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We are the result of our experiences, plus 5 highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

27 May 2022 - 06:21
Even students from the model C schools don’t have the reading experience needed for complex thought processes, says the writer. File photo.
Even students from the model C schools don’t have the reading experience needed for complex thought processes, says the writer. File photo.
Image: SAMORN TARAPAN/123rf.com

We are the result of our experiences and the influences thereof on our thought processes, writes political scientist and lecturer Piet Croucamp in this week’s edition of Vrye Weekblad.

A worrying number of South African students, he writes, have minimal reading experience and can’t maintain a truly meaningful academic argument. Instead of evaluating competing points of reference, they conflate opinions and offer these as inevitable conclusions. Even students from model C schools don’t have the reading experience needed for complex thought processes. They memorise effectively and replicate astonishingly well, but think linearly and write badly.

If you want to feel sorry for someone, encourage your students to discuss a contemporary political issue. White Afrikaans students from model C schools often flounder when black students confront them with arguments on “black lives matter”, the “lived experience”, “white privilege” and systemic privilege.

Their sense of history is seldom more than two generations deep. Almost instinctively they become defensive rather than seeing the conversation as an intellectual challenge. 

We need to tell them: Don’t deny your discussion partner’s lived experience. Be careful of justifications and opinions as counterarguments. Apartheid and racism are not justifiable. 

Liberation theory contains more holes than cheese, but you will identify the weaknesses in the argument by asking good questions.


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Black South African students cut their political teeth in the nomenclature of liberation politics. Their narrative is the product of a lived experience and their sense of history serves as a frame of reference for the present and the future. Their loyalty to liberation philosophy shouldn’t be confused with loyalty towards the ANC.

Scholastic inclination within the family context has an enormous impact on academic performance. The tragedy is that 63% of SA’s children grow up in households where the father plays no role in their survival. In many cases, the household is managed by an older sibling or family member.

The behavioural genetics of a generation who cut their teeth on the mothers milk of racial prejudice and political spite still plague SA. The Bible refers to generations of hatred. But the problem is more recent. It starts with our way of thinking and that schools don’t spark our children’s curiosity to read.

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

>> Browse the full May 27 edition

IN CASE YOU DON’T WIN THE LOTTERY | One of the golden rules of personal finance is to never ask a journalist for advice. Therefore, take Willem Kempen’s money tips with a pinch of salt — or even better, half a pinch. It’s cheaper.

ASK THE EXPERTS | President Cyril Ramaphosa should learn from popular leaders such as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and former US president Barack Obama if he wants to strengthen his position in the ANC. His “long game” is so 2018.

THE WEEK IN POLITICS | There are three dunderheads in parliament, but you could agree with at least one of them that the Afrikaanse Taalmonument could possibly change its name, writes Max du Preez

JONI IS THE BADDEST | With the brilliant bassist Jaco Pastorius by her side, Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell became a jazz goddess. Pastorius was her next level lover before he ended up on the streets. 

A KORMA AGAINST THE COLD | Winter is curry time, and korma is king.


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