‘This is our school…’:Identity, cultural hybridity and the development of an education system among the BaSotho in the Dewure Purchase Areas, Gutu 1932-1960
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The development of an Education System among the BaSotho people in Gutu largely revolved around Bethel School, which they established in 1937. In no time at all the school had grown to represent the development of education among the people in the Dewure Purchase Areas, in general, and that of the BaSotho people, in particular. This article seeks to demonstrate that in many ways Bethel School represented the triumphs, failures and challenges faced by the BaSotho in Gutu in the field of education. It also asserts that the way the BaSotho people ran Bethel School reveals some contradictions in the colonial administration’s perceptions of the BaSotho people. Whilst in the early years of the BaSotho people’s settlement in Gutu the colonial administrators viewed them as ‘more advanced natives’ their constant bickering and failures to properly run their school led to the colonial administrators changing their perceptions about the BaSotho. The article is also an attempt to evaluate the success of an attempt at an education system primarily aimed at catering for the needs of the BaSotho people in an area dominated by the Shona people. It endeavours to use the concept of ‘cultural hybridity’ in analysing the development of an education system among the BaSotho in Gutu. The paper grapples with the image of Bethel School more than a school for BaSotho children but as an important part of BaSotho Identity in the Dewure Purchase Areas.