Africa is a culturally rich continent. It is here where we are exposed to some of the most humbling, beautiful and rich traditions, ideas and beliefs. African cultures differ and also share common traits, and with time, the same beliefs and ideas that shaped the continent have had to be relooked and adjusted in order to create a fairer and better world for all, especially those who have been oppressed under those values. In this article, we will explore Africa’s cultural history, the importance of culture-based education and how western education influenced African culture.
Our Roots Are In Us
With African cultures and traditions being heavily influenced by western cultures for a long time, the preservation of this treasure has been a very important yet tricky accomplishment. During the days of African forefathers, stories, instructions, rituals, and anything that had to do with the African culture were communicated by those who were assigned either by the king or people of the specific tribe or village. This meant that only a few people had access to some important information regarding how things are done and were tasked with ensuring that the rest of the people learn and know them. This meant that African stories had to be shared with its people, and because we are a creative continent, our stories got buried in songs, dances, clothing, and so much more.
However, with the need for growth and a better life for all, not all teachings had to be kept as part of most African cultures as they posed threats to many people, more so women and children, and with this adjustment, some of the important bits of history may be at risk of extinction due to the way western education is influential.
Even though hearing African stories from those who lived in those times is beautiful, it is important that whatever piece of history, good or bad, is kept in order to teach the younger generation of their history and origin. This means there is a need to document Africa and her people and include African history (real true history) in the schools’ curriculum.
Change is Change
The curriculum in South Africa and other African countries has been changing over time. With requirements for starting and progressing in school changing every now and then, new ways of teaching and learning being formed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the digital era and need for resources creating a need for learning, one cannot be surprised that the teachings of Africa and its cultures may have taken an unplanned hiatus. The changes in the South African curriculum due to influence from other African and western countries, hindrances that already exist in government and private sectors, as well as the huge need for more schools and resources are some of the challenges getting in the way of progression for Africa. There is clearly a need to incorporate African history and culture into the curriculum while also immersing students in digital literacy. This might be calling for another shift in the African school system’s curriculum. African culture, history and heritage have been appreciated, exposed and exploited for years, and sometimes it undergoes distortion. The important thing to do for the African economy is to educate our youth on our cultures and history as well as the opportunities they can access from having this information. With its richness, African culture and its roots offer Africans and everyone around the world an opportunity to create businesses as well as collaborative projects that will take the socio-economy of each African country a step higher. From tourism, food, fashion, business, and so much more, there is value in teaching African children where it all came from in order for them to help shape where it’s going.
If Not Now, It Will Be Worth It Later
One of the biggest benefits of African culture teachings, as well as relooking education systems in African countries, is to also debunk hindrances and stigma that is attached to African youth based on their gender. If we teach girls and boys that their continent is rich in culture, we should also teach them that discovering that history is not a gender role but a human role, inspiring an evolved yet African generation. In simple terms, all education factors and influences can find common ground in order to create a prosperous future for Africa.
In Conclusion, Conversations Conversations
African countries are becoming expressive nations. With people no longer choosing silence when it comes to the learnings, teachings and even discomforts that being born and bred here provide. Those who acquire information aren’t afraid to share it with those willing to listen, and the meaning of ‘education’ has evolved. To be an all-rounder African (with skills in tech, western influence and African culture), there is a possibility for more doors to open for African children, and there is a chance to create business opportunities that will give Africa the glow it deserves. At DBSA, like other development finance institutions in this country, we are passionate about the education sector in South Africa and other African countries and believe in helping where we can. This is our contribution to the future of Africa.