Whose Life Orientation is it?

Investigating South Africa’s infamous Life Orientation textbook that gets students, past and present, riled up. Students share what they want out, what they want in, and what confuses them to the core.

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The FOCUS grade 12 Life Orientation textbook has been studied by students since 2013.

My curiosity for the Life Orientation (LO) textbook started in 2014. I was still in high school and a peer, Emma Garschagen, brought my attention to the frightening realities of a textbook my grade had barely opened. Sexism and harmful gender stereotypes littered the pages of our FOCUS grade 11 Life Orientation textbook. Emma came to an accurate summary of the stereotypes presented: “women are victims who need to be helped, and men are never abused or weaker than women.” Continue reading

African Litreature & Representation

As an English major, it is compulsory that you take a couple of courses to graduate. For example, in my second year, I have the choice between two courses in each semester: an African Litreature course and an American/European Litreature course. The only rule is that we have to take at least one African Litreature course in the year. So me? I took both African Litreature courses. No, I didn’t have to. I wanted to.

Some peers roll their eyes at this idea and think I’m absolutely bonkers to be putting myself through the “torture” of South African and African litreature. I, however, am so desperate to find out more of what I never knew was actually available.

And here, my friends, is where we find the two reactions to African litreature that are a direct result from the lack of African litreature taught within high school English curriculums. Students never get taught litreature from their own damn continent. 

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The South African novels prescribed for my African Litreature course.

 

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