Return to Humanism: The Future of English Studies in South Africa
The views of Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and other advocates of the "Africanization" of South African Higher Education are canvassed. The implications of these views for English Studies are then considered in the context of the humanisms of Es'kia Mphahlele, Frantz Fanon and Edward Said, particularly in the light of Said's emphasis on the importance of a literary education in the production of the "critical reader" — a key contributor to the civic well-being of the liberal democratic state. It is concluded that the multicultural composition of the South African student body, the imperatives of a qualified commitment to "internationalization", and the African cultural paradigm of "ubuntu", all indicate the desirability of a return to a revitalized humanism in the academic practice of English literary studies.
Keywords: Humanities, Humanism, South Africa, Social political and demographic change, English studies
Prof. David Gareth Napier Cornwell
Head of Department, Department of English, Rhodes University