1887

n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Youth sentiments about 'others', epistemological change, and belonging at a South African university

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Abstract

Young South Africans today face a multitude of critical and demanding challenges - the literature highlights identity conundrums; stresses implicit in academic environments; and numerous and contradictory messages on race, nationality and citizenship in a transforming, post-apartheid context. This article focuses on one key controversy in present-day South Africa - namely, young people's sentiments towards and perceptions of foreign nationals and their place in a democratic South Africa. The attitudes expressed are explained, first, through reference to anomic conditions in South Africa, in which levels of trust have been debilitated and in which negative public discourses of foreigners have been allowed to become hegemonic; and second, through students' suggestions that problematic perceptions of black foreigners stem largely from a lack of substantive knowledge of Africa, its history, and its inhabitants. It is argued that universities need to take seriously the Soudien Report's (2008) position on the necessity for epistemological change in order to better equip students to deal with rapidly diversifying student populations. The article is concluded with two central recommendations for institutional interventions at South African universities.

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/content/cydev/11/2/EJC180468
2013-01-01
2016-12-04
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