A transformative exploration of epistemic individual(istic) identity formation within a synergistic decolonial student support system

  • Patricia BN Maseko, Dr University of the Free State, South Africa
Keywords: African child, Ubuntu, Individualistic, Synergistic, Transformative, Ubuntu decolonial, Communal spaces, Pre-service teacher, Praxis, Identity formation


The possibility of individual (istic) identity formation is explored within a context of a synergistic and communal support system. Within this context, the intrinsic complexities of the African child who enters the academia with a multiplicity of epistemic identity contestations are simultaneously explored. The ensuing alienation resulting from the cultural displacement from the known and familiar to the unknown and unfamiliar is brought into view as a factor for further interrogation. Attention is thus drawn to the implications for identity formation in this cultural and epistemic displacement. In this discussion the Ubuntu philosophical orientation is presented as part of a transformative pathway of transition into the multiple contextual nuances of identity formation. This is coupled with participatory praxis within the paradigm of community-based action for transformation. The empirical data of this discussion accrues from a study in which the existential realities and complexities of being a Black African in a previously white institution of higher learning were brought into view. This study paid specific attention to the convergence of language and identity in relation to a contextualized understanding of the performance (as it was conceived of in this study) of this cohort. The findings of this study pointed towards the need for a synergistic student support system that would provide individualized or individualistic and customized support. I argue here that the African child is often kept in a cyclical position of pathologizing, insubordination and multi-layered subjugation, within a system that does not adequately provide support for this positionality. This paper thus interrogates the possibility and potential of the collective in harnessing the benefit to be derived from communal interaction and engagement in the direction of interpersonal and intrapersonal transformation. In this regard I present the tenets of the Ubuntu way of life within a decolonial synergistic support system that takes into consideration the value of communal interactions but not at the expense of individual transformation.


Download data is not yet available.
How to Cite
Maseko, P. (2019). A transformative exploration of epistemic individual(istic) identity formation within a synergistic decolonial student support system. Perspectives in Education, 36(2), 15-27. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.18820/2519593X/pie.v36i2.3