South African educator Lenkwane H. Mathunyane is looking to change the world for the better, one family at a time. In The Dichotomy: Facts and Perceptions, the author offers readers a guidebook, rooted in Christian social teaching, for a productive and more inclusive society, hoping to “enable parents, teachers, and students to broaden and deepen their insight in the interdependence of human beings in the social environment.”
Although just under 100 pages, Mathunyane’ short primer packs a lot into its text, offering definitions and short explanations on the foundation of belief, the value of religion for families, the characteristics of solid leadership in a democracy, and the importance of art, worship, and sports in a child’s life. In terms of social issues, the author outlines Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development and discusses the importance of upholding tradition and cultural norms. He also, among other topics, briefly looks at the social interaction between boys and girls and the relationship between cliques, gangs, and adolescent behavior.
Mathunyane’s objective in his book is simple: In the 21st century, in Africa and in the world, he believes that we need to acknowledge and accept our differences and uphold the value of living and learning in a culturally diverse society. We can do this most fully, he notes, by embracing the Christian Gospel message of love and respect for our neighbors and reminding everyone to put God first in everything we do.
It’s apparent in the delicate way he handles his material and the simplicity of the language that Mathunyane is a born teacher. The writing here is easy to understand and while the book could use more structure to connect its various ideas, The Dichotomy succeeds as a basic outline for many parents and teachers to help increase awareness and stimulate discussion about how to best guide children on their road to adulthood.
Also available in hardcover.