CHAPTER THREE THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BLACK RURAL EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA: AN OVERVIEW (1652 – 1948)
The beginnings of rural education can be traced back three centuries ago in South African history. This period was characterised by government colonial powers who used legislation to separate races into urban and rural communities. However, although not the focus of this study, it is necessary to place this education within a historical context, in order to fully understand this research.
The aim of this chapter will therefore be to present a synoptic historical overview of background information for a more detailed discussion in subsequent chapters, on rural education in South Africa and specifically the impact government legislation had on rural education. The objectives developing from this aim are therefore:
# to give a historical overview of rural education during the colonial period (1652-1910);
# to briefly look at pieces of legislation that influenced territorial segregation and as a result demarcating South Africans into “urban” and “rural” communities during the Union Government (1910-1948); and
# to critically identify and evaluate the South African legislation and the impact it had on the provision of education for Black people in rural areas during the period 1652-1948. To be able to understand Black rural education in South Africa, it is vital to comprehend its development and contextuality – social, cultural, religious and political dimensions that influenced it. In the South African context, rural areas are largely the result of segregatory laws and policies that were introduced for both political and economic reasons by White-dominated governments. Before the provision of education to Black people during the Dutch rule is presented, the following section will briefly outline the pre-colonial period in order to shed light on the origin of the Black people in South Africa.
Many scholars of South Africa’s history tended to use the start of colonial rule as the beginning of South African history. Although colonial rule marked a new phase in history, pre-colonial South Africa was occupied by several Black communities which today form part of groups which make up the country’s population.
Prior to the arrival of European settlers in 1652, there were several indigenous peoples living a nomadic life at the Cape of Good Hope. The hunter-gatherers later known as ‘Bushmen’ or ‘San’ and Khoikhoi (Hottentots) herders lived around the Cape (Cameron 1991:37). The Xhosa-speaking Blacks lived in the present Eastern Cape whereas the Nguni and Sotho lived respectively in Natal and the interior8. These groups of people depended much on cattle and animal rearing. They also grew crops (Christie 1991:30).
Christie (1991:30) points out that even if there was no formal education during this era, that did not mean that there was no education taking place. Vos (1976:23-28) mentions that the type of education that was received during this era was normally referred to as traditional. The education basically consisted of the following stages:
# firstly, the child was formally educated by members of the family at home; and
# secondly, every three, four or five years, boys between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one were gathered into regiments to undergo the rites of circumcision. These boys were isolated for a period of three months under the supervision of older men who lectured them on tribal traditions and customary laws. Girls also, between the ages sixteen and twenty, were isolated for a corresponding term as boys, under the austere matrons, who taught them rudimentary principles of motherhood (Molema 1920:122-123).
The responsibility for the education of youth was not limited to their biological parents, but all adults with whom children came into contact with were also responsible for the provision of informal education to Black children (Luthuli 1981:54-55; Nkuna 1986:93). Later on, the European settlers arrived at the Cape which reflected a turning point in the lives of the Black people since it was from this period that attempts were made to educate Black people formally. There was no rural-urban divide as is known today.
DUTCH RULE (1652-1806)
On 5 April 1652, the Dutch people under Jan Van Riebeeck settled in the Cape Colony. These European settlers were part of a trading company called the Dutch East India Company (DEIC)9. The Cape Colony served as a halfway station for trade for European settlers on their way to the East. One of the major reasons why the Dutch settlers found it necessary to establish a station at the Cape was that it could serve as a refreshment station and to supply passing ships with fresh food (Boucher 1991:61; McKerron 1934:14).
