The 80's kids and how they experienced formerly whites-only schools

Ruth First fellow for 2016 and producer at Talk Radio 702, Nolwazi Tusini, did her research on the generation of children born in the 1980s who were the ‘first’ to enter formerly white-only schools and to occupy formerly white-only spaces.

She presented her research titled 'The 80s kids: A story of collaboration as disruption' at Wits university last week. Tusini shared her experience of doing this research and some of her findings with CapeTalk/702 presenter Eusebius Mckaiser.

My research question was asking some of the first black people to experience white spaces particularly historically white schools, what was that experience like? I particularly focused on the 80's cohorts as opposed to 70's cohorts...

Nolwazi Tusini, Researcher

Because of the timing of desegregation of schooling the 80's cohorts were among the first to do it from Grade 1 and I thought that was important

Nolwazi Tusini, Researcher

Tusini's research sparked an interesting conversation with some who resonated with issues raised, and who also shared their personal experiences of racism at school in the 1980's.

I did not know what it meant to be black until I left school and went into the space of work. That's when I realised that I wasn't treated the way people I went to school with were treated. That's when you begin to understand what the word structural racism means...

Vusi, Caller

I remember when i was 5 years old we went for swimming lessons. All the black kids were put in a shallow pool and weren't really taught anything and all the white kids were really being taught how to swim ....

Lusanda, Caller

Listen to the full conversation below:

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