Transformation’s Tempest: Miranda as a student of higher education in South Africa

  • Ayanda Khala-Phiri


In this auto-ethnographic narrative, the author reflects on her experience of FeesMustFall protest action and questions Shakespeare’s relevance in decolonisation in the context of higher education in South Africa. As a means of exploring the notion of decolonised education as well as the effects of an ailing transformation agenda on the black higher education student, Shakespeare’s The Tempest is used as a metaphoric site. Shakespeare’s Miranda is reimagined as the ‘school kaffir’ – a black, female performance studies student who is perceived as lacking the academic skills required to navigate the island academy. The context is the ensuing storm of curriculum responsiveness to changing knowledge economies. This study attempts to demonstrate how alienation and social inequality begin to intersect in the classroom space of performance studies. It proposes the role performance studies could play in contesting institutional violence by providing an interpretation of tensions in experiences of belonging and not belonging in a South African higher education institution.


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eISSN: 1011-582X