Responses to Western education among the conservative people of Transkei

Deliwe, Dumisani (1993) Responses to Western education among the conservative people of Transkei. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the impact of Western education on the social life of the members of a Transkeian village. Various authors in the locally relevant literature, have for a long time commented that, due to Western education and Christianity, African societies became divided into 'school'people, who readily accepted Western education and culture, and 'red' people, who initially resisted these. Whilst the terms 'red' and 'school' became used as analytical constructs for the differing responses to Western culture, they were also used by African people. My findings at Qhude, Transkei, confirmed such a social division. I argue that this social division does not present an absolute distinction, but may best be conceived in terms of a continuum. Whilst the thesis considers interaction between the 'school' and the 'red' people of Qhude in various fields of life such as politics, law, religion (see Chapter Two) and education (see Chapter Six), the main emphasis is on the 'red' people. Thus, the thesis concerns itself, to a large degree, with an analysis of the 'red' people's experience and interpretation of Western education and Western educated people. The main argument is that the 'red' people's perception of Western education and Western educated people is ambiguous. That is, they see them in both positive and negative terms (see Chapter Five). This ambiguity is looked at here as a manifestation of the difficulties encountered by the 'red' people in adjusting to an institution (i.e Western education)that was initially foreign, and to which they were initially opposed. The perception of Western education as positive follows from the fact that it is seen as leading to economic empowerement by the 'red' people of Qhude, who are facing poverty, due to an economic decline (see Chapter Three). However, the economic contribution of the young (who are the ones receiving western education) and the knowledge they gather from school, threaten the authority of elders, as the young become increasingly independent from the elders. As a result of such independence, and other factors, Western education is seen in negative terms by the 'red' people. Such potential dangers of Western education are well recognised by the 'reds' of Qhude, and are dealt with culturally. That is, it is made clear to the young, in particular during occasions such as circumcision rituals, that education has to be made relevant to the building of the homestead, which is under the overlordship of parents whom the young are called upon to respect (see Chapter Six). In conclusion, it is argued that the use of culture in this way, shows how 'tradition' is employed to deal with crisis. Such use of culture necessitates a clarification of the opinion that uneducated Africans rejected Western education (see Chapter Seven).

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:African people, AmaXhosa, Western education, Impact, Social life, Culture, Village, Qhude, Transkei, Christianity, School people, Red people, Economic empowerment, Poverty, Elders, Authority
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Anthropology
Supervisors:De Wet, Chris and McAllister, Patrick
ID Code:3865
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:29 Oct 2012 13:22
Last Modified:29 Oct 2012 13:22
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