Die invloed van die Sweedse stelsel van formele oefeninge op die ontwikkeling van liggaamlike opvoeding in Suid–Afrika
Willemse, Johannes Wilhelmus
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I. INTRODUCTION: During its development physical education was mainly supported by the military and medical world. These quarters were the stimuli for the work produced by P.H. Ling. Based on his concepts, his followers continued his work which resulted in the Swedish system of formal exercises. By 1900 Swedish gymnastics and German "turnen" were directive in European physical education. This was the main cause why the Swedish system spread to countries all over the world and influenced the subject according to circumstances. South Africa, as a young country, had to take notice of the system. The system was not brought directly to this country but reached it via a number of other countries with which South Africa had closer relations. This system influenced the quarters concerned with physical education in South Africa. II. THE AIM OF THE INVESTIGATION: It is necessary to investigate physical education methods which are followed in South Africa. In this way it can be ascertained if the methods were suited to local circumstances. The aim of the investigation is: 1. to give a review of the development of formal exercises up to 1800 in order to indicate the connection with the Swedish system; 2. to give a review of the origin, development and application of the Swedish system; 3. to indicate the measure in which the system spread to Denmark, Germany, England and the Netherlands and to indicate the influence of the system on physical education as practised by these countries; 4. to indicate how the Swedish system reached South Africa and the influence it exercised on the subject. In order to achieve the last aim, the investigation will be centred on the Departments of Education - which includes teacher training-, the role of the Central Government, the South African Defence Force and the South African Police College. In this way a scientific evaluation can be made of the influence of the Swedish system and whether its application was a success. III. THE METHOD OF INVESTIGATION: The historic method of investigation was employed. In the background study secondary sources were used. In the investigation of the influence of the system on the subject in South Africa the material was collected in the following way: 1. With regard to the Departments of Education the applicable annual reports since 1910 were studied. Syllabi were acquired and subject inspectors were consulted either by correspondence or by personal interview. Annual reports and syllabi from higher educational institutions were studied and correspondence and interviews were conducted with the staffs of these institutions. Material was also collected from other articles and magazines. 2. All the publications of the National Advisory Council for Physical Education, The Department of Education, Arts and Science and The Department of Cultural Affairs concerned with the subject were consulted. 3. The unpublished documents in the archives of the South African Defence Force were consulted. 4. As the documents concerned with the physical training of recruits at the Police College could not be obtained, sole use was made of personal interviews. After the material had been collected, it was possible to arrive at a scientific analysis of the influence of the Swedish system of formal exercises on the subject in South Africa. IV. CONCLUSIONS: A. The Departments of Education 1. The period up to 1900 Swedish gymnastics was practised in a number of schools in the Cape Province. 2. 1900-1936 During this period Swedish gymnastics had its greatest influence. Swedish gymnastics was generally practised and the true statement was that "physical education was the Swedish system”. Because other systems and trends were unknown this period was considered as a period of ignorance. Swedish gymnastics ruled the subject because it had such a great influence on the subject in England. Historic bands with England caused that country to influence the subject in South Africa. The influence from other countries was so small that it can not be considered. Not with standing the fact that the system influenced the subject to such a marked degree, it can not be considered to have been successful. In certain girls' schools in the urban areas it was applied successfully but in the boys' schools and schools in rural areas it was not a success. Several reasons can be given for this state of affairs. 3. 1936-1968 Swedish gymnastics was still applied during the first part of this period and in some instances up to the late forties. The influence of the system gradually declined until it left only faint traces in the present system. This period is known as the period of discovery as nearly all the known systems and trends in the subject were studied. It was necessary to investigate these systems and trends as a system suited to our needs could be developed from them. B. The influence of the Central Government The development of South Africa on all levels made it necessary to find a scientifically founded system. Claims the Swedish system were not always scientifically founded. false claims made by the System have been indicated. The compilers of the publications of the National Advisory Council for Physical Education, The Department of Education, Arts and Science and The Department of Cultural Affairs studied all the relevant data when they devised a suitable system. Only the best elements of the different systems and trends were retained in the compilation of an eclectic system. In this system the Swedish system left traces. The Swedish-Danish gymnastics contributed to the postural exercises or formative gymnastics in the publications. C. The South African Defence Force In the physical training programme of the Defence Force, Swedish formal exercises had a great influence. From 1922 onwards the tables consisted nearly entirely of Swedish gymnastics. After 1932, the exercises, although still retaining the Swedish influence, showed a more dynamic form of execution. Since the late thirties Swedish gymnastics was retained with other exercises, but in a more rhythmic form. England, once more, was mainly responsible for the spread of the Swedish system. In the tables of the fifties as well as the programme drawn up in 1966 free-standing exercises still played an important role. In these exercises ideas of Swedish origin can still be ascertained. Although certain simple exercises still occur, the pure Swedish formal exercises have disappeared. During the last decade changes have been made as the introduction of specialists trained at South African universities have enriched the training programmes. D. The South African Police Force The spread of the Swedish system to the Police Force occurred via England. Although the Swedish gymnastics influenced the physical training of the recruits, it was not followed slavishly. Free-standing tables which were used in 1927, included exercises of Swedish origin, but static contractions had to make way for a more dynamic operation. The tables also diverged with regard to the order and number of the exercises executed. In the present programme much attention is given to free-standing exercises which is aimed at improving the posture and suppleness. The concept of a harmonic development is comparable with the Swedish idea and must be commended. The value of a systematic progression can not be overemphasized. Although Swedish formal-military exercises are no longer attempted apparatus of Swedish origin is still used with certain exercises.
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