Original Research - Special Collection: Interrogating Coloniality in South African Primary Schools

Towards decolonisation of primary school education in South Africa

Emmanuel S. Akinmolayan, Claudine A. Hingston, Udoh J. Akpan, Omolola A. Arise
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1440 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1440 | © 2024 Emmanuel S. Akinmolayan, Claudine A. Hingston, Udoh J. Akpan, Omolola A. Arise | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 October 2023 | Published: 05 June 2024

About the author(s)

Emmanuel S. Akinmolayan, School of Education, Mancosa, Durban, South Africa
Claudine A. Hingston, Academic, Mancosa, Durban, South Africa
Udoh J. Akpan, Department of Criminology and Forensic Study, School of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Omolola A. Arise, Academic, Mancosa, Durban, South Africa


Background: Despite the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994, most black schools in the country still embrace coloniality through policies and practices. This leads to disempowerment, loss of identity, inequalities and inferiority in the learners, which are nurtured till their adulthood. It is therefore important to decolonise the inherited curriculum and recognise African identity, culture and system as valuable for Africans.

Aim: This article aims to explore coloniality within the primary school education system in South Africa and aims to motivate curriculum transformation that will divest coloniality in Africa.

Setting: This article centres around South African Primary schools.

Methods: This article employs a desktop approach and a systematic literature review. To collect the data, the study selected articles from different search engines such as EBSCO, Science Direct and Google Scholar. This enables the synthetisation of previous works to provide knowledge on the topic. The decoloniality theory underpins the study.

Results: Primary school education in South Africa is influenced by coloniality; hence, there is a need for transformation.

Conclusion: The primary school curriculum in South Africa needs to be revised in a decolonised manner to suit a multi-racial or ethnic South Africa for the realisation of an equitable and just future for Africans.

Contribution: This article provides knowledge about coloniality within the context of primary schools in South Africa and further recommends curriculum transformation to a truly African manner. It thus aligns with the journal’s theme and scope, which is the interrogation of coloniality in South African primary schools.


coloniality; decolonise; primary school; education; South Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


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