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The College of Wooster

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

South Africa: Social and Political Transformation


During the School for International Trainings visit to Amatigulu High School, a rural, historically Black secondary school, I was presented with a social phenomenon that I was not accustomed to. In the classrooms and outside of them I was observing negative behaviors towards academically driven students that were targeted to discourage them from succeeding. I wanted to better understand these behaviors and the attitudes behind them.

The purpose of this study, therefore, is to explore the social attitudes and behaviors of learners at Amatigulu High School toward other learner’s academic success and how that impacts the learners personally and, also, the schools broader “culture of learning” in the context of historically Black secondary schools in South Africa. I argue that negative behaviors and attitudes toward academic success both exist and have negative repercussion on the learners at Amatigulu High School. Through qualitative research I identify some of the repercussions that these attitudes and behaviors, both negative and positive, have on the learners, the teachers, the school as a whole, and the community.

My research led me to the conclusion that the behaviors and attitudes towards peer success that I experienced during my first visit to Amatigulu High School not only exist but also are also recognized and acknowledged by both the learners and the educators. This social phenomenon that has emerged due to external and internal factors has had an impact on the learners and the educators and the effectiveness and efficiency of the Amatigulu itself.


Education | Educational Sociology | Rural Sociology


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