News Brief

South African Education System is Finally Making History Curriculum More Afrocentric

The history of Africa and South Africa in particular will no longer be taught as a mere afterthought.

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has announced how her department's task team is set to make the history taught in both primary and secondary South African schools more Afrocentric. The task team is set to develop a new curriculum, screen current educational materials to ensure they are in alignment with the new curriculum and subsequently establish history teacher development programs.


For decades, South African school children have been taught, with great depth, about the French Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, World War I and II, the Spanish Inquisition and many other monumental European events. And yet, their own history, has been taught as if they were tourists, hardly interrogated with the same rigor as that of European history and treated more as an afterthought.

Responding to why the decision is an important one for South African schoolchildren, the task team said that there was not enough emphasis that was placed on indigenous history of South Africa as well as pre colonial language. In addition, they went on to say:

"The consequences are that most of these students struggle at university because the content is pitched at a higher, sophisticated level — taking for granted that students have necessary skills to unpack it."

While this is true, the decision is crucial not just in terms of school children who plan on studying history at a tertiary level and thus need to adequately grasp the content in the requisite depth. It is also crucial that all South Africans understand the deep wounds of this country so that moving forward, they can truly understand authentic ways of engaging with difficult conversations especially around race.

One Twitter user expressed, and quite insultingly, how he felt that the rewriting of history textbooks would not change history as it stands. As a white man, the victors who wrote history and left out the parts they didn't feel were important, it is unsurprising he should feel this way.

Another Twitter user, again a white man, expressed how he feels the move towards a more Afrocentric history curriculum is a regression towards history taught during Apartheid times.

South Africans have a hard time connecting with their painful past as a country because not only does society shy away (and even censors at times) from having these thorny conversations, they teach nothing of it in the classrooms. This is true of the teaching of English in the classrooms. Works of Shakespeare and Dickens are held in the highest esteem while school children only ever discover (if at all) the works of Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o and say, Tsitsi Dangaremga, much later on.

The task team also added that:

"The history of Africa needs to be given the depth and breadth it deserves. The archaeological past needs to be reintroduced at a higher level, and dealt with in a more sophisticated manner."
Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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(Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wizkid, Alicia Keys x Diamond Platnumz, Manu WorldStar, Maya Amolo, La Dame Blanche and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here, Apple Music here and YouTube Music here

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News Brief

Michael Kiwanuka Wins Highly Coveted 2020 Mercury Prize

The British-Ugandan artist proves that staying true to yourself will get you further than you can imagine.

British-Ugandan musician Michael Kiwanuka has gone on to win the 2020 Mercury Prize at this year's virtual awards ceremony.

The win was assigned to Kiwanuka's 2019 album KIWANUKA, produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo. KIWANUKA, Michael's third full-length so far, seems to be the artists' most personal one yet.

In his own words, Kiwanuka told New Statesman, "I thought, what better way to say that you're comfortable with who you are than by using just your name? KIWANUKA goes against fame, it goes against success. It's not in the pocket, it's not a smooth rock'n'roll name that's up in lights. It can be clumsy, if you haven't seen it before."

Well, we are certainly grateful for the singer's personal evolution as it has landed him top honors in the industry, as well as, amongst his die hard fans.

The artist said of his win, "I don't even know what to say - I'm speechless. This is amazing...I don't even have any words. This is ridiculous, it's crazy! I'm so happy. Third time's a charm. It's blown my mind. I'm over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums. This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I'm so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I'm over the moon."

Watch Michael Kiwanuka's performance of "You Ain't The Problem" off of his Mercury Prize winning album "KIWANUKA" here.

Mercury Prize 2020 Winner | Michael Kiwanuka - You Ain't The Problem (Later... With Jools Holland) www.youtube.com

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Supports Removal of Apartheid Statues

This past Heritage Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that monuments 'glorifying' the country's 'divisive past' should be repositioned and relocated.