10 January 2019

South Africa: Gutted History - Textbook Curriculum Jars With Those Who Lived Through Apartheid


The history textbook struggle of apartheid that is taught in schools is shorn of desire and dreams, of the pain of destruction wrought upon millions.

Some years ago, while on a conference visit to Delhi, I purchased a copy of Letters from a Father to a Daughter for my 14-year-old daughter. I was especially moved by the gesture that prompted Jawarharlal Nehru to pen these lessons on the history of India before and after British colonialism to his daughter, Indira, from the isolation of his prison cell. One evening late in 2018, I wished I had had the same opportunity.

Instead, I ranted and raved, and vented, directing my anger at my daughter as only an unworthy father would. Perhaps I am. I have no excuses. But something that triggered my frustration is the reason for pause. Let me explain. I sat down to assist my now 17-year-old daughter with preparing for her Grade 11 history exam. The subject matter was the demise of apartheid and the resistance to it - in that order. It was a history lesson with which I have been intimately involved since I was about her age, as a student activist in the schools of...

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