18 January 2019

South Africa: The Death of Hope Is Rife in the Education of Our Young

analysis

Since the start of the year, with the release of the 2018 matric results through to the opening of private schools on Wednesday, there have been several stories about schools and education. This is an annual occurrence but the developments seen this year are a powerful reflection of certain dynamics and trends within our society. Sometimes, events in one particular sector demonstrate how a whole society operates, what the levers of power are, and who controls them. The start of the 2019 school year is a reflection of the dynamics driving political behaviour in South Africa.

Schools mirror society in many interesting, joyful, and often quite disturbing ways. Everyone who is able will have a photograph of their child on their first day; it does not matter which race or class you come from, this is an important moment. Education is crucial to all societies as it is the one place that has the potential to bring children from families of different classes and beliefs into one classroom. Huge divisions in our society, huge distances of our physical geography, and our racialised inequality mean it is vital that we create some kind of unified nation.

While it is easy to...

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