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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The intimate politics of the education market: high-stakes schooling and the making of kinship in Umlazi Township, South Africa
Author:Hunter, MarkISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
education fees
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2015.1108545
Abstract:After decades of entrenched racial discrimination, virtually all South African children today enter the schooling system, and many progress further than did their parents. Yet the increased importance of fees at the best schools means that a child's schooling and subsequent life chances depend, in new ways, on the efforts of others, usually family members. These efforts are indicated in isiZulu by the term 'ukufundisa', which means 'to cause to learn', in addition to its more common translation of 'to teach'. Based on research in and around Umlazi township, Durban, this article illustrates how South Africa's increasingly marketised education system reworks the social bonds mediated by schooling. Although many kin contribute to a child's upbringing, the high cost of gaining access to the upper end of the education market places great demands on mothers and fathers to 'fundisa' a child. For mothers with the means, a child's attendance at a prestigious 'multiracial' school continues the long-standing educational efforts that have tied mothers to their children. But for poorer women there is a painful sense that this bond is weakening when they are unable to navigate a high-stakes schooling system. Moreover, in the context of a low marriage rate and a so-called 'crisis in masculinity', schooling can help to link children to their fathers in meaningful ways. The article concludes that educational inequalities are felt not only in school dropout rates or failed exams but also in the everyday social bonds that are made and broken in a sometimes painful manner. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]