n South African Journal of Higher Education - The state of Humanities in post-apartheid South Africa - a quantitative story

Volume 24, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article depicts the state of Humanities in post-apartheid South Africa by examining HEMIS enrolment and graduation data from 1999 to 2007. It demonstrates that although the decline in student enrolment and graduation in Humanities has not been severe; read in the context of substantial growth of all other disciplines, Humanities is in a crisis. The crisis is also more notable at undergraduate level. An interdisciplinary analysis of four traditional Humanities disciplines demonstrates that history, languages, linguistics and literature are the hardest hit. On the other hand, there is an evident increase in Arts (visual and performing) a discipline often associated with the potential for fame and wealth. Communication, journalism and related studies, a professional arm of the traditional Humanities discipline of Language, is also thriving. We are of the view that this trend may confirm the perception that the rising tide of consumerism underpins the overall decline in the popularity of the study of Humanities.

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