Principals, chiefs and school committees:The development of local school administration in rural lebowa, 1972 – 1990

Presented by Laura Phillips

Monday, 10 March, 2014 - 15:00

This paper examines the processes driving the making of local school administrations in the Mapulaneng District in the former Lebowa Bantustan. It considers the changing relationship between chiefs, principals and school committee members and what this meant for the development of patrimonial networks and the production of horizontal power in Mapulaneng. I make my argument in three steps: firstly I show how ethnicity became tied up in local understandings of the meanings of school in society. I then go onto to discuss what this meant for the administration and governance of education in the early Lebowa period from 1972 to 1980; and finally, conclude with an examination of how the political environment and the nature of the school bureaucracy produced new forms of governance by the 1980s. By focusing on the relationship between the administration of the school and patron-client relations, it becomes clear that the institution of the school was a fundamental site and actor of major historical processes in the late Bantustan era.

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