In time, interaction between the colonists and the indigenous people became problematic. The Khoikhoi realised from the building of a stone castle and settlement of farmers on the land that the Dutch instead intended to stay at the Cape. They began to resist bartering with the colonists and started fighting off attempts by the DEIC expeditions to take their livestock by force (Davenport 1977:26-29). The Dutch gradually overwhelmed the Khoikhoi by seizing their streams, land and cattle, and incorporated them as peons onto their land or into their militia. As the White population grew at the Cape, the conflict between the community of Dutch farmers, Khoikhoi groups and the Xhosa tribe continued. Their early skirmishes set the stage for later animosities. Frederikse (1986:7) states that, “South Africa has been a country at war with itself since the seventeenth century, when White settlers landed at the Cape and began robbing the indigenous people of their land”. Molema (1920:238) does point out that even though there was a conflict between the colonists and the Khoi people, the Dutch authorities never seriously thought of passing legislation for this indigenous group any more than evangelising them.
The DEICs needs for labour was so urgent that they also brought in slaves from their eastern empire, and from regions on both sides of Africa, within the first decade of their settlement at the Cape10. Racial discrimination, based on a rigid division of labour, had hardened into a set pattern (cf 188.8.131.52). Townsmen and farmers had much in common when it came to slavery. Both cited scripture to justify slavery and colour-class discrimination (cf 184.108.40.206). They claimed that the White race had an exclusive right to education, positions of public responsibility, ownership of land and wealth based on Enlightened mindsets of racial superiority11. The slaves at the Cape never fused into a single community or acted in concert to liberate themselves while under Dutch rule.
The period under discussion was characterised by the fact that little had been done with regard to education, especially Black education. On 17 April 1658 the first public school for slaves was established, and it focused mainly on the slave’s intellectual, religious and moral welfare (Behr & MacMillan 1971:357; Du Plessis 1965:29-30).
There are different perceptions with regard to the aim of the establishment of this school. According to Le Roux (1998:99), there was a dual purpose for establishing this school – to benefit the DEIC by teaching the slaves to speak Dutch and to facilitate conversion to Christianity. Du Plessis (1965:29-30) saw the reason for its inception as a move by Jan Van Riebeeck in the direction of doing something for the slaves’ academic and moral well-being. According to Molteno (1984:45), the introduction of this school was to be of benefit to the slaves’ masters, and it was therefore driven by capitalist needs – a so-called Marxist interpretation (cf 220.127.116.11). According to Lewis (1999) Molteno’s interpretation is selective because it does not also take cognisance of the fact that the motive by the Dutch colonists to establish a school should be understood in light of its historical context at that particular period (Van der Walt 1992). The early settlers were predominantly Calvinist. In Europe at the time, the Bible and the Christian religion played a major role. Emphasis was placed on how to read and write. The primary aim of learning to read was to be able to read the Bible (Education Bureau 1981:1) and to be able to communicate with White settlers in both the workplace and the church which made communication for purposes of materialism and religion easier. Capital motives were only one possible reason for this phenomenon.
Apart from the slave’s school which was established in 1658, there were other schools established at the Cape. Most schools were established for White learners mainly residing in what was then considered ‘urban’ areas of the Cape situated in established towns. In 1688 a school for French Huguenots was approved by the Council of Policy in Netherlands and later it was to amalgamate with Dutch learners (Theal 1882:292). In 1707 Dominee Engelbertus Le Boucq submitted a request to the Council of Policy to attend to the deplorable state of education at the Cape (Le Roux 1998:109). This concern of Le Boucq focused on White schools already established in ‘urban’ areas and did not concern White learners and Black learners residing in the outlying ‘rural’ areas.
In the early years of White settlement at the Cape, there was no formal segregation on the basis of colour or race in schools (Behr & MacMillan 1971:105). The first attempt at separating non-European and European learners came about with the introduction of a policy of segregation in 1676 by the Dutch Reformed Church Council. The Church had a profound influence on education during this period and so therefore influenced the process of policy making (Malherbe 1925:33-35) as the two went hand-in-hand. The Council requested that a separate school for the slaves be established in the slaves’ quarters mainly located in the ‘rural’ areas outside Cape Town (Behr & MacMillan 1971:105). The plea to establish schools for the slaves in the rural areas of Cape Town was supported by Commissioner Hendrik Andriaan van Rheede in 1685 and no White children were to be permitted to attend the school for the slaves (Le Roux 1998:107). This was clearly indicative of the role those in authority positions would play then and in coming years to support the idea that non-Europeans belonged to the remote areas and that their education should therefore be driven in that direction (cf 18.104.22.168).
