The principal in the eye of the political storm : perceptions of school violence in the rural areas of Kwazulu with specific reference to Ndwedwe.
Though the political unrest in African schools has been broadly viewed as arising from the power struggle between the state and the liberation forces, in rural areas the question of violence should also be looked into in the context of the emergence of conflicting views between Inkatha and the African National Congress (ANC). Political contradictions have emerged for various reasons. One of the reasons has been the desire to preserve the traditional political system, the tribal authority system. The liberation forces view the present forms of traditional political structures as parts of apartheid political organs, in that, since the introduction of the Bantu Authority system in the early 1950s and later on the formation of homeland governments in the early 1970s, they have been performing the functions assigned to them by the state. However, despite the reality that traditional political structures are functional to the state, they, at the same time, remain the authentic and legitimate political organs representing the aspirations of a significant fraction of rural communities. What needs to be taken seriously into consideration in analysing the rural political situation is the fact that the apartheid policy was ingeniously designed and predicated upon a tradition which was still held in esteem when it was subordinated by the colonising nations. This tradition was then enshrined in the apartheid programme, or, put differently, apartheid was camouflaged by it. Therefore it is a simplistic view to over emphasise the functional role of the traditional political system. The desire to preserve the present form of political system could be attributed either to the success of the policy of separate development or the fear for the annihilation of traditional structures in the new political dispensation or both. This study looks at the political dynamics and how it has precipitated violent confrontation among the oppressed people. It focuses on how schools in rural areas of KwaZulu have been affected. Principals were asked to express their views on their perceptions of violence. The conclusion drawn from respondents is that pupils are defiant because parents and teachers have been unable to fight for the rights of their children. For example they have been unable to provide them with adequate education. The author ends by recommending that parents and teachers should take up their rightful places in society. That is they should take upon themselves the responsibility of providing adequate education for the children.