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What kind of questions do African people ask about the effects of information and communication technology in their everyday lives? Olinger, Johannes Britz and M. They write:. The South African government will attempt to draft a Data Privacy Bill and strike an appropriate balance within the context of African values and an African worldview. The task of such an analysis would be to recognize the uniqueness of African perspectives as well as commonalities with other cultures and their theoretical expressions.

This analysis could lead to an interpretation of ICT within an African horizon and correspondingly to possible vistas for information policy makers, responsible community leaders and, of course, for African institutions. Both Britz and Peter John Lor, former Chief executive of the National Library of South Africa, think that the present north-south flow of information should be complemented by a south-north flow in order to enhance mutual understanding.

Although Africa is still far from a true knowledge society, there is hope of success on certain fronts, such as investment in human capital, stemming the flight of intellectual expertise, and the effective development and maintenance of IT infrastructure Britz et al. This should include leadership, followers, agree-upon principles and values as well as effective interaction among all these elements. A value-based reorientation implies personal awareness, an understanding of information, effective interactions between leaders and their communities without limitations of time and space, and mutual confidence in representative leadership.

There is no such thing as a morally neutral technology. This is not to say just that technologies can be used and misused, but to express the deeper insight that all technologies create new ways of being. They influence our relation with one another, they shape, in a more or less radical way, our institutions, our economies, and our moral values.

This is why we should focus on information technology primarily from an ethical perspective. It is up to the African people and their leaders to question how to transform their lives by these technologies. African educational and research institutions should also reflect critically on these issues. The space of knowledge as a space of freedom is not, as Jollife rightly remarks, an abstract ideal.

It has a history that limits its possibilities. It is a space of rules and traditions of specific societies, in dialogue with their foundational myths and utopian aspirations. We are morally responsible not only for our deeds but for our dreams. Information ethics offers an open space to retrieve and debate these information and communication myths and utopias. The main moral responsibility of African academics is to enrich African identities by retrieving and re-creating African information and communication traditions.

Cultural memory must be re-shaped again and again to build the core of a humane society. This means no more and no less than basing morality on memory and communication, thereby establishing information ethics at its core. It is related to our myths and to our dreams. But not for your dreams! The Egyptian god Thot is a symbol of cultural memory as a social task. He is the god of wisdom and writing as well as messenger of the gods, particularly of the sun god Re, and is associated with the goddess Maat, the personification of justice.

I think that retrieving the African cultural memory with regard to information and communication norms and traditions is the main information challenge for African information ethics. It should recognize the different strategies of social inclusion and exclusion in the history of African societies, including traumatic experiences such as slavery and apartheid. Since the emergence of the Internet, this challenge is discussed under the heading of the digital divide. But African information ethics implies much more than just the access and use of this medium. The problem is not a technical one, but one of social exclusion, manipulation, exploitation and annihilation of human beings.

It is vital that thought about African information ethics be conducted from this broader perspective. As readers will discover, this book has a long history. I began writing it clandestinely in during my imprisonment on Robben Island. Without the tireless labor of my old comrades Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada for reviving my memories, it is doubtful the manuscript would have been completed.

The copy of the manuscript which I kept with me was discovered by the authorities and confiscated. However, in addition to their unique calligraphic skills, my co-prisoners Mac Maharaj and Isu Chiba had ensured that the original manuscript safely reached its destination. I resumed work on it after my release from prison in Since my release, my schedule has been crowded with numerous duties and responsibilities, which have left me little free time for writing.

Fortunately, I have had the assistance of dedicated colleagues, friends, and professionals who have helped me complete my work at last, and to whom I would like to express my appreciation. I am deeply grateful to Richard Stengel who collaborated with me in the creation of this book, providing invaluable assistance in editing and revising the first parts and in the writing of the latter parts. I recall with fondness our early morning walks in the Transkei and the many hours of interviews at Shell House in Johannesburg and my home in Houghton.

A special tribute is owed to Mary Pfaff who assisted Richard in his work. I want to thank especially my comrade Ahmed Kathrada for the long hours spent revising, correcting, and giving accuracy to the story. Many thanks to my ANC office staff, who patiently dealt with the logistics of the making of this book, but in particular to Barbara Masekela for her efficient coordination. Likewise, Iqbal Meer has devoted many hours to watching over the business aspects of the book. I am grateful to my editor, William Phillips of Little, Brown, who has guided this project from early on, and edited the text, and to his colleagues Jordan Pavlin, Steve Schneider, Mike Mattil, and Donna Peterson.

