Reconnecting with Indigenous knowledge in education : exploring possibilities for health and well-being in Xhora, South Africa

Ned, Lieketseng Yvonne (2019-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Owing to coloniality, Eurocentric and western thinkers have been privileged in knowledge production while African indigenous thinkers and knowers have been subjugated. Consequently, western knowledge has been described as universal knowledge, while indigenous people’s knowledges remain characterized as backward and primitive. In this arrangement, the current education system reproduces inequities of knowledges. How this knowledge arrangement influences the persisting negative health status among indigenous people, and the role of formal schooling in this, remains unexplored in South Africa and beyond. There is a need to explore and describe from the perspectives of indigenous people the potential relevance of indigenous knowledges in transforming the formal education system for better health and well-being. Using case study design supported by narrative inquiry as methodological frameworks, I facilitated a case of narratives with AmaBomvane in Xhora (Eastern Cape province, SA) to: • describe AmaBomvane’s rural experience of the influence of the formal education system on their Indigenous traditions and knowledges and their links to health and well-being; • explore what stakeholders in these communities (elders, youth and teachers) identify as some of the Indigenous knowledges and ways of teaching and learning; and • explore how the identified knowledges and teaching and learning strategies of AmaBomvane can inform curriculum development and implementation in the formal schooling system. The case study provided contextual boundedness and situatedness to the research, while narrative inquiry uncovered the stories that formed the basis for exploring and describing the case in question. The participants played an active role in guiding the research process. Indigenous methods (talking circles and storytelling using the sagacity approach) were used to collect narrative, primary data from residents of four sampled villages. In-depth interviews with teachers and principals from schools across the villages and other methods such as researcher observations and spontaneous conversations were used. The sagacity approach, reflexivity, reciprocity and continuous relationship-building grounded these methods. A case of seven co-constructed narratives highlighted three typologies (Amaqaba, Amagqobhoka, and Agonizers: the uncomfortable in-betweeners) related to the complex interactions and dynamics between formal schooling and the communities and/or homes. These typologies reveal the intersecting operations of coloniality of power, being, knowledge and doing. The literacies of AmaBomvane challenge the academy by bringing considerable insight into our understanding of knowledge itself, learning and the purpose of education and curriculum. The inseparable link between everyday doing, knowing and being was highlighted as central to knowledge production. AmaBomvane’s conceptualization of knowledge also highlighted an inextricable link between health and education, thus advocating for an education that enhances living well. In conclusion, colonial education emerged as a potential negative social determinant of AmaBomvane’s health as it produces people who are deeply alienated from themselves, their lands, cultures, ancestors, languages and knowledges. Its historical roots, forced assimilation and the unquestionable characteristic of curriculum create a colonising attitude amongst learners and educators. I therefore argue that coloniality and colonial education be recognised as broader social determinants of ill health. I argue that centering indigenous knowledges and cultures within the formal schooling curriculum may contribute to strengthening positive indigenous identities, thus contributing to better physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being. There is an urgent need to prepare educators who are socially conscious and competent to facilitate a health-enhancing curriculum that enables learners to live well. Given the revealed inextricable link between health and education, I also recommend that South African national curriculum immerse health and well-being as a core area of learning. I have thus developed an indigenous-decolonial framework for reconstructing curriculum for health and well-being as a guide.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Kolonialisme het tot gevolg gehad dat die Euro-sentriese en westerse denkers voordeel trek in so verre die verkryging van kennis. Dit is voor die hand liggend dat die westerse kennis as die universele kennis aanvaar word, terwyl die kennis van verskeie etniese groepe in Afrika as primitief beskou word. In die huidige onderwysstel kom heelwat ongelykhede van kennis voor. Met die formele skolestelsel word die gesondheidsorg in Suid-Akrika ook nie ontgin nie. Dit is uiters belangrik dat die relevansie van etniese kennis ondersoek word om sodoende die formele onderwysstelsel te transformeer sodat die gesondheidsorg en welsyn van die etniese groepe bevorder word. Met behulp van ‘n metodiese raamwerk verwys ek graag na die geval van AmaBomvame in Xhora (Oos-Kaap). Daar is gefokus op die volgende: • die vervreemding van etniese kennis wat AmaBomvane ondervind het met die formele opvoedkunde. • Die gaping wat veroorsaak is deur die vervreemding en onkunde binne die onderwysstelsel. • Daar word gekyk na maniere hoe dit verhoed kan word dat die kinders vervreemd raak van hul taal, kultuur en herkoms. Deur hierdie gevallestudie is die ligging en grense aan die navorsing verskaf terwyl die ondersoek van die vertellings die basis gevorm het waarop die navorsing gedoen is. Die deelnemers aan hierdie studies, het ‘n aktiewe rol in die uitvoering van die proses gespeel. Etniese gespreksvoering, groepsbesprekings en vertellings is gebruik om die inligting van die inwoners van 4 stamme bymekaar te maak. Daar is ook in diepte gesprekke met onderwysers en skoolhoofde gehou om meer inligting van die stamme en etniese groepe in te win. Die interpersoonlike verhoudings onder die mense van die stamme het bygedra tot die navorsing. ‘n Gevallestudie is gedoen waar 7 vertellings saamgestel is om die tipologie van 3 groepe (Amaqaba, Amagqobhoka en Agonizers) te beklemtoon wat almal te doen gehad het met die interaksies en dinamika tussen formele opvoedkunde en die etniese gemeenskappe. Hierdie tipologieë het die bedrywighede van kolonialiteit van mag, kennis en bestaansreg onthul. Die geletterdes van AmaBomvane daag die akademisie uit deur goeie insig te bring tot die begrip van die kennis, en die doel van opvoedkunde en die kurrikulum. Die onlosmaaklike skakel tussen die daaglikse doen en late, kennis en welstand is beklemtoon. Die AmaBomvane se begrip van die kennis is ook uitgelig as ‘n onlosmaaklike skakel tussen gesondheidsorg en opvoedkunde, dus is voorspraak gemaak vir opvoedkunde om die welsynsorg en lewens van die etniese groepe te bevorder. Ten slotte kan ons sê dat die koloniale opvoedkunde gwys het dat dit ‘n negatiewe uitwerking op die sosiale vlak van die AmaBomvane se welsyn gehad het aangesien dit veroorsaak het dat die mense hulself van hul land, kulture, voorvaders, taal en kennis gedistansieer het. Die historiese agtergrond het daartoe gelei dat onderwysers en leerlinge ongevraagde karaktereienskappe geplaas het op ‘n koloniale benadering in die kurrikulum skep. Ek stel dus dat erken moet word dat kolonialisme en koloniale opvoedkunde sosiale gedrag en gesondheidsorg benadeel. Ek glo dus dat etniese kennis en kultuur binne die formele omderrig wel kan bydra tot die versterking van etniese identiteite om sodoende beter fisiese, sosiale, geestelike gesondheid asook welstand te waarborg. Dit is dus van uiterste belang dat opvoeders wat bevoegd is en ‘n sosiale gewete het, opgelei moet word om leerders te ondersteun om ‘n beter leefwyse aan te leer om sodoende hul algehele welstand te bevorder. Met die gegewe inligting rakende die onlosmaaklike skakel tussen opvoedkunde en gesondheidsorg, stel ek voor dat die Suid-Afrikaanse nasionale kurrikulum aangepas sal word met gesondheidsorg en welsyn as die kern van opvoedkunde. Ek het ‘n etniese de-koloniale raamwerk ontwerp wat gebruik kan word as ‘n riglyn om die kurrikulum te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106187
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