International African school ( Afrikaanse School) is a place for regeneration and reclaiming of the African cultural and the value of its historical content and context. It provides a space to validate what has been invalidated for centuries and a space to honour and acknowledge the wisdom and knowledge of the ancestors … a space to unshackle the shackles and decolonize the mind and recalibrate the mental condition and thinking process through epistemological approaches that strengthens the significant steps in the process of decolonising the mind (Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, 1986). This choice is a conscious choice aimed at engaging constructively with western cultural expressions, ways of knowing and interaction with African cultures.
“Mwacha mila ni mtumwa” is a very famous Swahili proverb which literally translates to “he who abandons his culture is a slave.” But what is culture? And is it important?
Culture is entailing a totality of traits and characters of a people. These traits include the people’s language, music, art, dressing, religion, food, dance, spirituality, norms and values.
African culture has always been passed down from one generation to another orally, in practice and re-enactments. This continues to-date within a complex mix of the influence of western culture and African cultures whose values (tangible and intangible heritage) remain intact. Fafunwa (1974: 48) writes that: The child just grows into and within the cultural heritage of his/her people. The child imbibes it. Culture, in classical African society, is not taught; it is caught, it is lived. The child observes, imbibes, and mimics the action of elders and siblings. The child watches the naming ceremonies, religious services, marriage rituals, funeral obsequies. The child also witnesses the coronation of a king or chief, the annual yam festival, the annual dance and acrobatic displays of guilds and age groups or relations in the activities. The child in such a setting cannot escape the cultural and physical environments.
The challenge comes when a child is born outside the culture of her/his people, when all is distorted, and beliefs and values of her/his people are minimized. This can be very confusing, and it can lead to identity crisis. People’s identity is rooted in their identifications- in what they associate themselves with. What a person associates with is ultimately who that person becomes.
Within the continent, it is no hidden fact that people of African descent have experienced profound disruptions, forced relocation, cultural colonization, unfair stereotyping, and misrepresentation in the media and education curriculums and development policy prescriptions. Her young population has not evenly understood or consciously articulated these historical events. The behavioural health consequences for them have been well documented, which lead to stress and identity conflicts when interacting with other cultures. Studies have also shown correlations between positive affiliation and engagement with the African culture and wellbeing and resilience of people of African descent.
This is where conversation with the African School ( Afrikaanse School) begins – A space where African History, Culture, Languages & Literature are taught. A space where healing through the Decolonisation of the mind and Reconstruction of expectations from the dominant cultures is made possible. A source of self-esteem, confidence, and pride as an African person .
Ubuntu is our Philosophy- I am because you are.
African people wherever they are, have a deeply rooted collectivist culture. Relationships with other members of the group and the interconnectedness between them play a central role in each person’s identity.