On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.49 n.4 Pretoria 2009
Future expectations amongst the youth of the brown population group in South Africa
M G SteynI; G D KamperII
Normaalweg visualiseer die jeug 'n toekoms waarin hulle as volwaardige burgers kan woon, werk en bydra tot die ontwikkeling van hul vaderland. Hierdie toekomsperspektief is opvoedkundig van groot belang, omdat dit 'n wesenlike faktor in leermotivering is. Die bruin bevolkingsgroep in Suid-Afrika het te kampe met talle maatskaplike, ekonomiese en politieke uitdagings as gevolg van volgehoue marginalisering, ook in die nuwe politieke bedeling in Suid-Afrika. Teen hierdie agtergrond is die volgende navorsingsvraag geformuleer: In watter mate is die bruin jeug skepties oor hul toekoms in Suid-Afrika? 'n Vraelysondersoek is onder Graadll leerders gedoen. Teen die verwagting in het dit geblyk dat respondente oorwegend positief was oor die verwesenliking van hul toekomsideale in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie bevinding hou veel goeds in vir die maatskaplike opheffing en positiewe selfbeeld van Suid-Afrika se bruin gemeenskap.
Trefwoorde: Jeug, adolessente, toekomsverwagtinge, bruin bevolkingsgroep, maatskap-like probleem, misdaad, Suid-Afrika
The brown population in South Africa is not only faced with numerous social, economic and political challenges but also experiences a lack of collective identity. Hendricks (2005:118) points out that the origin of the brown population group can be traced back to historical social atrocities like slavery, murder and rape. The collective identity of the brown population is often shrouded in a lack of self-confidence and psychological empowerment, which left them over the years without any significant economic or political power (Adhikari 2002:123).
During the Apartheid dispensation, two measures in particular had a devastating effect on the brown population group, namely the Group Areas Act (South Africa 1950) and the Act on the Separate Representation of Voters (South Africa 1951). By means of the former, many people of colour were forced to move to other, separate and often second rate residential areas, whilst the latter resulted in far reaching political marginalisation. High expectations that this situation would change after 1994 were gradually but surely disappointed. The coloured population group's feelings of marginality - and of betrayal amongst some disillusioned former supporters of the anti-apartheid movement - have since been exacerbated by a perceived loss of status in the new South Africa. Over the years, sociologists have busied themselves with the question about the extent to which an uncertain sense of identity contributes to social problems which manifest in violence and crime. Concerning the brown population group, such a link seems to have been established with considerable certainty (Williams 2002; Laubscher 2003). Compared to other population groups, the incidence of social problems is actually the highest amongst brown people (Laubscher 2003). Ideally, the youth strives for a future in which they can live, work and contribute as full-fledged citizens towards the development of their country. Such a future perspective is educationally of high relevance, because it is a significant factor in the motivation to learn. In view of the brown population group's continued precarious position, the following research question was formulated: To what extent are brown adolescents sceptical about their future in South Africa?
Grade 12 learners would have been the ideal target group for this research since they are on the brink of stepping into the future. However, since principals generally do not wish the academic programme of Grade 12 learners to be disturbed, the study focused on Grade 11 learners in the assumption that the data gained from this group would not be significantly different. After an initial focus group interview with a Grade 11 group to identify main themes and categories, these were used to develop a questionnaire for wider use in a questionnaire survey. The schools involved were purposively selected in order to acquire data from semi-urban and urban settings in which the brown population group is strongly represented, or the majority. The questionnaires were personally delivered and collected, and a response rate of nearly 100% could thus be achieved.
In view of the already mentioned identity search and related problems, it was assumed that this would be reflected in a rather negative outlook on the future amongst the youth of the brown population group. Contrary to this expectation the foremost research conclusion was that the respondents held a predominantly positive view on their future in South Africa. This finding bodes well for the learning motivation of brown adolescents, and for the social upliftment and positive self-concept of South Africa's brown population group.
Key concepts: Youth, adolescents, future expectations, brown population group, social problems; crime; South Africa
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M G (Miemsie) Steyn is 'n dosent van die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde, Departement Vroeë Kinderontwikkeling aan die Universiteit van Pretoria. Sy het BA(HOD) aan die Universiteit van Pretoria, BEd (cum laude) aan UNISA, MEd in Tersiêre Onderrig (cum laude) aan RAU en DEd in Opvoedkundige Sielkunde aan UNISA behaal. Sy is tans programkoördineerder van die BEd Honneurs in Leerondersteuning. Dr Steyn is ook verantwoordelik vir die modules Lewensoriëntering en Professionele Etiek, wat daarop gemik is om aspirantonderwysers voor te berei en toe te rus vir die onderwyspraktyk.
M G (Miemsie) Steyn is a lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Department of Early Childhood Education at the University of Pretoria. She obtained BA (HED) at the University of Pretoria, BEd (cum laude) at UNISA, MEd in Tertiary Education (cum laude) at RAU and DEd in Educational Psychology at UNISA. She is currently programme coordinator for the BEd Honours in Learning Support. Dr Steyn is also responsible for the modules on Life Orientation and Professional Ethics which aim at preparing and equipping student teachers for the teaching practice.
Gerrit Kamper is professor in Onderwysbestuur in die Departement Opvoedkundige Studies aan die Universiteit van Suid-Afrika. Sy professionele loopbaan val in drie tydvakke uiteen, naamlik Duitsonderwyser, navorser aan die Raad vir Geesteswetenskaplike Navorsing (RGN), en universiteitsdosent. Hy fokus tans in sy navorsing enersyds op suksesvolle skole in arm gemeenskappe, en andersyds op toekomsverwagtinge onder die jeug van Suid-Afrika. Sy ander spesialisvelde is navorsingmetodologie, taalonderwys en basiese volwassene-onderwys.
Gerrit Kamper is professor in Education Management in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of South Africa. His professional career consists of three stages, namely teacher of German, researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council, and university lecturer. Presently his research is focused on successful high poverty schools, as well as the future expectations of the South African youth. His other fields of expertise are research methodology, language teaching and basic adult education and training (ABET).