How is it that young Afrikaners, born at the time of Mandela’s release from prison, hold firm views about a past they never lived, rigid ideas about black people and fatalistic thoughts about the future? This book describes how white South African students remember and enact an apartheid past of which they were never part. Jonathan Jansen, the first black Dean of Education at the historically white University of Pretoria (and now the first black Vice Chancellor at University of the Free State), was dogged by this question during his tenure at Tukkies, and Knowledge in the Blood seeks to answer it.
Jansen offers an intimate look at the effects of social and political change after apartheid, as white students first experienced learning and living alongside black students. He reveals the novel role pedagogical interventions played in confronting the past, as well as critical theory’s limits in dealing with conflict in a world where formerly clear-cut notions of victims and perpetrators are blurred.