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Whiteness Is the New South Africa

Qualitative Research on Post-Apartheid Racism


Christopher B. Knaus and M. Christopher Brown II

In 1994, the world joined South Africa in celebration of the results of its first democratic election. The results, emblazoned on the world’s memory with President Nelson Mandela waving to a multiracial crowd, signified the end of apartheid and an emerging new era of hope. However, Mandela’s recent death has given birth to a more critical view of his «Rainbow Nation.» No matter how examined, education in South Africa remains steadfastly unequal, with many White children retaining the educational privileges inherent to apartheid. White children in South Africa overwhelmingly attend wealthy, fully resourced schools, while the vast majority of Black and Coloured children attend woefully underresourced schools.
Based upon three sets of studies in schools in and around Cape Town, Whiteness Is the New South Africa highlights drastic racial disparities, suggesting that educational apartheid continues unabated, potentially fostering future generations of impoverished Black and Coloured communities. This book suggests that South Africa remains committed to stifling the intellectual, emotional, and economic development of Black and Coloured youth, while simultaneously investing in White children.


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Chapter 2: Making the Invisible Visible: Post-Apartheid Schools in South Africa


· 2 · making the invisible visible Post-Apartheid Schools in South Africa Introduction The children’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” is an excellent allegory for the primary way in which organization scholars have chosen to address race in organizations. For the most part, research has tended to study organization popula- tions as homogeneous entities in which race and ethnicity are either “unstated” or considered irrelevant. A perusal of much of our research would lead one to believe that organizations are race neutral. —Nkomo (1992, p. 488) The above excerpt from Stella Nkomo’s “The Emperor Has No Clothes: Rewriting ‘Race in Organizations’” provides a useful lens to view the per- sistence of race and racism in post-apartheid schools in South Africa, which are regularly described as nonracial. Data abounds on the continuing educa- tional inequities in post-apartheid education. In schools populated by Black and Coloured learners, the level of funding has remained approximately one-tenth the appropriation and budgets of their White counterparts (Fiske & Ladd, 2004; Mncwabe, 1993); in the coming chapters, we revisit these funding levels. Multiple initiatives are focused on the enrollment and matriculation of Black learners (Abdi, 2001; African National Congress, 1994; Carim, 1999; 28 whiteness is the new south africa Suransky-Dekker, 1998). However, there is by happenstance or design a per- vasive pattern of unequal, segregated, and differentially staffed schools for the Black, Coloured, and White learners of South Africa (Ball, 2006). The dynamics of all schools are not identical by racial population. However, the majority of schools that...

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