The politics of history textbooks in South African classroom in the era of Curriculum 2005

Bekisizwe S. Ndimande


South Africa has recently celebrated twenty years of political transition from apartheid government to a democratic nation. One of the important changes in this transition was the reform of classroom curriculum, including the nature of textbook content taught in post-apartheid South African schools. This article discusses the textbook content in the era of Curriculum 2005, a national curriculum statement introduced in 1997 and subsequently revised in 2002. First, I discuss the socio-political history of education in South Africa, including the transition from apartheid to post-apartheid as a context to this analysis. Second, I describe the limitations of history textbooks content taught in post-apartheid classrooms. Using critical theory, I argue that the content of newly adopted history textbooks did not radically interrupt the long-standing misrepresentation and underrepresentation of the political histories of marginalized groups in South Africa, although some textbooks have made progress than others.

Keywords: History Textbooks. South Africa. Post-Apartheid. Curriculum 2005. Critical Theory.

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Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina - UDESC
Centro de Ciências Humanas e da Educação - FAED
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Educação - PPGE
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