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Durham University

Department of History


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Publication details

2019 Heffernan, Anne 'Student/teachers from Turfloop: the propagation of Black Consciousness in South African schools, 1972–76', Africa 89, pp. S189-S209

Author(s) from Durham


The movement of school teachers to primary and secondary schools around South Africa and its Bantustans in the early and mid-1970s was an intentional part of the project of propagating Black Consciousness to school learners during this period. The movement of these educators played a key role in their ability to spread Black Consciousness philosophy, and in the political forms and methods they chose in teaching it. These were shaped by their own political conscientization and training in ethnically segregated colleges, but also in large part by the social realities of the areas to which they moved. Their efforts not only laid the foundation for Black Consciousness organization in communities across South Africa, they also influenced student and youth mechanisms for political action beyond the scope of Black Consciousness politics. This article explores three case studies of teachers who studied at the University of the North (Turfloop) and their trajectories after leaving university. All of these teachers moved to Turfloop as students, and then away from it thereafter. The article argues that this pattern of movement, which was a direct result of apartheid restrictions on where black South Africans could live, study and work, shaped the knowledge they transmitted in their classrooms, and thus influenced the political consciousness of a new generation.

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