Patriotism and democratic citizenship education in south Africa: On the (im) possibility of reconciliation and nation building

Educational Philosophy and Theory 41 (4):399-409 (2009)
In this article, I shall evaluate critically the democratic citizenship education project in South Africa to ascertain whether the patriotic sentiments expressed in the Manifesto on Values, Education and Democracy (2001) are in conflict with the achievement of reconciliation and nation building (specifically peace and friendship) after decades of apartheid rule. My first argument is that, although it seems as if the teaching of patriotism through the Department of Education's democratic citizenship agenda in South African schools is a laudable initiative that can contribute toward establishing a definitive break with our apartheid past, the expression of blind patriotic sentiments (such as pledging allegiance to one's country and its citizens only) as articulated in the Manifesto can potentially marginalise others (immigrant communities) as the country endeavours to build its fledgling democracy. My second argument is that the intended democratic form of patriotism of the Department of Education can possibly be undermined by cultivating a culture of 'safe expression', which could slow down the country's quest for reconciliation and nation building.
Keywords citizenship  democracy  patriotism  reconciliation and nation building in South Africa
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DOI 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2008.00436.x
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Amy Gutmann (2004). Identity in Democracy. Princeton University Press.

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