Session 2 (Adult Education, B2)
- Students compare their views on South African culture, politics and history.
- Students discuss the main and minor protagonists in ch. 1 and 2.
- Students learn about South Africa’s Bantustan policy, which is referred to in the novel.
Time: 15 min.
Students work in small groups and gather words, expressions and names which they associate with South Africa.
Time: 30 min.
The groups present their mindmaps and develop a first rough timeline of South African history.
Celebrities Howard Carpendale, Oscar Pistorius, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Frederik Willem de Klerk, Desmond Tutu History Bushmen (100,000 B C) Discovery by the Portuguese (15th cebtury) Dutch settlers (17th century) British colony (1795) The Boer Wars between the British and the Dutch(19th century) 1912 Founding of the African National Congress (ANC) 1948 The beginning of the apartheid policy homelands, segregation, ethnic labels (blacks, whites, coloureds) 1964 Mandela arrested 1990 Mandela released from prison 1994 Free elections; Mandela becomes State President 2013 Death of Mandela Culture Afrikaans, Swazi, Xhosa, Zulu Geography desert, savanna,coastal regions, Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg, The Cape of Good Hope Politics blood diamonds, corruption, racial inequality Tourism safari, national parks,vineyards Wildlife sharks, lions, giraffes, elephants, penguins, poaching
3 The Medical Staff in Galgut’s “The Good Doctor” (Ch. 1 and 2)
Time: 20 min.
- People wonder what had made Laurence volunteer for community service at the hospital.
- Laurence expects to find “a life of duty and meaning” (ch. 2, p. 16).
- Frank only vaguely remembers the time when it was “a consolation and comfort” (ch. 2, p. 16) to share a room with someone.
- Frank has become frustrated over the years. (ch. 2, p. 17)
b) Students briefly describe the situation at the hospital:
- Many doctors and nurses have left without being replaced.
- Tehego is the only remaining nurse.
- Jorge and Claudia Santander are colleagues who keep to themselves. There is an awkward silence at breakfast and later there is nobody at the office, though Claudia is supposed to be on duty.
- Dr Ngema is the head of the hospital; she likes to discuss protocol or procedure, though there are hardly any patients; she doesn’t have any friends; she is a most incompetent surgeon but insists on operating herself; she hates to be contradicted or criticised.
4 References to South African History in the Novel
Time: 40 min.
In pairs students look through ch. 1 and 2 again in order to find traces of South African history.
“This was not a town that had sprung up naturally for the normal human reasons […]. It was a town that had been conceived and planned on paper, by evil bureaucrats in a city far away, who had probably never even been here. Here is our homeland, they said, tracing an outline on a map […]. They made an X with red pen and all felt satisfied with themselves”. (ch. 1, p. 9)
“It's where their puppet dictator lived. They hate this place.” (ch. 1, p. 10)
“It wasn't just that Laurence Waters and I were doctors; it was that we were two white men, and we belonged in a room together.” (ch. 2, p. 12)
“An accident of history. A few years ago there was a line on a map, somewhere around where we're sitting now. On the other side was the white dream, where all the money-'” (ch. 2, p. 22)
Students then read a short info text on “Bantustans (or homelands)” (p. 241f) and try to explain how history has shaped the present.
Possible answer: The hospital is situated in a former homeland. Between 1959 and 1994 black people were forced by the white government to move to these homelands, where they were exploited as cheap labour by white farmers and miners. Since they were forbidden to leave the rural, impoverished, desolate homelands, they were unable to seek employment in the industrial cities. The black elites (like “the puppet dictator”) did little or nothing to improve the living conditions of their own people but collaborated with the apartheid system.
Although segregation has now come to an end, the homeland is still underdeveloped. The hospital therefore cannot offer adequate medical care. Most of the funding goes to another hospital, a few kilometres away and probably outside the former Bantustan borders. It is obvious that the old structures still determine people’s ways of living and thinking, which is also why it would be unacceptable for a white and a black man to share a room.
5 Multinational Development
Time: 15 min.
Students read the introduction to “’Multinational Development‘ – The View of the South African Government” and answer the following questions:
- Why was 1948 a crucial year in South African history? (The National Party came into power and started to pursue a policy of racial segregation.)
- What does apartheid mean? (Literally, it is the Afrikaans word for ’separateness‘. It stands for the racial divide in South Africa and the denial of the right to vote for the black majority.)
- What is meant by ‚multinational development‘? (It is a synonym for apartheid, coined by the National Party to avoid further international criticism.)
- What is the aim of multinational development? The National Party wants South Africa to be seen as “separate nation states”. This means that the black people are entitled to less than 14% of the territory (ten homelands) and are deprived of their South African citizenship as soon as their homelands become independent.
Homework: Read the excerpt from ‚South Africa 1978. Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa‘ and find out what ‚multinational development‘ was criticised for and how the South African government tried to justify it.
– Damon Galgut, The Good Doctor. Berlin: Cornelsen, 2015.
– South Africa – the Privileged and the Dispossessed. Ed. By Geoffrey Davis and Michael Senior. (Text for English and American Studies) Paderborn: Schöningh, 1983, p. 20-26