Critical agency in the post-apartheid education system

  • Nazir Carrim UKZN


This paper looks at critical agency in the South African education system. There has been a
consistent linking of critical thinking with critical agency under apartheid, and that this was
constructed by a ‘critical struggle’ (Touraine, 1985) against apartheid domination.
However, this changed significantly in the post-apartheid moment, where compliance with
the newly elected government is emphasised, and could be viewed in terms of ‘positive
struggles’ (Touraine, 1986). These, however, limit critical agency in the post-apartheid
formation. There is, nonetheless, evidence of critical agency being enacted in the
post-apartheid education system. The importance of highlighting those forms of critical
agency is crucial in order to enhance social justice in the post-apartheid educational system
and society. This paper also links critical agency in the post-apartheid situation with the
postcolonial and postmodern conditions because such conditions affect the possibilities of
critical agency not only in South Africa but more generally.