I would also like to thank Professor Gail Gerhart for her factual review of the manuscript. The only rivalry between different clans or tribes in our small world at Qunu was that between the Xhosas and the amaMfengu, a small number of whom lived in our village. AmaMfengu, who were not originally Xhosa-speakers, were refugees from the iMfecane and were forced to do jobs that no other African would do. They worked on white farms and in white businesses, something that was looked down upon by the more established Xhosa tribes.

When I was a boy, amaMfengu were the most advanced section of the community and furnished our clergymen, policemen, teachers, clerks, and interpreters. They were also amongst the first to become Christians, to build better houses, and to use scientific methods of agriculture, and they were wealthier than their Xhosa compatriots. There still existed some hostility toward amaMfengu, but in retrospect, I would attribute this more to jealousy than tribal animosity. This local form of tribalism that I observed as a boy was relatively harmless.

At that stage, I did not witness nor even suspect the violent tribal rivalries that would subsequently be promoted by the white rulers of South Africa. My father did not subscribe to local prejudice toward amaMfengu and befriended two amaMfengu brothers, George and Ben Mbekela. The brothers were an exception in Qunu: they were educated and Christian. George, the older of the two, was a retired teacher and Ben was a police sergeant. Despite the proselytizing of the Mbekela brothers, my father remained aloof from Christianity and instead reserved his own faith for the great spirit of the Xhosas, Qamata, the God of his fathers.

My father was an unofficial priest and presided over ritual slaughtering of goats and calves and officiated at local traditional rites concerning planting, harvest, birth, marriage, initiation ceremonies, and funerals. He did not need to be ordained, for the traditional religion of the Xhosas is characterized by a cosmic wholeness, so that there is little distinction between the sacred and the secular, between the natural and the supernatural. While the faith of the Mbekela brothers did not rub off on my father, it did inspire my mother, who became a Christian.

In fact, Fanny was literally her Christian name, for she had been given it in church. It was due to the influence of the Mbekela brothers that I myself was baptized into the Methodist, or Wesleyan Church as it was then known, and sent to school. The brothers would often see me playing or minding sheep and come over to talk to me. One day, George Mbekela paid a visit to my mother. But she did relay it to my father, who despite — or perhaps because of — his own lack of education immediately decided that his youngest son should go to school.

The schoolhouse consisted of a single room, with a Western-style roof, on the other side of the hill from Qunu. I was seven years old, and on the day before I was to begin, my father took me aside and told me that I must be dressed properly for school. Until that time, I, like all the other boys in Qunu, had worn only a blanket, which was wrapped around one shoulder and pinned at the waist. My father took a pair of his trousers and cut them at the knee. He told me to put them on, which I did, and they were roughly the correct length, although the waist was far too large.

My father then took a piece of string and cinched the trousers at the waist. On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name and said that from thenceforth that was the name we would answer to in school. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education.

The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture. Africans of my generation — and even today — generally have both an English and an African name.

Whites were either unable or unwilling to pronounce an African name, and considered it uncivilized to have one. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why she bestowed this particular name upon me I have no idea. Perhaps it had something to do with the great British sea captain Lord Nelson, but that would be only a guess. My later notions of leadership were profoundly influenced by observing the regent and his court.

I watched and learned from the tribal meetings that were regularly held at the Great Place. These were not scheduled, but were called as needed, and were held to discuss national matters such as a drought, the culling of cattle, policies ordered by the magistrate, or new laws decreed by the government. All Thembus were free to come — and a great many did, on horseback or by foot.

They were wise men who retained the knowledge of tribal history and custom in their heads and whose opinions carried great weight. Letters advising these chiefs and headmen of a meeting were dispatched from the regent, and soon the Great Place became alive with important visitors and travelers from all over Thembuland.

From that point on, he would not utter another word until the meeting was nearing its end. Everyone who wanted to speak did so. It was democracy in its purest form. There may have been a hierarchy of importance among the speakers, but everyone was heard, chief and subject, warrior and medicine man, shopkeeper and farmer, landowner and laborer. People spoke without interruption and the meetings lasted for many hours. The foundation of self-government was that all men were free to voice their opinions and equal in their value as citizens. Women, I am afraid, were deemed second-class citizens.

A great banquet was served during the day, and I often gave myself a bellyache by eating too much while listening to speaker after speaker. I noticed how some speakers rambled and never seemed to get to the point. I grasped how others came to the matter at hand directly, and who made a set of arguments succinctly and cogently. I observed how some speakers used emotion and dramatic language, and tried to move the audience with such techniques, while other speakers were sober and even, and shunned emotion.

At first, I was astonished by the vehemence — and candor — with which people criticized the regent. He was not above criticism — in fact, he was often the principal target of it. But no matter how flagrant the charge, the regent simply listened, not defending himself, showing no emotion at all. The meetings would continue until some kind of consensus was reached. They ended in unanimity or not at all. Unanimity, however, might be an agreement to disagree, to wait for a more propitious time to propose a solution. Democracy meant all men were to be heard, and a decision was taken together as a people.

Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority. Only at the end of the meeting, as the sun was setting, would the regent speak. His purpose was to sum up what had been said and form some consensus among the diverse opinions. But no conclusion was forced on people who disagreed. If no agreement could be reached, another meeting would be held. At the very end of the council, a praise-singer or poet would deliver a panegyric to the ancient kings, and a mixture of compliments to and satire on the present chiefs, and the audience, led by the regent, would roar with laughter.

As a leader, I have always followed the principles I first saw demonstrated by the regent at the Great Place. I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.

It was at Mqhekezweni that I developed my interest in African history. I learned of these men from the chiefs and headmen who came to the Great Place to settle disputes and try cases. Though not lawyers, these men presented cases and then adjudicated them. Some days, they would finish early and sit around telling stories. I hovered silently and listened. Their speech was formal and lofty, their manner slow and unhurried, and the traditional clicks of our language were long and dramatic. At first, they shooed me away and told me I was too young to listen.

Later they would beckon me to fetch fire or water for them, or to tell the women they wanted tea, and in those early months I was too busy running errands to follow their conversation. But, eventually, they permitted me to stay, and I discovered the great African patriots who fought against Western domination. My imagination was fired by the glory of these African warriors. The most ancient of the chiefs who regaled the gathered elders with ancient tales was Zwelibhangile Joyi, a son from the Great House of King Ngubengcuka.

Chief Joyi was so old that his wrinkled skin hung on him like a loose-fitting coat. His stories unfolded slowly and were often punctuated by a great wheezing cough, which would force him to stop for minutes at a time. Chief Joyi was the great authority on the history of the Thembus in large part because he had lived through so much of it. But as grizzled as Chief Joyi often seemed, the decades fell off him when he spoke of the young impis, or warriors, in the army of King Ngangelizwe fighting the British.

In pantomime, Chief Joyi would fling his spear and creep along the veld as he narrated the victories and defeats. When he first spoke of non-Xhosa warriors, I wondered why. I was like a boy who worships a local soccer hero and is not interested in a national soccer star with whom he has no connection. Only later was I moved by the broad sweep of African history, and the deeds of all African heroes regardless of tribe.

Chief Joyi railed against the white man, who he believed had deliberately sundered the Xhosa tribe, dividing brother from brother. The white man had told the Thembus that their true chief was the great white queen across the ocean and that they were her subjects. But the white queen brought nothing but misery and perfidy to the black people, and if she was a chief she was an evil chief. Chief Joyi said that the African people lived in relative peace until the coming of the abelungu, the white people, who arrived from across the sea with fire-breathing weapons.

Once, he said, the Thembu, the Mpondo, the Xhosa, and the Zulu were all children of one father, and lived as brothers. The white man shattered the abantu, the fellowship, of the various tribes. The white man was hungry and greedy for land, and the black man shared the land with him as they shared the air and water; land was not for man to possess. I did not yet know that the real history of our country was not to be found in standard British textbooks, which claimed South Africa began with the landing of Jan Van Riebeeck at the Cape of Good Hope in It was from Chief Joyi that I began to discover that the history of the Bantuspeaking peoples began far to the north, in a country of lakes and green plains and valleys, and that slowly over the millennia we made our way down to the very tip of this great continent.

I was assisted by Mr. Festile, the induna at the Chamber of Mines, who was once again playing a fateful role in my life. On his own initiative he had decided to offer me free accommodation in the mining compound. Few spoke English, and the lingua franca was an amalgam of many tongues known as Fanagalo. There, I saw not only flare-ups of ethnic animosity, but the comity that was also possible among men of different backgrounds. Yet I was a fish out of water there. Instead of spending my days underground, I was studying or working in a law office where the only physical activity was running errands or putting files in a cabinet.

Because the WNLA was a way station for visiting chiefs, I had the privilege of meeting tribal leaders from all over southern Africa. I recall on one occasion meeting the queen regent of Basutoland, or what is now Lesotho , Mantsebo Moshweshwe. I asked them about Jongilizwe, and for an hour I seemed to be back in Thembuland as they told colorful tales about his early years.

The queen took special notice of me and at one point addressed me directly, but she spoke in Sesotho, a language in which I knew few words. Sesotho is the language of the Sotho people as well as the Tswana, a large number of whom live in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.


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The question embarrassed and sobered me; it made me realize my parochialism and just how unprepared I was for the task of serving my people. I had unconsciously succumbed to the ethnic divisions fostered by the white government and I did not know how to speak to my own kith and kin. Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs. I again realized that we were not different people with separate languages; we were one people, with different tongues.

