Teacher desegregation in KwaZulu-Natal : a spatial analysis.
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Given the historically repressive and racist legislation and practices of a white supremacist government, and notwithstanding the subsequent advent of a new democratic state, this thesis argues that the desegregation of teachers is unlikely to unfold in accordance with the conceived ideals and expectations of the Constitution of South Africa. It is further contended that while teacher desegregation has occurred to a limited extent, it has not contributed substantially to the realization of non-racialism. Set against the backdrop of the values framework espoused in the Constitution, this study is located in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the nine provinces that constitute South Africa. Taking into account the 'layered' nature of social reality, and using a humanistic sociological approach, which is characterised by an emphasis on the human being as the central focus, this study combines both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The first layer of the study comprises of a feasibility study which aims to ascertain the extent to which teacher desegregation has occurred in KwaZulu-Natal as well as to assess the experiences of a convenience sample of teachers who have moved to schools that were historically not designated to their race group. This layer of the study is exploratory and succeeds in providing the contour of the data and indicated the need for an extended, in-depth study. The feasibility study is followed by the second layer of study which serves the purpose of discovery and which comprises of an analysis of how teachers defIne, understand and manage desegregation. The subsequent layer is an intensifIcation of the data and interrogates the experiences of teachers who are currently employed at schools that were historically inaccessible places of employment. Driven by a strongly Lefebvrean theoretical perspective on space, the data is analysed taking into consideration the conception of space that prevails today in the country as opposed to the spatial practices and representation of space of the historical past which were determined largely by legislation such as the Group Areas Act and the Population Registration Act, both of which territorially divided the country and marked bodies in terms of race thereby contributing to the inextricable intertwining of race and space. It is suggested that while some progress has been made in respect of racial desegregation and integration, the enduring effects of history which are inscribed in space persist nonetheless. This is evident from the experiences of alienation, marginalisation, displacement, territorialism, resegregation as well as a sense of violation of space which are described by the participants. In addition, obstacles to desegregation are factors such as a fear of crime, inaccessibility of schools, racism and the challenges posed by language. Ideas for further research in respect of teacher desegregation in other provinces of the country as well as issues of teacher identity in desegregated spaces are suggested and the possible use of a spatial perspective in other studies is encouraged.