Advancing border thinking through defamiliarisation in uncovering the darker side of coloniality and modernity in South African higher education

Z. Waghid, L. Hibbert


This article reports on a case study in which illustrations were used as prompts as a way of disrupting automatic colonised thoughts. The aim of this was to awaken deep rather than surface responses in pre-service teachers, and to introduce reflexivity as a means of introducing border thinking, which we saw as having the potential to impact positively on identity formation. Identity formation is of crucial importance for pre-service teacher education given that the system has not transformed significantly to accommodate diversification and inclusivity as a social and human rights issue. The article draws on theories designed to counteract the coloniality/modernity imaginary; it introduces border-thinking through defamiliarisation with the aim of enhancing senses of agency among pre-service teachers. Students were encouraged to draw themselves in relation to the global world. Following on from this, students participated in blogs in which they discussed their own drawings while also commenting on the drawings of others. The analysis is partially content–focussed and partially discourse-focussed. The findings reveal that the intervention prompted students to review their identities reflexively in relation to globalisation. The results show, firstly, that the intervention had positive results in terms of enhancing students’ senses of agency, and, secondly, they demonstrate, or suggest, possible ways in which the defamiliarisation process can lead to border thinking, thereby addressing coloniality.


border thinking, coloniality, defamiliarisation, pre-service teacher education, reflexivity, South Africa

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