The setting here is anti-pedagogical, and we needn’t even look at this picture twice to see that it is in all angles an abomination that school children should be outside, at the mercy of the elements, while supposedly receiving “education”. The sad part however is that society has normalised that the black child be subjected to such conditions, and then have the nerve to talk about resilience.
I raised the fact that the possibility of creating decolonised universities in a colonised society was very impractical as universities themselves (and education as a whole) are extensions of societal status quo. Colonial education is not problematic in universities only, in fact the problem of colonial education is more hard hitting at developmental education stage, where young black minds get moulded by a system that seeks to break them internally and leave permanently etched scars in their persons.
The education system is designed to integrate the white child who goes to St Stithians preparatory, St Stithians, and ultimately Wits university as a perfect fit into the society – feasting at the centre of the table as the archetype of excellence. In contrast, the same education system is designed to ensure that barely 20% the children in this picture, probably in some rural area in Matatiele somewhere, even make it to matric. And those that make it to matric, if 10% get to university it is considered a blessing. However the system has ensured it under prepares these black children from the rural school, and adds to the hurdles by exploiting the background financial constraints of poverty created by the very system so that majority don’t see graduation. Why? Because the same education system that was designed to prosper the white child is in reverse designed to keep the black child in the economic peripherals of society, surviving on scraps and never amounting to anything more than a tool to advance white monopoly capital’s unabated accumulation of wealth and thus maintenance of the status quo.
Now it is not enough to build classrooms in the rural areas, because you are upgrading these schools to become township schools – as township schools have classrooms but the environment is not much better, the setup is still pretty much anti-pedagogical. Also these schools don’t exist outside the socio-economic dynamics of the concentration camps that are townships; dynamics such as crime, gangsterism, narcotics, relentless poverty, abuse. (The subject of abuse reminds me of a young girl who was in my class in my tenure as a teacher, who was sexually molested by a step father and the mom had done nothing because they were fully dependent on the man; the onus fell on the teachers to escalate the matter and follow it through.) All these things are a result of meticulous social engineering, designed to block at any cost any rise of blacks above their immediate material conditions; so that the very small percentage that happens to make it through the needle’s eye then get to be told by the system how fortunate they are to have a white education, live in white suburbia, drive cars meant for white people and get employment at levels most of their brothers and sisters would never get. It is an achievement to be integrated into and accepted by the white world; because hey, who wants to be black in an anti-black world?
The setup of the world as we know it is fundamentally wrong; once we change that, everything will set itself up to be calibrated with the world that we imagine to be more conducive to black life. You cannot fight the fruits of the tree while not uprooting the tree, you cannot fight crime without addressing what makes crime prevalent to begin with – poverty, and you cannot fight colonial education in a society that is colonial and run on colonial economics… the world as we know it must simply end.
We are saying Rhodes must fall in all tenets of society, from Cape to Cairo.