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Unisa Press

Thinking diversity, building cohesion

Thinking Diversity, Building Cohesion: A Transnational Dialogue on Education
Editors: Mokubung Nkomo and Saloshna Vandeyar
With a Foreword by Jonathan Jansen
Published within the SAVUSA series, by Unisa Press and Rozenberg

Format: 245 x 165  mm x mm (Laminated softcover)
Pages: v + 224
Item 8063
September 2009
ISBN 978 90 361 0128 8
SA price: R150.00(VAT incl)
Other countries in Africa:  R172,00(Airmail incl)
Rest of the world:
US$ 29,00(Airmail incl)
Europe: Contact Rozenberg at
Rozenberg Publishers, Bloemgracht 82hs, 1015 TM Amsterdam, The Netherlands. |
E-mail: /
Unisa Press, PO Box 392, UNISA 0003, South Africa. tel: +27 12 429-3081.fax: +27 12 426-3449


Thinking Diversity, Building Cohesion

This is the tenth title in the Savusa / Rozenberg / Unisa Press Series
Series Editor: Harry Welz, SAVUSA, VU University Amsterdam.
The SAVUSA Series aims to publish academic, yet broadly accessible texts on historical and contemporary issues in South and southern Africa.
All SAVUSA series are subject to a double-blind international peer review process.

About the book

How can education both acknowledge cultural diversity and promote social cohesion that is so necessary in contemporary, pluralistic and democratic societies?  How can reconciliation and social cohesion be achieved? The injunction of our times, therefore, is the construction of a consciousness and social cohesion project informed by social justice and human rights. That is the collective quest of the various chapters in the book.

“South Africa’s schools must become successful multiracial, multicultural institutions if the nation is to move from freedom to unity and genuine mutual respect. The challenges are immense. This book draws on experience throughout the world and in South Africa to help set the agenda for educators, researchers and responsible authorities; it provides a valuable resource for South Africa and other societies.” -  Gary Orfield,  professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning; Co-Director, The Civil Rights Project, University of California; and Professor of Education & Social Policy at Harvard University.

“Have our economic and political gains achieved anything to improve race relations between South Africans? Racism is so powerful, so entrenched in the moral fiber of our society that it prevails even in the midst of change. This volume, a must read, deals with issues of social cohesion and integration not only in our history but in the history of many societies.” - Rich Mkhondo, South African author, columnist and public relations practitioner.

“In the floodtide of the struggle for equality in the classroom, not only is a philosophy required but a striving to go to the roots of systemic inequalities in accessing the right to education in South Africa and elsewhere. This volume is a welcome addition to critical analyses of challenges faced when racially divided societies seek to achieve the ideals of egalitarianism and inclusivity.”
 - Zonke Majodina,  deputy chair of the South African Human Rights Commission


Jonathan Jansen. 1

Mokubung Nkomo and Saloshna Vandeyar 5

Diversity Education: Lessons for a Just World
Sonia Nieto. 17

The State of Pedagogy in Desegregated South African Schools: Peering into the Classroom
Mokubung Nkomo, Saloshna Vandeyar, Brutus Malada, Rakgadi Phatlane, Ramodungoane Tabane and Makola Phurutse  41

Portraiture as a Methodological Option for Studying Integrating Schools
Saloshna Vandeyar 63

What’s Cool at Girls’ School: (Subverting) Assimilation in a South African Desegregated School
Carolyn McKinney. 75

Is Close Proximity Joy or Pain? Perceptions from Learners in a South African School
Rakgadi Phatlane. 93

Opportunities and Paradoxes: An Examination of Culture, Race and Group Incorporation in Post-Apartheid South African Schools
Prudence L. Carter 109

Unity in Diversity’: Social Cohesion and the Pedagogical Project of the Indian State
Sarada Balagopalan. 133

Where the Girls Are…’: Some Hidden Gendered and Ethnicized Aspects of Higher Education in the Netherlands
Gloria Wekker 151

The American Sociological Association’s Spivack Project on the Effects of School and Classroom Diversity on Educational Outcomes
Roslyn Arlin Mickelson. 165

Providing for Diversity in Public Schools: Lessons for South Africa from Nova Scotia Province, Canada
Dr Thobeka Vuyelwa Mda. 187

Reflections on the Colloquium within a Human Rights Discourse
André Keet 211

Contributors. 221

List of contributors

Sarada Balagopalan is based at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi. Her work is an attempt to critically theorize the category of childhood by relating it to discourses of modernity, late capitalism and current transnational efforts to secure ‘rights’ for children. Her work on the politics of childhood also informs her interest in issues of pedagogy and curriculum. She was the Chief Advisor to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), India’s national textbook writing agency during the period 2005-2006.

