Teaching the Past in All Its ‘Messiness’: Slavery in the Grade 7 Curriculum

  • Cynthia Kros
  • South African Historical Journal, December 2016, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/02582473.2016.1259348

What is it about?

The article argues that the current History curriculum in South Africa has many worthy aims and much potential for enabling learners, both to master the skills that are important in the study of history, and to developing moral autonomy. It takes the Grade 7 curriculum on Cape slavery as an example of how extending what the curriculum already offers could help achieve some of the stated aims.

Why is it important?

There is a very significant call for 'decolonising' the curriculum in South Africa currently. I was writing the article as what I hoped would be a contribution to a debate about what it means to deepen the history curriculum, and to make it more meaningful to learners in contemporary South Africa, which it seems to me is riven with great and very painful divisions.


Dr Cynthia C Kros

This was a very difficult article to write. I wanted to make the ideas that I proposed seem practicable, while at the same time arguing against indoctrination or allowing learners to get away with the kinds of expressions of moral indignation, which are transient and not helpful in thinking about how to address some of the major social issues at stake in contemporary South Africa. I was very grateful to the support of colleagues in the 'Repairing the Legacies of Harm' project at Wits university, to the journal referees and to editor Arianna Lissoni for their critiques and support.

Read Publication


The following have contributed to this page: Dr Cynthia C Kros

join the fight against climate change

Our simple summaries of climate research help you take action

Read now