Emerging Voices
A Report on Education in South African Rural Communities

Researched for the Nelson Mandela Foundation by the Human Sciences Research Council; with the Education Policy Consortium

280mm x 210mm
R 120.00
ISBN: 0-7969-2089-3


One of the greatest challenges South Africa faces is rural poverty and education. This book graphically illustrates the conditions that make the dreams of a better life for all virtually unrealisable in rural areas. Through the voices of rural people themselves, the reader is told not only what the problems are but also what can and should be done. Emerging Voices is a richly documented portrait of the lives of communities in selected rural areas, and specifically their thoughts and feelings about education. It is a book that can come at no better time as South Africa is poised to launch a major offensive against poverty in rural areas. Education, this book shows, must be a central component of such an initiative. Collectively, the chapters illustrate the complexity, interconnectedness and intractability of the challenges that face rural communities and education in South Africa in particular and less developed countries more generally.

It has produced a rigorous and qualitative overview of the problems of rural schooling in the context of rural poverty. Through it, the reader comes to understand better the complexity of the problems of rural communities and schooling and the importance of listening to the voices of the rural poor. It makes clear that there are no magic solutions but does point to a singular conclusion that, the great majority of children in rural poor communities are receiving less than is their right in a democratic South Africa. Worse still, is the fact that this will have long-term effects on their opportunities for development, their capabilities and their lives. Moreover, the communities in which they are will continue to suffer the debilitating effects of poverty and inequality for as long as these problems remain.

Emerging Voices has the potential to enhance informed public discussion, debate and dialogue on the issues raised. Consequently, and given the political will, it has the potential for assisting policy-makers to make meaningful policy and other programmatic interventions to deal with the challenges of rural education and schooling.


A note from Nelson Mandela
Background to this study
Note to the reader

CHAPTER ONE: Being there
Community voices
Teachers' voices
Learners' voices

CHAPTER TWO: Poverty and education
Poverty and unemployment in the community
Sources of income
Literacy within rural households
The experience of rural poverty
Histories of communities
The history, purposes and significance of education

CHAPTER THREE: The road to school
The road to school
Early childhood education
In school
Pupil : teacher ratios
Class size
School fees and uniforms
Hunger and school meals
Ill health and HIV/AIDS
Teenage pregnancy
Humiliation, bullying, sexual abuse and violence
Traditional ceremonies
Consequences of disrupted schooling patterns

CHAPTER FOUR: School and community infrastructure
School infrastructure

CHAPTER FIVE: Experience of the classroom
Approaches to teaching and learning
Corporal punishment
Improving rural classrooms
Making the curriculum 'relevant'
Parents' perspectives: Education for rural development
Learners' perspectives:Equal education, democracy and social justice
Learners' educational and occupational aspirations

CHAPTER SIX: Democracy in schools
Relationships between home and school
Teachers and communities
Teachers and learners
Parents and schools
School Governing Bodies
Community leaders and schools
Education officials and rural schools

CHAPTER SEVEN: Democracy and development
Education and rural development in historical context
The relationship between urban and rural development Democracy, development and rural education
Why rural education?
A case for an extended notion of the right to basic education

Annexure 1: Methodology
Annexure 2: List of participants



This study, "Emerging Voices: A Report on Education in South African Rural Communities", acknowledges the voices of members of rural communities across South Africa, and ensures that policies undertaken to improve the quality of rural education are informed by the powerful insights of the people in those communities.
Nelson R. Mandela

Click on the links below to read the reviews:

Beeld 14 February 2005 #1

Beeld 14 February 2005 # 2

City Press 13 February 2005

Daily Dispatch 11 February 2005

Business Day 11 February 2005

The Witness 11 February 2005

The Witness 10 February 2005

Cape Times 10 February 2005

About the Author/s

The report results from a collaboration between the Mandela Foundation, the Human Sciences Research Council, and the Education Policy. The latter collective includes the Centre for Education Policy Development and the education policy units at the universities of Fort Hare, Witwatersrand and Kwazulu-Natal.

Related Titles

SOMAFCO, the African National Congress School in Tanzania, 1978 to 1992
Seán Morrow; Brown Maaba; Loyiso Pulumani
0-7969-2051-6 | 2004

Challenges and implications
Patience Sekete; Mmamajoro Shilubane; Badiri Moila
0-7969-1989-5 | 2001

Textbook for the South African student
WP Mostert; BE Hofmeyr; JS Oosthuizen; JA van Zyl
0-7969-1880-5 | 1998

Handboek vir Suid-Afrikaanse studente
WP Mostert; BE Hofmeyr; JS Oosthuizen
0-7969-1804-X | 1997

Moving beyond a difficult legacy
Roger Southall
0-7969-2075-3 (D&G 2) | 2003