s theory of racialization: Implications for globalization. Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, V(Special double issue), 353–362. Retrieved September 8, 2018, from https://www.okcir.com/Articles%20V%20Special/NazneenKane.pdf
- Mouton, N., Louw, P., & Strydom, N. (2013). Present-day dilemmas and challenges of the South African tertiary system. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 12(3), 285–300. Retrieved January 28, 2019, from http://ahero.uwc.ac.za/index.php?
- Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (2013). Why decoloniality in the 21st century. The Thinker: For Thought Leaders, 48, 10–15.Google Scholar
- Noddings, N. (1998). Philosophy of education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- South African Government. (2011). National Development Plan. [Online] Retrieved January 28, 2019, from https://www.gov.za
- UCT. (2018). Application procedure. [Online] Retrieved August 25, 2018, from http://students.uct.ac.za
- Universities South Africa. (2018). NBT. [Online] Retrieved August 23, 2018, from http://usaf.ac.za