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. Since the turn of the century, Africans owed their educational opportunites primarily to the foreign churches and missions that created and sponsored schools.

Under the United Party, the syllabus for African secondary schools and white secondary schools was essentially the same. The mission schools provided Africans with Western-style English-language education, which I myself received. We were limited by lesser facilities but not by what we could read or think or dream.

Yet, even before the Nationalists came to power, the disparities in funding tell a story of racist education. The government spent about six times as much per white student as per African student. Education was not compulsory for Africans and was free only in the primary grades. Less than half of all African children of school age attended any school at all, and only a tiny number of Africans were graduated from high school.

Even this amount of education proved distasteful to the Nationalists. The Afrikaner has always been unenthusiastic about education for Africans. To him it was simply a waste, for the African was inherently ignorant and lazy and no amount of education could remedy that. The Afrikaner was traditionally hostile to Africans learning English, for English was a foreign tongue to the Afrikaner and the language of emancipation to us.

One morning, several days after my meeting with Bram and Joel, we were taken to the head office. The head office was only about a quarter of a mile away and was a simple stone structure that resembled our own section. Once there, we were lined up to have our fingerprints taken, which was routine prison service business.

But while waiting, I noticed a warder with a camera. After our fingerprints had been taken, the chief warder ordered us to line up for photographs. The warder was taken aback by my request and was unable to offer any explanation or produce anything in writing from the commissioner of prisons. He threatened to charge us if we did not consent to have our photographs taken, but I said that if there was no authorization, there would be no pictures, and that is where the matter remained. As a rule, we objected to having our pictures taken in prison on the grounds that it is generally demeaning to be seen as a prisoner.

But there was one photograph I did consent to, the only one I ever agreed to while on Robben Island. One morning, a few weeks later, the chief warder, instead of handing us hammers for our work in the courtyard, gave us each needles and thread and a pile of worn prison jerseys. We were instructed to repair the garments, but we discovered that most of these jerseys were frayed beyond repair.

This struck us as a curious task, and we wondered what had provoked the change. The commanding officer announced that the two visitors were a reporter and photographer from the Daily Telegraph in London. He related this as if visiting members of the international press were a regular diversion for us. Although these men were our first official visitors, we regarded them skeptically. Firstly, they were brought in under the auspices of the government, and second, we were aware that the Telegraph was a conservative newspaper unlikely to be sympathetic to our cause. The two journalists walked slowly around the courtyard, surveying us.

We kept our heads down concentrating on our work. The prison service regulations were explicit that each prisoner was permitted to speak only for himself. This was done to negate the power of organization and to neutralize our collective strength. We objected to this role, but made little headway. We were not even permitted to use the word we when we made complaints. But during the first few years, when the authorities needed one prisoner to speak on behalf of others, that individual would be me.

I talked to the reporter, whose name was Mr. Newman, for about twenty minutes, and was candid about both prison and the Rivonia Trial. He was an agreeable fellow, and at the end of our talk, he said he would like the photographer to take my picture. I was reluctant, but in this case relented because I knew the photograph would only be published overseas, and might serve to help our cause if the article was even the least bit friendly. I told him I would agree provided Mr. Sisulu could join me.

The image shows the two of us talking in the courtyard about some matter that I can no longer remember. I never saw the article or heard anything about it. The reporters were barely out of sight when the warders removed the jerseys and gave us back our hammers. The men from the Telegraph were the first of a small stream of visitors during those early months.

There were stories in the press about the inhuman conditions on the island, about how we were being assaulted and tortured. These allegations embarrassed the government, and to combat them they brought in a string of outsiders meant to rebut these critical stories. We were briefly visited by a British lawyer who had argued for Namibian independence before the World Court , after which we were informed that a Mr. Hynning, a representative of the American Bar Association, would be coming to see us. Americans were then a novelty in South Africa , and I was curious to meet a representative of so august a legal organization.

On the day of Mr. The American arrived in the company of General Steyn, the commissioner of prisons, who rarely made appearances on the island. General Steyn was that unusual thing in the prison service, a polished and sophisticated man. His suits were always of a fine quality and a fashionable cut. Yet General Steyn oppressed us by omission rather than commission. He basically turned a blind eye to what was happening on the island.

His habitual absence emboldened the more brutal prison officials and gave them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. General Steyn nodded in my direction, and I stood up. In contrast to General Steyn, Mr. Hynning was a heavyset, unkempt man. I thanked him for visiting us and said we were honored by his presence. I then summarized our complaints, beginning with the central and most important one, that we were political prisoners, not criminals, and that we should be treated as such.

