In Search of an Identity: Language, Culture and the Birth of “New” University

Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela, Kaluke F. N. Mawila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is based on an exploratory case study of an institution that is currently undergoing merger under the directive of the Minister of Education in South Africa. The findings reported here illuminate perspectives of senior administrators at the University of the Homeland, an historically Black university (or historically disadvantaged university), regarding its merger with the historically white (or advantaged) Settlers University. In this article we convey the administrators’ insights about the effects of the merger on their students, staff, administrative structures, academic programs and institutional culture, and the complex dynamics of a mandated process between two institutions with disparate legacies. Given the incongruent histories of the two merging institutions, what are the challenges that confront merging institutions around issues of language, culture and identity? What is the vision of these senior administrators and the role(s) they envisage for their constituents within the new (merged) university?
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-43
JournalWorld Studies in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • South Africa
  • higher education
  • institutional culture
  • language
  • social identity


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