The African adult education movement in the Western Cape from 1945 to 1967 in the context of its socio-economic and political background
Author(s)Wilson, Daphne May
KeywordsAdult education - South Africa - Western Cape - History
Blacks - Education - South Africa - Western Cape
Adult education - South Africa - Western Cape
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AbstractBibliography: pages 310-325.
At the end of World War II, volunteers from the University of Cape Town began literacy and post-literacy evening classes for African adults near the Blouvlei squatter settlement in Retreat. From this small beginning a significant voluntary adult education movement developed until, at the peak of its expansion, there were night schools located at fourteen different sites in the Cape Peninsula from Sea Point to Simonstown. The thesis studies the twenty-three year lifespan of this movement which provided tuition at both primary and secondary level and from 1950 called itself the "Cape Non-European Night Schools Association" (CNENSA). The history of the organisation deals chronologically with three distinct periods: (1) 1945-1948, the opening phase, when in the aftermath of a Commission of Enquiry into adult education, volunteer groups undertaking adult night classes were encouraged and were granted small subsidies; (2) 1949-1957, a period of continuing and rapid expansion; (3) 1958-1967, the years in which the government reduced, restricted and finally eliminated all the CNENSA's schools. While the movement is studied with regard to its educational programme, choice of subjects, curricula, text-books and general organisation, much of the central interest derives from an examination of its origin and operation in relation to the political and socio-economic developments in the country. The study is thus concerned with the causes of African poverty and illiteracy and the continuous backdrop of major external events during the existence of the Association. In the inter-relatedness of the two historical themes thus pursued, the participants in the education movement, both teachers and pupils, are seen to reflect the wider society, and the study in its broad survey refers to many events of profound historical significance; these include the setting up of Bantu Education and the other pillars of apartheid, the development of major protest organisations and trade unions, the staging of the Civil Disobedience Campaign and the Congress of the People, the events at Sharpeville and in Langa in 1960 and the eventual emergence of underground movements and armed resistance. There is a strong focus on the motives and attitudes of both the learners and teachers in the movement and on their perceptions of their times and of each other. In this respect an interesting liberal-radical continuum is seen running right through the history of the Association. In the concluding chapters, to question the evidence from an alternative viewpoint before final evaluations are made, the work of the CNENSA is examined in the light of a Paulo Freirian perspective.
TypeThesis / Dissertation
Wilson, D. 1988. The African adult education movement in the Western Cape from 1945 to 1967 in the context of its socio-economic and political background. University of Cape Town.