I enumerated our grievances about the food, our living conditions, and the work detail. But as I was speaking, Mr. Hynning kept interrupting me. When I made a point about the long hours doing mindless work, he declared that as prisoners we had to work and were probably lazy to boot. When I started to detail the problems with our cells, he interjected that the conditions in backward American prisons were far worse than Robben Island , which was a paradise by comparison. He added that we had been justly convicted and were lucky not to have received the death penalty, which we probably deserved.

Hynning perspired a great deal and there were those among us who thought he was not altogether sober. He spoke in what I assumed was a southern American accent, and had a curious habit of spitting when he talked, something none of us had ever seen before. Under the circumstances, it was difficult to keep tempers down.

The men were angered by Mr. Normally, a visit of any kind lifted our spirits but the visit of Mr. Hynning was demoralizing. Perhaps that is what the authorities wanted. To meet someone with so impressive an affiliation and so little understanding was depressing. Hynning finally just turned and walked away without so much as a good-bye.


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  4. We were not sorry to see him go. We discussed Mr. Hynning for years afterward and many of the men imitated the way he spoke to comic effect. We never heard about him again, and he certainly did not win any friends on Robben Island for the American Bar Association.

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    In jail, all prisoners are classified by the authorities as one of four categories: A, B, C, or D. A is the highest classification and confers the most privileges; D is the lowest and confers the least. The privileges affected by these classifications included visits and letters, studies, and the opportunity to buy groceries and incidentals — all of which are the lifeblood of any prisoner.

    It normally took years for a political prisoner to raise his status from D to C. We disdained the classification system. It was corrupt and demeaning, another way of repressing prisoners in general and political prisoners in particular. We demanded that all political prisoners be in one category. Although we criticized it, we could not ignore it: the classification system was an inflexible feature of prison life. If you protested that, as a D Group prisoner, you could receive only one letter every six months, the authorities would say, Improve your behavior, become a C Group prisoner, and you will be able to receive two letters every six months.

    If you complained that you did not receive enough food, the authorities would remind you that if you were in A Group, you would be able to receive money orders from the outside and purchase extra food at the prison canteen. Even a freedom fighter benefits from the ability to buy groceries and books. If you were sentenced to eight years, you would generally be classified as D for the first two years, C for the next two, B for the following two, and A for the last two.

    But the prison authorities wielded the classification system as a weapon against political prisoners, threatening to lower our hard-won classifications in order to control our behavior. While I desired the privileges that came with higher classifications, I refused to compromise my conduct. Every six months, prisoners were called before the prison board to have their classifications evaluated.

    The board was meant to assess our behavior in terms of prison regulations, but we found that it preferred to act as a political tribunal rather than a mere evaluator of behavior.

    Angeletics Work in Progress

    During my first meeting with the board, the officials asked me questions about the ANC and my beliefs. Although this had nothing to do with the classification system, I was vain enough to answer and think that I might convert them to my beliefs. It was one of the few times we were treated as human beings, and I for one responded. Later I realized that this was simply a technique on the part of the authorities to glean information from us, and I had fallen for it. Shortly afterward, we agreed among ourselves not to discuss politics with the prison board. As a D Group prisoner, I was entitled to have only one visitor, and to write and receive only one letter, every six months.

    I found this one of the most inhumane restrictions of the prison system. But it was one of the facts of prison life. This was a restriction we not only found irksome but racist. The African sense of immediate family is far different from that of the European or Westerner. Our family structures are larger and more inclusive; anyone who claims descent from a common ancestor is deemed part of the same family.

    It is always harder to cope with the disasters and tragedies one imagines than with the reality, however grim or disagreeable. A letter with ill tidings was always preferable to no letter at all. But even this miserable restriction was abused by the authorities. The anticipation of mail was overwhelming. Mail call took place once a month, and sometimes six months would go by without a letter.

    To be allowed one letter in six months and then not to receive it is a great blow. One wonders: What has happened to my wife and children, to my mother and my sisters? When I did not receive a letter I felt as dry and barren as the Great Karroo desert. Often the authorities would withhold mail out of spite. It required all my self-discipline not to explode at such times. Afterward, I would protest through the proper channels, and sometimes get it. When letters did arrive, they were cherished. A letter was like the summer rain that could make even the desert bloom.

    When I was handed a letter by the authorities, I would not rush forward and grab it as I felt like doing, but take it in a leisurely manner. Though I yearned to tear it open and read it on the spot, I would not give the authorities the satisfaction of seeing my eagerness, and I would return slowly to my cell as though I had many things to occupy me before opening a letter from my family. During the first few months, I received one letter from Winnie, but it was so heavily censored that not much more than the salutation was left.

