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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751


VERHOEF, Grietjie. "There can be no freedom without education". Vernacular instruction and community in the foundation of black education in South Africa, 1952-1990. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2016, vol.56, n.3, pp.746-762. ISSN 2224-7912.

In the context of deficiencies in education in South Africa since 1994, voices have become louder in questioning the current education policy and delivery. This is an opportunity to reassess aspects of Bantu Education since 1952, especially the role of two key elements of Bantu education, namely community and parent involvement in the management of schools and vernacular as a medium of instruction. Current critics of education often refer to the dedication of teachers, parent involvement, the accountability of school management and performance of learners. These issues remind one of similar issues prevalent under Bantu education since 1952. This second part of the investigation into key elements of Bantu Education seeks to consider the role and contribution made under Bantu education to the foundations of community and parent involvement and mother-tongue instruction since 1952 as a strategy for general education to black children. Verwoerd approached the development of black communities from the perspective of empowerment of ethnic communities as the building blocks of a strategy for peaceful co-existence in southern Africa. Separate development in South Africa sought to promote ethnic and cultural diversity whereby African traditions of different peoples could be cherished and developed by utilising the education of the different communities. This education provided for the use of ethnically differentiated vernacular as a strategy for community empowerment. The prerequisite for development was education. The state introduced a system of Bantu education to enhance school attendance and the level of literacy and education of all black children. This paper explains the utilisation of key elements such as community and parent involvement and vernacular tuition to facilitate community buy-in into general education for black children. In this second part the contribution of vernacular as an educational medium in the provision of education to black children is outlined. The paper shows the agency of the Department of Bantu Education in developing the different vernacular systematically in order to enhance the teaching and learning of advanced subject matter in schools and beyond. It also shows the support of communities in sending children to school to acquire formal education. The grand scheme of Bantu education was finally derailed because of the irreconcilability of the model of separate development and black majority rule, which was the slogan of post-independence Africa. Bantu education did in spite of the rejection of the political model of separate development, succeed in enhancing black literacy and education. The paper does not claim to deny shortcomings of the system of Bantu education, nor does it presume to address all the aspirations of the growing black elite, but it emphasises the key functionality of community and parent involvement and vernacular tuition (with systematic linguistic development to support such a policy) developed by Bantu education, which might be assessed anew. These aspects of Bantu education may be revisited as building blocks to address present shortcomings in the current education environment.

Palabras clave : Bantu education; community involvement; vernacular; schools; school attendance; opposition.

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