Wikipedia Wednesday - Cedric Phatudi


Cedric Phatudi was a South African Educational Administrator. He was several other things, too, but to describe any of those would require writing a lot of backstory. I will, naturally, but I rather like the current format of beginning each post with the name of the Wikipedia page I picked, so I had to start out with the simple stuff.

Anyway, if you’re anything like me, all you know about South Africa is stuff you gleaned from District 9. Also the word “apartheid,” which you think has something to do with racism, but you’re not quite sure what. As it turns out, that’s really all apartheid came down to (it literally means “apart-ness") – a governmental system of legalized racism under which the White minority was enabled to oppress the Black majority.

Now, in the mid-twentieth century, South Africa’s National Party began to ship the nation’s major ethnic groups to different parts of the country (known initially as homelands, and more currently as Bantustans). The idea was that these territories would eventually separate from South Africa and thusly the nation would be freed from Black influence. The plan obviously failed on account of the fact that it was ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phatudi, as he preferred to be called, was moving up through the ranks of South Africa’s educational system – he began as a teacher, then became an Educational Administrator before being named President of the Federation of Inspectors of Schools in South Africa in 1958 – the very same year in which Ellen DeGeneres was born (probably unrelated).

He continued in this position until 1969, at which point he joined a group dedicated to bring autonomy to Lebowa, one of the aforementioned Bhatustans, which was eventually granted in 1972. Phatudi was the leader of the newly-founded nation and was characterized by being calmer and more diplomatic than the leaders of the other nine Bhatustans, with the exception of one early outburst (he wished to expand the regions of the territory to include a few white neighborhoods – the expansion also enabled the new nation to take hold of a number of universities). He died in 1987, and Lebowa was re-integrated into South Africa in 1994.

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