    They began to use razors to slice out whole paragraphs. Since most letters were written on both sides of a single piece of paper, the material on the other side would also be excised. They seemed to relish delivering letters in tatters. The censorship delayed the delivery of mail because warders, some of whom were not proficient in English, might take as long as a month to censor a letter.

    The letters we wrote were censored as well; they were often as cut up as the letters we received. At the end of August, after I had been on the island less than three months, I was informed by the authorities that I would have a visitor the following day.

    They would not tell me who it was. Walter was informed that he, too, would have a visitor, and I suspected, I hoped, I wished — I believed — that it would be a visit from Winnie and Albertina. From the moment Winnie learned we had been brought to the island, she had been trying to arrange a visit.

    As a banned person, Winnie had to receive a special dispensation from the minister of justice, for she was technically not permitted to communicate with me. Even with the help of the authorities, visiting Robben Island was not an easy proposition. Visits were a maximum of thirty minutes long, and political prisoners were not permitted contact visits, in which the visitor and prisoner were in the same room. Visits did not seem to be planned in advance by the authorities.

    If a family member was able to plan a visit in advance, the authorities would sometimes deliberately delay issuing a permit until after the plane had departed. Some men who came from poor families did not see their wives for many years at a time, if at all. I knew of men who spent a decade or more on Robben Island without a single visit. The visiting room for noncontact visits was cramped and windowless. One sat in a chair and looked through the thick, smudged glass that had a few small holes drilled into it to permit conversation. One had to talk very loudly to be heard. Later the authorities installed microphones and speakers in front of the glass, a marginal improvement.

    Winnie always dressed up for prison visits, and tried to wear something new and elegant. It was tremendously frustrating not to be able to touch my wife, to speak tenderly to her, to have a private moment together. We had to conduct our relationship at a distance under the eyes of people we despised. I could see immediately that Winnie was under tremendous strain. Seeing me in such circumstances must have been trying. Just getting to the island itself was difficult, and added to that were the harsh rituals of the prison, the undoubted indignities of the warders, and the impersonality of the contact.

    Winnie, I later discovered, had recently received a second banning order and had been terminated from her job at the Child Welfare Office as a result. Her office was searched by the police shortly before she was fired. The authorities were convinced that Winnie was in secret communication with me. Winnie loved her job as a social worker.

    About this book

    It was the hands-on end of the struggle: placing babies with adoptive parents, finding work for the unemployed and medical help for the uninsured. The banning and harassment of my wife greatly troubled me: I could not look after her and the children, and the state was making it difficult for her to look after herself.

    My powerlessness gnawed at me. Our conversation was awkward at first, and was not made easier by the presence of two warders standing directly behind her and three behind me. Their role was not only to monitor but to intimidate. Regulations dictated that conversation had to be in either English or Afrikaans — African languages were forbidden — and could involve family matters only. Any line of talk that departed from the family and verged on the political might mean the abrupt termination of the visit. If one mentioned a name unfamiliar to the warders, they would interrupt the conversation, and ask who the person was and the nature of the relationship.

    This happened often, as the warders were generally unfamiliar with the variety and nature of African names. But their ignorance also worked in our favor: it allowed us to invent code names for people we wanted to talk about and pretend that we were referring to family members. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.

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    Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. They are motivated and are also prepared to be integrated into the target language community.

    QFIAB 85 (2005)

    This readiness for linguistic and cultural adjustment is an expression of integrative orientation. In Taiwan, it is ob- served predominantly with the ethnic minorities of the Hakka and the autochthonous populations who must inte- grate into the Mandarin and Taiwanese communities constituting the majority of Taiwanese society. Instrumental orientation, on the other hand, occurs especially with adult learners of foreign languages and is purely utilitarian in nature. The student proceeds with the learning of a foreign language due to external factors, such as its practical value or the expected personal gain derived from having acquired another language.

    For ex- ample, in Taiwan, Japanese is needed in order to conduct business more successfully. It may also be the case that students have done well already in school in this subject, and they expect that taking Japanese at the university would require less effort than learning French or German. The concepts integrative and instrumental motive are derived from these two original forms of motivation.

    The terms have been continually refined since ; for example, in Gardner concretized the previously some- what vague distinction between orientation and motivation by positing that integrative orientation is only one of several components of motivation. Empirical studies have shown that both kinds of motivation may result in suc- cessful language learning. Obviously, it is not impossible for a person to be motivated by both integrative and instrumental factors, so that both motives for learning a foreign language may be present even though the relative proportion of each may vary in different cases: Of course, an individual could be motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically to various degrees.

