Original Research

The development of critical and cultural literacies in a study of Mariama Ba's So Long a Letter in the South African literature classroom

R.H. Latha
Literator | Vol 23, No 3 | a349 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v23i3.349 | © 2002 R.H. Latha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2002 | Published: 06 August 2002

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Abstract

The Languages, Literacy and Communication learning area of Curriculum 2005 endorses “intercultural understanding, access to different world views and a critical understanding of the concept of culture” (National Department of Education, 2001:44). Although this curriculum is learner-centred and tries to create a better balance in the previously asymmetrical relationship between teacher and student, it does place great demands on the educator to avoid reinforcing cultural and multipolitical ideals which are not concomitant with the principles of a multicultural democracy. Since learners are expected to respond to the aesthetic, affective, cultural and social values in texts, the educator has to act responsibly in choosing texts which promote the values inherent in Curriculum 2005. Implicit in the curriculum statement is a commitment to critical pedagogy in the literature classroom with the general aim of promoting societal transformation. As the cultural assumptions underlying particular texts are often not known or shared by all learners, it is important for the educator to facilitate an examination of these assumptions in order to promote cultural understanding and values such as religious tolerance. This article will therefore investigate the development of cultural and critical literacies in the South African literature classroom with particular focus on So Long a Letter by the postcolonial African Muslim woman writer, Mariama Ba.

Keywords

African Muslim Women; Critical And Cultural Literacies; Curriculum 2005; Mariama Ba; So Long A Letter; Representation Of Postcolonialism

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