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n Journal of Literary Studies - "College girls don't faint" : the legacy of elsewhere

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Abstract

This article is an attempt to pursue a localised cultural history of private girls' schooling in Natal during the apartheid era. Using an autobiographical lens, it looks at the traces of Victorian rhetoric and its codification within a feminine/feminist militarism evident in the speeches and songs as well as social and cultural practices of Durban Girls' College, a Presbyterian school in Durban. Using archival material and memory, my own and others', to trace the signs of "Englishness" in the formation of identity in white girls coming from mainly privileged backgrounds, I direct a self-reflexive gaze at the effects of such schooling on attitudes to race and culture prevalent at the time. In parallel, however, I also examine some archival material from Inanda Seminary, College's "sister" school, which has a different provenance, but which also catered for the privileged members of Zulu society. While I do not pretend to engage in a fully developed comparison of these schools, I hope to show that similar expectations about conduct and class were brought to bear on white and black girls in Natal during a specific historical period.

In hierdie artikel wend ek 'n poging aan om 'n gelokaliseerde kulturele geskiedenis van meisies se opvoeding in privaatskole in Natal gedurende die apartheidsera na te gaan. Die artikel kyk deur 'n outobiografiese lens na die tekens van Victoriaanse retoriek en die kodifisering daarvan binne 'n vroulike/feministiese militarisme wat duidelik blyk in die toesprake en liedere, sowel as in die sosiale en kulturele gebruike van die Durban Girls' College, 'n Presbiteriaanse skool in Durban. Deur gebruik te maak van afgiefmateriaal en my eie herinneringe sowel as ander s'n om die tekens van "Englishness" in die identiteitsvorming van blanke meisies uit hoofsaaklik bevoorregte agtergronde na te spoor, rig ek self 'n refleksiewe blik op die uitwerking van sodanige opvoeding op die houdings teenoor ras en kultuur wat destyds geheers het. Ter vergelyking, egter, ondersoek ek ook sekere argiefmateriaal van Inanda Seminary, College se susterskool wat 'n verskillende herkoms het, maar wat ook vir bevoorregte meisies van die Zulugemeenskap voorsien het. Alhoewel ek nie wil voorgee dat ek my gaan inlaat in 'n ten volle ontwikkelde vergelyking tussen hierdie twee skole nie, hoop ek tog om aan te toon dat dieselfde verwagtings aangaande gedrag en klas vir swart en wit meisies gegeld het in Natal gedurende 'n spesifieke historiese periode.

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/content/litstud/20/1_2/EJC62371
2004-06-01
2016-12-05
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