Educational work amongst the Black tribes, more notably the Xhosa, was started in 1799 by London Missionary Society missionaries, Dr JT van der Kemp and Read, in what is now King Williams’ Town (Behr & MacMillan 1971:364; Union of South Africa 1936[a]: par 1). It is in these rural areas, of what is now the Eastern Cape, where most Black people were found in those days. There was basically not such a stark contrast between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ settings during this period since agricultural activities were both practised in the town and in the remote areas (cf 2.4.1). What existed was a rural-urban continuum and the line between the two was blurred (cf 2.3.2). Nevertheless these schools, since they were geographically isolated and economically not viable, lacked basic resources (cf 2.4.2) as colonists focused their attention on notions of capitalism, which were to be accomplished through free trade without government interference (cf 22.214.171.124).
Formal schooling during this era was focused largely within the Dutch ‘urban’ environment. The indigenous people, who resided mostly in the ‘rural’ areas outside the Dutch settlement did not generally receive much formal education and generally received an informal type of education largely by means of cultural transmission (Lewis 1999:247). Christie (1991:33) contends that even though there was little going on with regard to Black education during the DEIC period, education that was provided was enough to meet the needs of that specific society.
THE BRITISH RULE (1806-1910)
As South Africa during this period of time, was fragmented, a brief historical background of Black education under British rule, in the former Cape Colony, the Transvaal, Natal and the Orange Free State will be presented in the following section.
The Cape Colony
In 1792 Britain was engaged in a war against France and this led to the British occupation of the Cape in 1795. After the French invasion of the Netherlands in 1795, a British force was dispatched to the Cape and landed at False Bay. The British came to occupy the Cape Colony for strategic purposes because it feared the Cape might fall into the hands of the French enemy (Davenport 1977:36). In 1803, the British handed the Cape back to Holland (Batavian Republic, as the United Netherlands had become known) and the British authorities withdrew. Apart from some useful administrative reforms, the Batavian Republic’s short interregnum of three years produced few notable changes.
With the resumption of hostilities in Europe by Napoleon in 1805, the Cape again lay open to seizure, as a strategic base of value to any power which needed to secure its access to the east. Consequently, in 1806, the British occupied the Cape again (Davenport 1977:37; Republic of South Africa 1986:37). The seizure of the Cape in 1806 led ultimately to the emancipation of slaves, the subjugation of the Black people, and a cultural dualism among the Whites that developed into rival nationalisms.
The first Governor at the Cape, the Earl of Caledon, governed by proclamation, legislated by proclamation even on important matters, and held supreme authority over all branches of government. However, as Davenport (1977:38) correctly puts, he took advice from men with official experience at the Cape. With the establishment of the British rule, several normative changes were experienced – the abolition of slave trade, and the laying down of rules to govern Khoikhoi. Amongst the changes the British brought at the Cape, they introduced a system of public education for White children and paid missionary societies small subsidies for educational work among the Coloureds and Black people (Thompson & Prior 1982:29). The political system at the Cape Colony had always been dominated by the White inhabitants whose political groupings tended to correspond with Afrikaner-British division.
Prior to 1821, the White settlers in general showed little interest in the education of the Black people who resided primarily on the eastern frontier and beyond. As a result, the responsibility of providing education to Black people still fell into the hands of the missionaries who were willing to accept this endeavour for evangelical purposes.
There is a general agreement by historians in South Africa that formal education was introduced into South Africa by missionaries (Haile 1933; Horrel 1963; Horrel 1964; Shepherd 1941;Thompson & Prior 1982). Writers such as Du Plessis (1965) and Behr (1952) do not clearly differentiate in their work between religious instruction and formal education. Pells (1938:12) rightly points out that “until the British permanently occupied the Cape in the 19t h century, formal education was synonymous with the Doctrine of the Dutch Reformed Church, in Bible history, psalm singing and reading and writing were sufficient for qualification for church membership. The only subject was a little simple arithmetic. Statements such as these clearly reflect what transpired in most of the Black schools with regard to curriculum. A conclusion can safely be arrived at that missionary education, which was not formal education per se, did not focus on the needs of the rural Black people as they were largely an agricultural and hunting community.