Prudence L. Carter is an associate professor in the School of Education and (by courtesy) the Department of Sociology at Stanford. She is also the Co-Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). Her primary research agenda focuses on cultural explanations for academic and mobility differences among various racial and ethnic groups. She is the author of the award-winning book, Keepin’ it real: School success beyond black and white (Oxford University Press, 2005), which examines the connections among achievement, culture, and identity for low-income African American and Latino students.  At present, Professor Carter is completing a book entitled The paradoxes of opportunity: Race, culture, and boundaries in ‘good’ schools, which documents a cross-national study of desegregated and majority-black high schools in the United States and South Africa and discusses how school practices can either facilitate or diminish academic and social divides in education.

André Keet joined the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in 1996 and was appointed Director of the National Centre for Human Education and Training in 2000. In this capacity he managed and coordinated the education and training activities of the Commission, served on various advisory structures related to human rights and social justice, and headed the human rights and inclusivity task teams charged with the development of the National Curriculum Statement. In 2006 he was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Operations) of the SAHRC. He recently completed his PhD dissertation titled ‘Conceptual Analysis of Human Rights Education’ at the University of Pretoria.

Ndinannyi Brutus Malada is a researcher at the Centre for Education Policy Development (CEPD). Until recently he was based at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). He holds an MEd in Curriculum Studies from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests include higher education policy studies, research capacity development, school reform and social cohesion.

Carolyn McKinney is Senior Lecturer in Language Education in the School of Education, University of Cape Town. She has a PhD from the Institute of Education, London, and has published on research methodologies for language and literacy, critical literacy, critical pedagogy, ‘race’ and post-apartheid youth identities and language and identity.

Thobeka Mda is a professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of South Africa. Her areas of specialisation are curricula, instruction, professional development, and qualitative research. She has written and published extensively in the areas of language and education, and diversity and education.

Roslyn Arlin Mickelson is Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, Information Technology, and Women’s Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her interests include minority educational issues, school and classroom compositional effects on achievement, gender, education policy and school reform. Her book Children on the Streets of the Americas: Globalization, Homeless­ness, and Education in the United States, Brazil, and Cuba was published by Routledge/Falmer in 2000.

Sonia Nieto is Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture in the School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has taught students at all levels from elementary grades through graduate school, and worked at the university level preparing teachers and teacher educators for over thirty years. Her research focuses on multicultural education and the education of Latinos, immigrants, and students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Her books include Affirming Diversity (4th ed., 2004), The Light in Their Eyes (1999), What Keeps Teachers Going? (2003), and two edited volumes, Puerto Rican Students in U.S. Schools (2000), and Why We Teach (2005). In addition, she has published dozens of book chapters and articles.

Mokubung Nkomo is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria. His most recent co-edited books are Reflections on School Integration (2005) and Within the Realm of Possibility (2006). He has published numerous book chapters and academic articles on a variety of topics in education.

Rakgadi Phatlane is a PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria and a lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the University of South Africa. Her research interests are diversity education and discipline in schools.

Makola Phurutse is a researcher in the Science, Education and Human Resources Research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa.

Ramondungoane Tabane is a PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria and a psychologist in private practice in Pretoria. He is also a consultant. His focus is on cross-cultural research, alternative assessments, school desegregation and integration.

Saloshna Vandeyar, a National Research Foundation-rated scientist, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities Education, Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She specializes in education and diversity, teacher professionalism and assessment practices. She is particularly interested in the implications of teacher and student identities in constructing classrooms inclusive of racial, linguistic and ethnic identity and in promoting peace education. She is the recipient of a number of awards that have brought her both international and national acclaim and scholarly recognition in her field of specialization. She is currently working on several projects on school integration, social cohesion and institutional cultures, which are funded by the National Research Foundation and the South Africa- Netherlands Research Program on Alternatives in Development.

Gloria Wekker, a social and cultural anthropologist, holds the IIAV-chair in gender and ethnicity in the faculty of the Arts at Utrecht University. She also is the director of GEM, the Center of Expertise on Gender, Ethnicity and Multiculturality in Higher Education at UU. Her research interests include: constructions of sexual subjectivity in the black diaspora, and gendered and ethnicized knowledge systems in higher education in the Netherlands.