Commodification of transformation discourses and post-apartheid institutional identities at three South African universities
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Using mission statements from the UCT, UWC and Stellenbosch University (South Africa), we explore how the three universities have rematerialised prior discourses to rebrand their identities as dictated by contemporary national and global aspirations. We reveal how the universities have recontextualised the experiences and discourses of liberation struggle and the new government’s post-apartheid social transformation discourses to construct distinctive identities that are locally relevant and globally aspiring. This has led to the semiotic refiguring of universities from spatial edifices of racially based unequal education, to equal opportunity institutions of higher learning, and to the blurring of historical boundaries between these universities. We conclude that the universities have reconstructed distinct and recognisable identities which speak to a segregated past, but with a post-apartheid voice of equity and redress.