Knowledge as a Tool for Identity Development and Social Transformation

A Case of a Teacher’s Activist Transformative Agency in Post-Apartheid South Africa’s Schooling


  • Azwihangwisi Edward Muthivhi School of Edcation University of Cape Town



Transformative pedagogy, Critical pedagogy, Transformative agency, community practices, Ubuntu, Vygotsky, Identity development, South Africa, Post-apartheid schooling


Inspired by recent advances in research on transformative agency development, and applying relevant conceptual and analytical tools, the paper explores a teacher’s enactment of transformative pedagogy unfolding in the first decade of South Africa’s post-apartheid political transformation. The paper explores the teacher’s struggles for social transformation and self-realization, waged through classroom teaching and learning, blended with culturally situated knowledge practices. That is, the teacher creatively brings together two initially contradictory knowledge practices of schooling vis-à-vis non-school knowledge practices. In this, the teacher challenges assumptions of immanent discontinuities between formal school knowledge on the one hand, and the non-school, culturally situated knowledge traditions and community practices on the other hand. The teacher therefore purposefully connects school knowledge—meaningfully, with culturally situated knowledge practices. Consequently, the teacher enables learners to reflect on personal experiences and culturally situated practices while simultaneously subjecting concepts and ideas to reflection, from the standpoint of learners’ culturally situated knowledge—including community practices.

Author Biography

Azwihangwisi Edward Muthivhi, School of Edcation University of Cape Town

Senior Lecturer and Convenor of Primary Education


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How to Cite

Muthivhi, A. E. (2021). Knowledge as a Tool for Identity Development and Social Transformation: A Case of a Teacher’s Activist Transformative Agency in Post-Apartheid South Africa’s Schooling. Outlines. Critical Practice Studies, 22(1), 181–219.