Class dismissed? Youth resistance and the politics of race and class in South African education

23 Jun 2016

Informed by the writings of the Frankfurt school and critical pedagogy, this article is a reflective piece on the engagement with the race and class debate in South African education. The article opens with the recent stampede to gain access to a university as a backdrop for an interrogation of the notions of race and class in both higher and basic education. Thereafter, the article highlights how universities and schools reproduce social and economic power systems to the detriment of the advancement of poor and working-class youth (the overwhelming majority of whom are black). The objective here is to encourage a deeper engagement with theoretical constructs of marginalisation, and racial and class inequalities. Over the past year there has been student unrest at 11 universities, and when one reflects on the youth resistance of the 1980s, it is evident that an academic engagement with discourses of power beyond polemic is needed to ensure that the youth take on the power brokers on equal terms.