Mission schools, intended mainly for Black people, were largely located in the ‘rural areas’ with government legislation playing a large role in differentiating between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ schools. In the Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Native Education (1935-1936), it was mentioned that:
…rural Native schools were not regarded as deserving a place within the existing schools system, the fact remains that up to 1855 the official lists of ‘Mission Schools’ aided by the Education Department contain hardly any schools providing education specifically for Natives. The few that did secure aid were the Fingo schools at the urban centres of Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and Uitenhage, and one or two others on or near the Kat River (Fort Beaufort), at which many of the pupils in attendance were probably Coloured rather than Native (Union of South Africa 1936[a]: par 10 – emphasis mine).
The statement above indicates that the rural-urban dichotomy (cf 2.3.2) was promoted by the British government in South African education as early as the eighteenth century. This dichotomy was not only geographical or cultural, but it was also based on racial prejudice (cf 2.5.1; 126.96.36.199).
In 1861 Langham Dale assumed duty as Superintendent-General of Education at the Cape Colony. In 1863 he appointed a commission under the chairmanship of Mr Justice EB Watermeyer. The Commission, among others, was mandated to seek a policy suitable “for all classes of people” (Cape of Good Hope 1863:iii-v). When the Commission reported in 1863, it reported that there were patterns of segregation in government schools where other schools were exclusively for White children (Lewis 1999:184). It was recommended by the Watermeyer Commission that the government should intervene with regard to the provision of education. This resulted in the introduction of series of legislation policies in order to control education provided to Black people. The Education Act No 13 of 1865 (Cape of Good Hope 1865:1015-1017) was one such example. According to this Act, schools were divided into three categories, namely “A” schools (mainly for the White community); “B” schools (mainly for church controlled schools attended by poor Whites and Coloured pupils) and “C” schools attended mainly by Black pupils, ie mission schools (Behr & MacMillan 1971:379; Lewis 1999:185). An objective of this regulation was to deter missions from opening their schools to all, regardless of colour. This statement is supported by the Interdepartmental Commission on Native Education (1935-1936) when it mentions that:
separate and unequal schooling helped to rigidify racist lines of division which up until the development of capitalist industrialisation had still been somewhat loose. Differential schooling for blacks and whites was aimed at moulding the children to their respective dominant and dominated places (Union of South Africa 1936[a]:par 458).
Racial divisions ironically enough also reflected a geographical division (188.8.131.52) with type “C” schools being situated largely in the rural areas of South Africa as these were the areas were the majority of Black people were found (Seroto 1999:22).
Most of the mission schools did not receive any state subsidies from colonial sources prior to 1841 (Cook 1949:350; Scholtz 1975:209). The establishment and erection of buildings, furniture and other periodic expenditure posed a serious financial demand to mission societies (MacKenzie 1993:51). In most cases missionaries depended much on overseas finances and they used converts to labour on the mission stations, the perception that Lewis (1999:259) rightly points out as being perceived by reproduction theorists as contributing to Western capitalism (cf 184.108.40.206). Nevertheless, mission schools ran out of funds and eventually some of them closed.
A turning point came in after 1939 when a Department of Education was established with mission schools coming under its charge. The main motive for such a step by the government was to gain some sort of control of these schools. To Behr and MacMillan (1971:378) “subsidised schools had to be concluded to the satisfaction of the Superintendent-General, who had the right to inspect them and call for returns”. Even though the move by the British government to subsidise Black education was commendable, it was not without hassles. During the period from January, 1855, to December, 1862, a total amount of some £49 000 was expended on Black education by the Department as compared to £80 000 spent on White education (Union of South Africa 1936[a]: par 14). The initial poor financing goes to show the general lack of commitment by the government to do anything to improve the education of Black people. Inadequate funding has been one of the major characteristics of rural schooling (cf 2.8) and, as is shown, already had its roots in the nineteenth century.