    And a student may be motivated both extrinsically in one course and intrinsically in another and be motivated by both in a third Deckers Moreover, it is highly probable that each 'intrinsic' stimu- lus, attitude or motivation must have one or more 'extrinsic' sources or even causes Edmondson 73; Translation T. This static interpretation of the relationship between the learners and their attitudes to the learning process has been increasingly criticized by experts in the field: After all [ The concept and the associated theory, however, do little to explain how the relationship between learning ex- perience and motivation might be mediated, so that vicious circles might be broken and positive motiva- tion generated out of negative learning outcomes […].

    It is clear that this agenda calls for a radically dif- ferent concept of motivation, one that is not defined simply in terms of strength of feeling, or amount of effort or time devoted to a task, but is ascribed an active, functional and dynamic role throughout the learning process Ushioda 10 f. In his later work, Gardner himself pointed out the problems with a dualistic motivation model by remarking that a di- chotomization of this kind had not been intended: The scale contrasted the integrative and instrumental orientation and consequently led many to consider orientation in terms of this dichotomy [ This is not, however, the case […].

    In fact, although they may have initiated the dichotomy for purposes of measurement, Gardner and Lambert obviously do not see them in this way as indicated by the fact that they subsequently considered other possible orientations […] and argued for assessing orientations which did not depend upon a categorical system Gardner The following approaches emphasize particularly the process component and certainly need to consider more fully the origin of motivation see, e.

    I would like to bring together two motivation models, which, on the one hand, emphasize the process dimension but also, on the other, capture the cognitive and affective di- mensions, thus creating a conceptual framework for a thorough understanding of the complexity and dynamics of the terminology. Learning a foreign language therefore does not proceed in a straight line from the point of view of moti- vation; it is 'interference-prone' by the occurrence of different intervening factors negative: for example, if learning difficulties suddenly arise; positive: for example, if an already initiated action is brought to a halt because the learner realizes that by proceeding with a different approach the task can be solved more quickly and effectively.

    Personal investment occurs as part of a continuous stream of ever-changing events. More relevant were found to be general dispositions towards learning foreign languages: an appreciation of foreign languages, the intellectual challenge involved in learning a foreign language as well as travel interests. With regard to the learning situation itself, instructional, teacher and group factors affect the motivation for foreign language learning.

    Interest in, expectation of and satisfaction with the curriculum, teaching materials and teaching methods are the main markers of the in- structional aspect. These findings are seen to be incompatible with the dichotomization between integrative and instrumental orientation. Only the dimension "professional career" is considered to be instrumental orientation. People seem to engage in the activities for their own sake and not because they lead to an extrinsic reward.

    By intrinsic motivation, personality-dependent factors are meant, such as the desire to achieve success, the intel- lectual challenge implicit in learning foreign languages, or tourism-related interests. Background information 2. Taiwanese society, which is shaped by Chinese culture, is steeped in Confucian learning traditions, which lead to a high instrumental learner motivation. The acquisition of knowledge using the traditional learning strategy of memorization and the largely uncritical acceptance of given content and patterns are often considered normal by Taiwanese students.

    Thus, the lingua franca English plays only an important role for many students because proficiency in English is tested in the central university entrance examinations. Due to the way in which university entrance exams are structured, teachers in Taiwan are often forced to instruct their students in a manner that will prove most useful to them. Therefore, the focus of what is taught in senior high school is geared toward sitting these exams.

    They constitute a rigorous test of grammatical understanding of the English language, with students being required to translate complex passages and to have an extensive vocabulary and excellent knowledge of grammatical struc- tures.

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    For this reason, teachers see no need to prepare students for something which will not be tested. It has been sug- gested that having to sit the university entrance exams is the main reason or source of motivation for the majority of Taiwanese students to study English. Certainly, a high percentage of senior high school students identify the need for high scores in the central university entrance examinations as the major reason for the study of English. Passing the examination with a score high above the average in several exam subjects entitles the student to enrol in an elite university.

    The question with which motives or motivations the students acquire certain content is secondary. In contrast to Germany, Taiwanese senior high school students must make extra learning efforts in order to be able to pass the university entrance examination since academic achievement in senior high school is not taken into consideration for admission to the university.

    One of these courses given at the time of this study was taught by this researcher. However, to eliminate bias during each phase of the research process, it was decided to conduct the administration of the questionnaire exclusively in the course offered by the colleague. At the time of the data collection, the students were between 18 and 22 years of age.

    Of the 45 participants, 17 were males and 28 were females. The subjects were a homogeneous group of learners, with a largely uniform socialization background. None of the subjects had ever been abroad in a German-speaking country. Their non-university knowledge of Germany was therefore obtained and shaped predominantly by Tai- wanese and international media such as newspapers, radio broadcasts, television, films as well as history books. In other words, they had no direct personal experiences with Germany. The majority of the students had been learn- ing German as the second or further foreign language for approximately three months.

