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Title: Addressing some of the elephants in South African research education: Race and reflexivity in postgraduate study
Authors: Gachago, Daniela 
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: Conducting research in South Africa is not easy. It is a country reeling from the legacies of apartheid, characterised by continued structural inequalities. I live in Cape Town, a place where neighbourhoods are spatially segregated by race and income distribution. The inequalities are blatant: on one side of the railway line, you find “white” spaces, which are characterised by natural beauty, affluence and western standards, while on the other side, you find conditions of extreme poverty: no formal housing, little or no access to water and sanitation – the reality for the majority of the inhabitants of the city. In Cape Town, every event, be it a natural disaster such as fires on Table Mountain or a cultural event such as a literary festival in Franschhoek, is seen and discussed through a racial lens. On the surface, it seems as if the rainbow nation lives peacefully forever after, reconciled and transformed through the miracle that Nelson Mandela performed. However, once you scratch the surface, things change quickly: race bubbles to the top and shows its ugly head, as diversity consultant Freeth (2013) observes. Whatever topic you choose for your research, in South Africa you will have to engage with issues of race and, closely interrelated, class and gender: you might find it in the composition of your lab team, the use of language in meetings, the way your colleagues engage with you and each other, or in snide comments that are made. You may find it in the opportunities you have or do not have access to, information that is or is not passed on to you, networks that you are or are not allowed into. Trying to engage your colleagues, supervisors, friends and research participants in these issues is like walking in a minefield.
ISBN: 978-1-928357-23-0
Appears in Collections:Edu - Books / Book Chapters

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