Dreaming Up a New Grid: Two Lecturers’ Reflections on Challenging Traditional Notions of Identity and Privilege in a South African Classroom

Asanda Ngoasheng, Daniela Gachago


One of the biggest debates in South Africa is the use and usefulness of apartheid categories when analysing society and societal behaviour. This paper examines the process of learning and unlearning that took place when a political reporting lecturer and an academic staff developer sought to explain racially biased voting in South Africa and its historical origins to students. The autoethnographic method of reflecting on teaching practice is used to explore the tensions and dilemmas that arose when introducing a specific pedagogic intervention—the Privilege Walk—to help students understand privilege as systemic, intersectional and historically rooted. We also discuss our own further development of the walk to allow students to create a new grid based on alternative values and that would affirm difference. Framed by Fraser’s participatory parity, critical pedagogy and Massumi’s affect theory, we trace our journey in engaging and disrupting identity politics by developing a decolonising pedagogical approach that emphasises post-apartheid identity as fluid and becoming and capitalises on affective and embodied learning in South African classrooms.


critical pedagogy; race relations; privilege; intersectionality; socially just pedagogy; participatory parity; identity; identity politics; decolonisation; journalism studies; South Africa

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