A World of Their Own: Community, Power, and Resilience at an American School for South African Women, 1869 to Recent Times

Presented by
Seminar Date
October 29, 2008
As the first boarding school expressly for black South African women, as the only Protestant boarding high school serving black women after the Bantu Education Act of 1953, and as the alma mater of generations of teachers, health workers, political activists, and community leaders, Inanda Seminary has long been at the crux of educational visions in which African women have figured simultaneously as agents of change and forces for stability. To advance their own goals and to maintain their school, Inanda students and staff have appealed to a range of patrons—from parents to teachers, from chiefs to colonial administrators, from American philanthropists to apartheid bureaucrats—and have done so within the confines of frequently overlapping, occasionally intertwined, and sometimes mutually unintelligible discourses about the stakes and terms of women’s education. This study explores how the seemingly impossible balances Inanda women have struck have continually reshaped the bounds of the possible in their lives, and what their struggles suggest about the power and limits of schooling in projects of social transformation, social reproduction, and social control.
PDF icon Healy2008.pdf1002.26 KB