‘De­colonis­ers’ have no clear plan

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE - John Whit­lock

Hi Tom! I have, for quite some time now, been strug­gling with the very same prob­lem you have (let­ter pub­lished De­cem­ber 28) and that is, what univer­sity stu­dents mean by de­colonis­ing uni­ver­si­ties.

So far the de­fac­ing and re­moval of stat­ues, name chang­ing, the burn­ing down of lec­ture halls, li­braries, lab­o­ra­to­ries, ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ings, over­turn­ing and set­ting cars alight, loot­ing, road­blocks, hurl­ing rocks and in­sults at the po­lice and ver­bally in­sult­ing vice-chan­cel­lors etcetera, have had no ef­fect in en­hanc­ing the sta­tus of our fail­ing uni­ver­si­ties, nor have they in­creased the pass rate of our stu­dents. In fact, just the op­po­site.

Bil­lions of rand have been wasted in the process. So much for lead­er­ship and in­tel­li­gence.

How does one de­colonise maths, his­tory, ge­og­ra­phy, phi­los­o­phy, art etcetera? How must the cur­ricu­lum be changed?

By re­ceiv­ing tu­ition in one’s home lan­guage, or hav­ing only black lec­tur­ers and no whites, per­haps? How does a stu­dent who ob­tained his de­gree in Zulu cope in post­grad­u­ate work at, say, Ox­ford, where it is all in English?

Our ed­u­ca­tion, both ba­sic and ter­tiary, is just about the worst in the world, and there is no light at the end of the tun­nel, just more vi­o­lent protests to come.

A sad state of af­fairs in­deed. Ger­mis­ton

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