My name is Caroline, and I have survived snooty, southern suburbs, private school education in Cape Town and have somehow managed to live to tell the tale.
I was a woman of colour living in a “rainbow nation” environment since the age that one sends their little ones off to pre-school. I had ignored and rejected my coloured roots, embarrassed of the identity that should, instead, be celebrated. I shut myself off to anything that made me different, trying and continuously failing to assimilate into a culture that was never mine.
I always knew that I never owned the space I occupied for my entire schooling career. I tried to ignore that thinking, “there is no such thing as race.” Fourteen years trying to achieve the ‘elite white girl’ status was an unconscious, never-ending battle. Once fresh out of high-school, I realised that what I was trying to achieve was essentially problematic and the real part of myself that I should be embarrassed of. The identity crisis brought about a process of revelation, deconstructing, unlearning and relearning.
This blog aims to explore the complex issues with Model C, private schools in South Africa, occupied by mainly middle to upper class kids. Basically, the 1%…the kind that gets BMWs before they even get licenses and the kind who goes to Europe once a year for a ‘chilled family vacay.’ This blog, also, will explore the issues with the education high school students are receiving especially with regards to the infamous “Life Orientation” subject. Issues surrounding hegemonic culture and accepted norms will be questioned, such as toxic masculinity, white privilege and how minority voices and bodies are integrated into such spaces.
Is there room for diversity? Is the ‘rainbow nation’ real or even beneficial? How do we prepare our children for the realities of a country that isn’t how their beloved schools romanticise it to be? Are the top schools in South Africa actually crushing our hopes for the future?