Identity politics of race and gender in the post-apartheid South Africa : the case of Stellenbosch University

Dumiso, Phazamile (2004-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Identity has been a contentious issue in South Africa for many years. This created many problems including, among others, discrimination against people on the basis of race and gender. When the new government came to power in 1994, it promised to make valuable changes, and hence programmes such as affirmative action and black economic empowerment were introduced. This study investigates perceptions of students at Stellenbosch University (US) towards identity politics of race and gender after 1994. The subject of investigation includes, inter alia, student accommodation, language of tuition, relationship between students, class participation, sexual harassment and politics (affirmative action and black economic empowerment). This research investigates the university's treatment of students and how students themselves treat each other. Information was collected through a survey using a questionnaire in four selected residences, viz. Concordia, Goldfields, Huis DeViIIiers and Lobelia. The findings of this study indicate that there still are some problems as far as identity politics of race and gender at the US are concerned. For example, this study came to the following conclusions: • The majority of students from the three racial groups who participated in this study have a perception that racial divisions still exist at the US in three areas (classroom, residences and the student centre). The perception is these divisions are caused by the fact that students come from different cultural backgrounds. Language differences also play a role in this respect; • The majority of students also have a perception that black students are less likely to speak in class because they feel intimidated; • The majority of black and coloured students support the ANC (African National Congress), while the majority of white students support the DA (Democratic Alliance). Although this is the case, this research also finds that many students at the US do not want to indicate their political support; • Black and coloured students are positive about the role of Affirmative Action (AA) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), whereas white students have a different view; • Women students at the US have a perception that South Africa is still confronted by a problem of gender inequality; • The majority of students have a perception that white men are the worst affected group by AA and BEE; • Most students, regardless of their race or gender, feel protected at the US. There is a perception that there is no gender discrimination by their lecturers; • Men and women students view sexual harassment differently; for example, women students view sexist jokes and wolf-whistling as constituting sexual harassment while men students have a different view. They all have perception that women students are the one who experience more of these forms of sexual harassment than their male counterparts do.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Identiteit is reeds vir baie jare in Suid-Afrika 'n omstrede kwessie. Dit het baie probleme veroorsaak, waaronder, diskriminasie teen mense gegrond op ras en geslag. Tydens die totstandkoming van die nuwe regering in 1994, is beloftes gemaak om veranderinge teweeg te bring. Gevolglik is programme soos regstellende aksie en swart ekonomiese bemagtiging ingestel. Hierdie studie ondersoek die persepsie van studente, verbonde aan die universiteit van Stellenbosch (US), jeens die identiteitspolitiek van ras en geslag na 1994. Die onderwerp van die studie sluit ondermeer die volgende in: studente-akkommodasie, die onderrigstaal, die verhouding tussen studente, klasdeelname, seksuele teistering en politiek (regstellende aksie en swart ekonomiese bemagtiging). Dit ondersoek die universiteit se hantering van studente en die behandeling van studente se optrede teenoor mekaar. Die inligting is ingesamel deur 'n meningspeiling verkry deur die verspreiding van vraelyste in vier geselekteerde koshuise, naamlik Concordia, Goldfields, Huis de Villiers en Lobelia. Die bevindinge van die studie toon dat daar steeds baie probleme bestaan wat betref die politieke identiteit van ras en geslag aan die US. Die studie het byvoorbeeld tot die volgende gevolgtrekkings gekom: • Die meerderheid van studente, uit drie rassegroepe, wat aan die studie deelgeneem het, het die persepsie dat rasse-verdeeldheid steeds in drie areas voorkom (die klaskamer, koshuise en die studente sentrum). Die persepsie word voorgehou, onder andere, dat die verdeeldheid versoorsaak word deur die feit dat studente van verskillende kulture afkomstig is, asook dat taalverskille 'n rol speel. • Die meerderheid studente het ook die persepsie dat swart studente neig om minder te praat in die klas omdat hulle geïntimideerd voel. • Die meerderheid swart en bruin studente steun die ANC (African National Congress), terwyl die meerderheid wit studente die DA (Demokratiese Alliansie) steun. Hoewel dit die geval blyk te wees, het die studie ook gevind dat baie studente aan die US nie hulle politieke steun bekend wil maak nie. • Swart en bruin studente is positief oor die rol van regstellende aksie en swart ekonomiese bemagtiging, teenoor wit studente wat 'n ander uitkyk hierop het. • Vroue studente aan die US het die persepsie dat Suid-Afrika steeds gekonfronteer word met die probleem van geslagsongelykheid. • Die meerderheid studente het die persepsie dat wit mans die ergste geraak word deur regstellende aksie en swart ekonomiese bemagtiging. • Meeste studente, ongeag hul ras of geslag, voel beskermd by die US. Die persepsie bestaan dat geen geslagdiskriminasie deur lektore toegepas word nie. • Mans- en vroue-studente sien seksuele teistering verskillend. Vroue-studente, byvoorbeeld, sien seksistiese grappe en wolwefluite as seksuele teistering, teenoor mansstudente wat dit nie so sien nie. Almal het wel die persepsie dat vrouestudente meer geraak word deur seksuele teistering as hulle manlike eweknieë.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49984
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