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The rhetoric of transformation in South African higher education: realities, myths and contestations

Teboho Josiah Lebakeng


This article argues that the establishment of higher education in South Africa was part of the grand colonial project. However, with the inauguration of a democratic dispensation such incongruent institutions had to undergo re-orientation in order to suit and be relevant to the imperatives of a new society. In light of this, the paper looks at the contestations around the critical issue of transformation of higher education by comparing four major theories in terms of their rhetorical pronouncements and representations. Having identified a more suitable theory in terms of its explanatory power, the paper concludes that it is no longer justifiably acceptable for the Western epistemological paradigm and institutional cultures to retain primacy and dominance in the new South Africa.

AJOL African Journals Online