Transplanting the fairy tale: an Afrocentric perspective

29 Aug 2019

In the light of #FeesMustFall, decolonisation has come to the fore in the South African higher education landscape. Decolonisation proposes the overthrow of entrenched European power relations in higher education and the study of fairy tales within a pre-service teaching degree in a university English curriculum provides an ideal opportunity for lecturers to challenge this dominance. All too often, cultural fairy tales are analysed and studied within the European trajectory of the structuralist/formalist classification tradition, often rendering the tale to an oversimplified outline which has been reduced to archetypes, motifs and memes which are universalised across cultures and texts. Epistemic awareness of Afrikology has been suggested as a way of facilitating the inclusion of Afrocentric thinking in the English curriculum and giving pre-service teachers a voice in their own learning. The purpose of this paper is to track the creation of context-relevant cultural capital in the writing of fairy tales. An analysis of the results shows that deep critical engagement with the cultural metaphors presented in fairy tales leads to the development of Afrocentric cultural capital that is highly contextualised and rooted in the language and customs of the cultural identity of the writers who transcoded the fairy tales.