The story of Charlotte Maxeke : an analysis of how visual arts can be utilised to reflect on race, gender, identity and citizenship in the South African higher educational context

Cele, Kutlwano (2018-03)

Thesis (MA(VA))--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The history of South Africa represents oppressive systems of racial discrimination and subjugation, systems that were used in the construction of social institutions. Grounded in the institutionalisation of inequality, the Apartheid systematic policies on education favoured “whites” in the expense of “non-whites” majority of South Africans. With the fall of apartheid in 1994 came the need for transformation that could lead to a new and allinclusive South African society. The new South African government set out to reconstruct a community by emphasising the importance of education, culture and art, as well as by celebrating diversity. The purpose of this study was to celebrate, bring awareness to, and further educate Stellenbosch University students who participated in this study on the history of Charlotte Maxeke. The study topic was chosen to discover the different ways in which the students reacted to the story of Charlotte Maxeke as well as the way in which knowing this history enabled them to contribute to socio-political classroom discussions. The study topic was further chosen to identify the ways in which students understand and define race, gender, identity and citizenship in South Africa by conducting an analysis of how visual arts can be utilised to reflect on these constructs in the South African higher educational context. The research aimed to investigate the story of Charlotte Maxeke and to identify to what extent the process of art making contributed to reflective learning. The research design method was a case study, as an interpretive approach to research. Inductive content analysis was conducted to analyse the data. Data were collected in a silk screen printmaking studio, on the Stellenbosch University campus, among 22 second-year Fine Arts students who participated in the workshop. Data were also captured through recorded classroom discussions and written artist statements. Data and samples were selected on the basis of the participants’ views and perceptions of the story of Charlotte Maxeke, and how these were addressed through the process of visual art. The data collected were further organised into themes and subthemes. The first main theme identified was citizenship, with globalisation and transformation as sub-themes. The second main theme that emerged from the data was race and cultural identity, with gender and domination and sensitivity as sub-themes, with the value of art as a medium for learning as the third main theme. The conclusions and implications of this study were established regarding the story of Maxeke as a catalytic foundation that was used to address certain discourses through the medium of art, suggesting that young South African students should participate in the visual arts as a way to free expression and creative thought through the process of art making and engagements with indigenous narratives such as Maxeke’s.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis verteenwoordig onderdrukkende stelsels van rassediskriminasie en dominansie, stelsels wat gebruik is in die vestiging van opvoedkundige instellings in Suid-Afrika. Die ondergang van apartheid in 1994 het ʼn behoefte gebring aan transformasie wat tot ʼn nuwe en inklusiewe Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing sal lei. Die nuwe Suid-Afrikaanse regering het die heropbou van ʼn gemeenskap beplan deur klem te lê op die belangrikheid van onderwys, kultuur en kuns, en deur diversiteit te vier. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die geskiedenis van Charlotte Maxeke te vier, bewustheid daarvan te bring en voorts studente van die Universiteit Stellenbosch wat aan die studie deelgeneem het daaroor op te voed. Die studie-onderwerp is gekies om die verskillende maniere te ontdek waarop die studente op die storie van Charlotte Maxeke gereageer het, asook die manier waarop kennis van hierdie geskiedenis hulle in staat gestel het om tot sosiopolitieke klaskamerbesprekings by te dra. Die onderwerp is voorts gekies om maniere te identifiseer waarop studente ras, geslag, identiteit en burgerskap in Suid-Afrika verstaan en definieer deur ʼn ontleding te doen van hoe visuele kunste gebruik kan word om oor hierdie konsepte in die Suid-Afrikaanse hoëronderwyskonteks te besin. Die navorsing het ten doel gehad om die storie van Charlotte Maxeke te ondersoek en te identifiseer in watter mate die proses van kunsskepping tot besinnende leer kan bydra. Die navorsingsontwerpmetode was ʼn gevallestudie as ʼn interpretatiewe benadering tot navorsing. Induktiewe inhoudsontleding is uitgevoer om die data te ontleed. Data is in ʼn sifdrukkuns-studio op die Universiteit Stellenbosch-kampus onder 22 Skone Kunstetweedejaarstudente ingesamel wat aan die werkswinkel deelgeneem het. Data is ook deur opgeneemde klaskamerbesprekings en geskrewe kunstenaarverslae ingesamel. Die data en monster is gekies op grond van die deelnemers se sienings en persepsies rakende die storie van Charlotte Maxeke, en hoe dit deur die proses van visuele kuns aan bod gekom het. Die data is verder in temas en subtemas verdeel. Die eerste hooftema wat geïdentifiseer is, was burgerskap, met globalisering en transformasie as subtemas. Die tweede hooftema was ras/kulturele identiteit, met geslag en dominansie en sensitiwiteit as subtemas, met die waarde van kuns as ’n medium vir leer as die derde hooftema. Die gevolgtrekkings en implikasies van hierdie studie is bepaal in die lig van die storie van Maxeke as ʼn katalitiese grondslag wat gebruik is om sekere diskoerse deur die medium van kuns te ondersoek, wat aan die hand doen dat jong Suid-Afrikaners aan die visuele kunste kan deelneem as ʼn manier tot vrye uitdrukking en kreatiewe denke deur die proses van kunsskepping en betrokkenheid by inheemse narratiewe soos dié van Maxeke.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103380
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