The silence of black female voices in the course of learning english literature in South African secondary schools

Keywords: literature, gender, black feminism, intersectionality, English first additional language


This article explores patriarchal supremacist content in English secondary school Literature in postcolonial South Africa. In the course of colonization and Bantu Education, South African women, particularly Blacks were excluded in matters of education. They did not only endure racial, sexist, cultural, and other gendered-based atrocities in their societies and homes, they also suffered politically, economically, and intellectually. That made them more apprehensive than white women. For millennia black women, in particular, were treated as nurturers, caregivers and homemakers who were regarded as weak and dependent. Much of what secondary school literature, read in English classes, is written by males and follows a male protagonist. If women texts are involved, women are [were] portrayed differently from males, viewed as less capable or less significant. Although SA democratic constitution (Chapter 2) prescribed that everyone has a right to expression, in which everyone shares human rights, such as equality and freedom; black South African women still experience inequalities and lack of resourcefulness in the academic literary world. While women are the broad targets of myriad inadequacies and appalling atrocities in SA and have tried to raise their plights scholastically through literary writings and movements, they are deprived of chances to share these experiences in the literature that is scholastically acknowledged in secondary school Literature. As a result, this study examined the gender representation in English texts, read in SA secondary school Literature, regarding women representation in English first additional language (EFAL) Literature set-works in post-apartheid South Africa from 2009-2019 using a quantitative approach. Black Feminism Theory, which advocates equal representation of sexes, undergirds this study.


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Author Biographies

Maletšema Ruth Emsley, University of Limpopo

Department of Languages

School of Languages and Communication Studies

Malesela Edward Montle, University of Limpopo

Department of Languages

School of Languages and Communication Studies


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How to Cite
Emsley, M. R., & Montle, M. E. (2022). The silence of black female voices in the course of learning english literature in South African secondary schools. EUREKA: Social and Humanities, (6), 30-38.