The poor payment of Black teachers did not begin during the apartheid era, but it had its roots during the British rule. Langham Dale recommended that the Head Teacher (European male) be paid £100 as compared to a qualified Black teacher who was to be paid £40 (Union of South Africa 1936[a]:par 18). This clearly shows that the status of the Black teacher was lower and unfortunately most Black teachers were predominantly found in mission schools in outlying rural areas.
Table of contents
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL ORIENTATION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.4 MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY
1.5 THE IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY
1.6 DEMARCATION OF THE STUDY
1.8 EXPLANATION OF KEY CONCEPTS
1.9 CHAPTER DEMARCATION
1.10 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER 2: ‘RURAL’ [EDUCATION]: A CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS
2.2 GENERAL DEFINITIONS OF THE TERM ‘RURAL’
2.3 APPROACHES TOWARDS DEFINING THE TERM ‘RURAL’
2.4 THE TERM ‘RURAL’ IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT
2.5 RACISM IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.6 POVERTY IN RURAL SOUTH AFRICA
2.7 THE LINK BETWEEN EDUCATION AND POVERTY IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.8 TYPES OF RURAL SCHOOLS IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.9 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RURAL SCHOOLS
2.10 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER 3: THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF BLACK RURAL EDUCATION IN SOUTH AFRICA: AN OVERVIEW (1652 – 1948)
3.2 PRE-COLONIAL PERIOD
3.3 DUTCH RULE (1652-1806)
3.4 THE BRITISH RULE (1806-1910)
3.5 THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA (1910-1948)
3.6 EDUCATION DURING THE UNION GOVERNMENT PERIOD (1910-1948)
3.7 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER 4: THE APARTHEID GOVERNMENT’S STANCE ON RURAL EDUCATION (1948-1960)
4.1 INTRODUCTION AND AIM OF THE CHAPTER
4.2 THE BIRTH OF THE NATIONAL PARTY
4.3 LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK DURING THE NATIONALIST PARTY RULE (1948-1960)
4.4 EDUCATION DURING THE NATIONAL PARTY RULE: 1948-1960
4.5 THE BANTU EDUCATION ACT
4.6 THE FINANCING OF BANTU EDUCATION
4.7 SCHOOL CURRICULUM
4.8 PERCEPTIONS OF AND REACTION TO BANTU EDUCATION
4.9 MASS RESISTANCE DURING THE 1950s
4.10 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER 5: RURAL EDUCATION IN THE FORMER HOMELANDS: 1960-1994
5.2 THE FORMATION OF HOMELANDS IN SOUTH AFRICA
5.3 FROM BANTU EDUCATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
5.4 GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
5.5 THE DE LANGE COMMISSION
5.6 SOME INDICATORS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST RURAL EDUCATION (1970-1993)
5.7 RESISTANCE OF BANTU EDUCATION IN THE 1970s AND 1980s
5.8 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER 6: RURAL EDUCATION DURING THE DEMOCRATIC ERA (1994-2004)
6.2 TRANSITION FROM APARTHEID ERA TO DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION:
6.3 CHANGING POLITICAL GEOGRAPHICAL IDENTIFICATION OF RURAL AREAS
6.4 CHANGING SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN RURAL AREAS
6.5 ECONOMIC POLICIES
6.6 INFRASTRUCTURAL AND RESOURCE PROVISION
6.7 BUDGETARY PROVISIONS AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE BUDGETARY PROCESSES ON EDUCATION
6.8 GOVERNANCE, MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
6.10 EDUCATIONAL INDICATORS AFTER 1994
6.11 INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
6.12 THE DILEMMA OF USING APARTHEID AS THE YARDSTICK BY WHICH TO EVALUATE GOVERNMENT PROGRESS
6.13 CONCLUDING REMARKS
CHAPTER 7: EVALUATION: FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.2 METABLETIC APPROACH
7.9 CONCLUDING REMARKS
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT