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In 1937 a group of young Capetonians, socialist intellectuals from the Workers’ Party of South Africa and the Non-European Unity Movement, embarked on a remarkable public education and cultural project they called the New Era Fellowship (NEF). Through public debates, lectures, study circles and cultural events a new cultural and political project was born in Cape Town. Taking a position of non-collaboration and non-racialism, the NEF played a vital role in challenging society’s responses to events ranging from the problem of taking up arms during the Second World War for an empire intent on stripping people of colour of their human rights, to the Hertzog Bills, which foreshadowed apartheid in all its ruthless effectiveness.
The group included some of the city’s most talented scholar-activists, among them Isaac Tabata, Ben Kies, A C Jordan, Phyllis Ntantala, Mda Mda and members of the famed Gool and Abdurahman families. Their aim was to disrupt and challenge not only prevailing political narratives but the very premises – class and race – on which they were based.
By the 1950s their ideas had spread to a second generation of talented individuals who would disseminate them in the high schools of Cape Town. In time, some would exert their influence on national politics beyond the confines of the Cape. Among these were former minister of justice, Dullah Omar, academic Hosea Jaffe, educationist Neville Alexander and author Richard Rive.
This book is a testament to how the NEF was at the forefront of redefining the discourse of racialism and nationalism in South Africa.
While the world has seen a decline in absolute poverty, it has also seen a simultaneous rise in economic inequality. This is the case in all of the major economies as well as in emerging ones, including South Africa. Is there a South African explanation of poverty and inequality that is distinctive and different from an explanation of poverty and inequality that would be used in other contexts and countries? What are the familiar constants that characterise the interdependence of this ubiquitous pairing? How can the discussion on poverty and inequality be taken forward? Is wealth taxation a viable instrument to reduce wealth inequality in South Africa? In Poverty and Inequality: Diagnosis, Prognosis and Responses, the authors explore these and many others gritty questions as they analyse the complexity of poverty and inequality beyond an over-determination of the concepts by the economic or the wealth index in South Africa.
Realising the Dream: Unlearning the Logic of Race in the South African School is an intellectual and practical response to the dangers that come with the ubiquity of race, race-thinking and its attendant propensity to subsume the nuances of all other social complexity. Beginning with a comprehensive scoping of the theoretical literature on race and social difference, the book delivers a meticulous examination of how the 'logic of race' is played out in the lives of post-apartheid South African school students. Based in two decades of empirical research, this compelling and insightful analysis reveals how the ongoing preoccupation with race not only obscures but also prevents the evolution of new ways of understanding privilege and subordination. We dream of a better world. The fundamental promise of education, the author argues, is to develop the capacity to make real, in our will and desire, this possibility. However, the dream can be fully realised only when the learnt prejudices and false certainties of race, gender and indeed all our unproblematised conceits about who and what we are, are unlearnt. Written by one of South Africa's foremost theorists of school education, this book is as brave as it is challenging - an inspiring, essential read for education practitioners and students in particular, and social theorists more broadly.
The papers for this special issue were selected from a pool of nearly 700 presentations which were made at the 10th Congress of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), which was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 12 to 17 July 1998. The congress was hosted by the Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES) and held on the campuses of the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town. The papers were selected by the convenors of the conference's standing commissions, which provided a significant focus for the conference proceedings. These commissions were on the following themes: Teachers and teacher education Curriculum - Higher education - Lifelong learning - Language, literacy and basic education - Gender and education Policy - Theory and theory shifts Basic education in Africa Peace and Justice Dependency European Education Policy Research in Africa Culture, Indigenous Knowledge and Learning The papers presented, as the discussion below makes clear, ranged widely in subject matter and theoretical perspective and addressed issues of concern both to individual countries and to regions of the world. While some of the papers use comparison as an approach, it remains a matter of concern that the comparative perspective is so little in evidence. It is hoped that the com parative research approach will be more in evidence in the future."
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