For many observers - both inside and outside the country - South Africa’s bloodless transition from the minority white domination of the apartheid era to democracy represented a political miracle of no mean significance. An important difference between the period before 1994 and the subsequent period is that the old divisions into which society was compartmentalised - Whites, Blacks, Indians and Coloureds - have disappeared. In their place there is a more integrated society, albeit with multiple diversities. Theoretically, therefore, the contours and racially-based dividing lines which were artificially created by apartheid have ceased to exist. Practically, however, such divisions still persist - both at societal and at school levels. The reason for this is that the deep-seated distrust of the ‘other’ could not be wiped out overnight - nor could integration take place without deliberate state intervention. Thus, using an ethnographic case study research design, this thesis - Experiences of diversity in a South African Public School - contributes to the contemporary debate on desegregation, racial integration and cultural diversification of the learning environment. It traces the progress of a former Whites-only Afrikaans medium high school to determine the success or failure of the education department’s declared goal of ensuring racial integration at school level. The study concludes that contrary to the findings of other recent research projects on desegregation in South Africa, school integration and the social cohesion of learners are possible if a proper enabling environment is created. Undertaken at a specific school, the study does not claim that the findings are a trend in other schools as well, although that cannot be totally ruled out in schools similar to the one studied. Most learners at this school have, reasonably, crossed the racial divide and have realised that they cannot exist independently from one another anymore - even when this seems to contradict the expectations of their parents.
Thesis (PhD (Education Management, Law and Policy))--University of Pretoria, 2008.