CuEEd-LL in South Africa

Ylva Lindberg, Professor of Education at HLK, and the national graduate school Culturally Empowering Education (CuEEd-LL) travelled to South Africa in April to both share and receive new perspectives in collaboration with South African researchers.

During a week of lectures, seminars and networking on educational issues, language policy and literature, PhD students and supervisors visited the University of Western Cape - UWC, the University of Cape Town - UCT and Nelson Mandela University - NMU. Several study visits were also made to local primary schools in the townships. The research school made contact with students and teachers there and was able to discuss teaching and challenges in the South African education system compared to the Swedish one.

PhD students and supervisors also participated in the Dusklands 50 international symposium in Cape Town, which focussed on the debut novel Dusklands by South African author and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee. Fifty years ago, Coetzee made a high-profile entry onto the literary scene by provoking and stirring political debate. The story weaves together controversial topics, such as contemporary American politics, the Vietnam War and the violent expansion of Dutch settlements in the 18th century around Cape Town. Published when apartheid laws were in full force, the novel has had a major impact on post-colonial literature worldwide.

The graduate school's interdisciplinary anchoring in Southern Multilingualism and Diversities, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, and Decoloniality, mirrored the days in South Africa and the CuEEd-LL doctoral students were able to build their own networks in language, education and literacies for their future careers. As a teacher in Sweden today, being equipped in culturally responsive teaching strategies so that students are empowered to understand complex and varied cultural contexts and to be able to participate in them with confidence, is necessary to build a socially sustainable society. This journey has certainly contributed to that.