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Additional info for Curriculum Studies in South Africa: Intellectual Histories & Present Circumstances
The message of equality in the education they receive is clear. Their treatment, however, locates them, they find, as lesser human beings. Why, they ask, are they denied this fulfilment that European civilization promises? Critically, as a consequence, by the time modernity has seized hold of the social landscape, it is no longer the contradiction between tradition and modernity that defines struggle. Essentially, the struggle becomes largely that of high-status knowledge—the canon—versus working-class knowledge or everyday knowledge.
What this narrative trajectory underplays are the ways in which the distinct conditions of colonialism facilitate the emergence of a complex agency, 28 CRAIN SOUDIEN that is, in the cracks of the totalizing project of the Dutch. A crack opens up, for example, in the events surrounding the establishment of a Khoikhoi mission station at Baviaan’s Kloof, approximately a 100 kilometres from Cape Town. Under the guidance of George Schmidt, a German missionary, the Khoikhoi gathered and established a settlement, which exists to this day and has recently celebrated its 270th anniversary.
But as modernity deepens, it reconstitutes colonial society by giving it more class-like features. At the same time, illustrating conundrum (2) above, Enlightenment promises of human equality, always subvert the colonial project of the subordination of the local people. I elaborate on this below. Education, as an ontological and epistemological question, was and still is, in the context of the evolving colonial landscape, a violent process involving the fundamental displacement of local knowledges and local identities.