The Influence of African Literature on Black Higher Education Students in South Africa

Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Teaching and Education

Year: 2023



The Influence of African Literature on Black Higher Education Students in South Africa

Prof. Dr. Osborn Risimati Chauke



Generally, it can be argued that literature persuades, informs, entertains and educates readers. It allows the reader to step back in time and to learn about life from characterisation, positive or negative, as portrayed in the fictitious text. Guided by the Character Theory, this paper critically investigates how literature can negatively influence the behaviour of students in higher education. The study is underpinned by the qualitative research method and the exploratory design. Two fictitious texts in Xitsonga prescribed for students at a higher education institution were selected for the study. Xitsonga is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. The study finds that students tend to give their friends names of characters in fictitious texts as nicknames. The analysis further reveals that some students are influenced by these characters in literary texts to adopt unacceptable lifestyles due to assumed pressure to be relevant. Anti-social behaviour by some of the students becomes the badge of honour. They may start drinking, abuse substances and indulge in unprotected sexual activities following the footsteps of their character counterparts. Other students may start engaging in criminal activities such as gangsterism and robbery in synch with the characters in the texts. In conclusion, the paper sheds light into how African literature prescribed for higher education influences negative behaviour, thereby mirroring the doom and gloom state of affairs in the South African society, especially in the townships.

keywords: Literature, Xitsonga, African, gangsterism, characterisation