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Outobiografiese tekste in die klaskamer : Het achterhuis : dagboekbrieven van Anne Frank, 2005.

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This study examines the value and relevance of autobiographical texts in the classroom. For the purpose of this study the focus is on Het Achterhuis: dagboekbrieven van Anne Frank. It is a critical study to establish whether autobiographical texts such as Het Achterhuis should have a rightful place in the learning environment alongside novels and other texts in the Afrikaans classroom and to determine how learners can benefit when they are exposed to a variety of texts to develop their minds through analytical thinking and creative writing. Chapter one presents a theoretical perspective on autobiographical texts such as the autobiography, the letter, memoires and the diary. Through autobiographical texts readers gain knowledge about peoples’ lives, experiences, weaknesses and strengths. Human interest arouses curiosity and encourages reading and research. Chapter two offers a literary analysis of Het Achterhuis. The textual analysis focuses on the background of Anne Frank during her period of hiding from persecution in the holocaust as well as on the interpersonal relationships and difficult circumstances the eight people in hiding had to share. With the coming to power of Hitler in 1933 and the subsequent persecution of the Jews, their rights were restricted step by step and the Jewish community was gradually isolated. Deportation started and thousands of Jews went into hiding. In July 1942 Otto Frank, his wife and two daughters together with four other Jews moved into a secret annexe behind Otto Frank’s business premises. The experiences of the above-mentioned eight people in hiding have been described by Anne Frank in a diary which she selected when her and her father Otto went shopping together. She received the diary which was one of her most precious gifts on her thirteenth birthday, shortly before going into hiding. The diary entries of Anne Frank convey a key message of tolerance and perseverance. Chapter three of this study focuses on the physical, emotional and social development of the adolescent. Anne Frank’s diary was written when she was in the age group 13 – 15. High school learners can identify with Anne Frank as a teenager like themselves who also experienced the typical insecurities, resentments and rebelliousness of the adolescent. In addition to the historical value of Anne Frank’s diary as a testimony of the holocaust, she is a role model for the teenager of today. The example of how Anne dealt with her problems helps learners to overcome obstacles and to deal with the realities in life. Finally, chapter four investigates the numerous possibilities of using Het Achterhuis as a text in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. This chapter is based on actual findings that were made after using Het Achterhuis as a prescribed text in a grade 11 classroom in 2006. An important finding is that learners can benefit by being exposed to a variety of texts about life writing to develop their minds by analytical and critical thinking, creative writing and integration with other school subjects. Through autobiographical texts diverse perspectives can be introduced to enable learners to develop a more balanced view of the world. The code of the diary offers the best opportunity to give expression to one’s own life. Narratives are necessary to form your own identity. Through diary inscriptions you make contact with the inner self and a sense of identity is achieved.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2009.


Autobiography--Study and teaching., Biography as a literary form--Study and teaching., Theses--Afrikaans en Nederlands.