    Their academic majors ranged very broadly from linguistics through phi- losophy to economics and law. They were informed that the survey was anonymous and that participation in the study was Tristan Lay, The motivation for learning German in Taiwan. They were told that the questionnaire was not an examination and that their answers would not influence their scores in the course.

    During the completion of the questionnaire, individual questions were answered and comprehension problems were immediately clarified. All in all, the Chinese version of the questionnaire was apparently well un- derstood. The questionnaire contains open, half-open as well as closed items multiple responses were possible on motives for learning German and on integrative, instrumental, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

    Summary of the results The purpose of the present study is to try to understand which motives and motivations Taiwanese students major- ing in other subjects exhibit while studying German. The limited number of available investigations of the foreign language learning motivation of Taiwanese students of German permits only tentative and intuitive conclusions. Consequently, the following findings should be interpreted cautiously with regard to their explanatory power be- cause some aspects are based more on personal experiences and conversations or observations in class than on hard empirical findings.

    The author is aware of the fact that the research sample is not representative, in particular because the sample size of 45 participating students is too small. The present findings, therefore, make no claim to completeness and gen- eralizability. However, they can make a contribution to a discussion on motivation in foreign language learning in Taiwan.

    They present first-hand views of Taiwanese learners in a German course and should subsequently lead to larger empirical investigations, in which — with the help of more sophisticated procedures and methods — the tenta- tive conclusions drawn here can be validated and extended. In this case, for most students, German was the third 14 and fourth 23 foreign lan- guage, with which they had come into contact. Individual multilingualism and foreign language learning are valued highly in the already multilingual Taiwan Chinese, Taiwanese, Hakka and Aus- tronesian languages.

    Nevertheless, learning a second or further foreign language is evaluated in positive terms. It is possible that continuously being involved with learning another language as well as a proficiency in several languages could have led to intensified reflection about language among the subjects. The value of the experience of having learned several languages and previously acquired linguistic knowledge is recognized by the students, and it serves as a potentially powerful aid in learning German.

    In this way, experiences with lan- guage learning and proficiency in English contribute to the process of acquiring German. The language combination of Chinese, English and German is characterized by the fact that the target language of Chinese-speaking students learning the German language resembles less their mother tongue than their first for- eign language English in morphology, syntax, grammar, lexics and phonetics.

    Differences in the writing systems are also obvious: in Taiwan, an ideographic writing system based on Chinese han characters is used, i. In this language constella- tion, it is clear that strong cross-linguistic transfer processes take place on several levels between the closely ge- netically related Indo-Germanic languages English and German. The language relationship between English and German can be of particular use in the Taiwanese context at the beginning of the learning process.

    The relationship between the two languages leads to the fact that words in German are not perceived as completely "foreign". All in all, a proficiency in English is evaluated positively for learning German even if pronunciation problems arise occasionally when German words are pronounced with English sound features. In grammar as well, prior knowledge is transferred from English when learning German. Many informants indicate that they think in English and would learn German in this manner.

    A curricular methodology for multilingualism that deliberately and systematically makes use of prior knowledge and previously learned languages in the German class would use unused synergy potentials and would contribute to the strengthening of motivation in foreign language learning see Lay German, however, is thought to be generally difficult.

    German therefore represents an intellectual challenge when it comes to learning a foreign language, according to the data collected from the interviewees. The German language is particularly felt to be difficult because of its highly differentiated morphology compared to the less minutely developed morphology of the English language. In the grammar, there are also substantial dif- ferences between Chinese and English. Chinese has neither number nor genders or tenses: nouns, adjectives and pronouns are not inflected, and verbs are not conjugated.

    Many words in modern Chinese, particularly bisyllabic ones, can be used as nouns, verbs or adjectives. Whether a word is to be understood as a noun, verb or adjective depends on its position in the sentence where the word sequence is subject to strict grammatical rules. There is hardly enough time during the course to learn the grammatical structures adequately because a basic knowledge of the features of the language of science cannot generally be assumed per se.

    For the most part, it has to be acquired for the first time in the German class. Generally, the students also have also an unsatisfactory knowledge of grammatical terminologies and have cognitive problems in handling gram- matical structures; furthermore, in comparison with Chinese, German has substantially longer sentence construc- tions. Nevertheless, learning German is perceived to be motivating by some individuals because they want to mas- ter this "difficult" language. Almost all students decided to learn German because of a general interest in languages.

    It should be mentioned here with regard to curricular factors that only a limited number of academic fields at NCCU e. Credits for the elective courses can also be acquired in other easier, non-language-related seminars.