Africa Meets Africa

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Africa Meets Africa
Esther-Mahlangu

Arts education contributes to an education which integrates physical, intellectual and creative faculties. It makes possible more dynamic and fruitful relations between education, arts and culture and encourages capabilities required in facing the 21st century challenges.

It is critical for learning environments to develop cognitive as well as emotional intelligence skills and not have more value placed on cognitive skills as is currently the case. A sufficient body of knowledge and information exists to indicate that arts education is critical as a means to enhancing learning as a whole.

Africa meets Africa has proved beyond doubt that the material produced will go a long way in demonstrating the value of arts education in improving learning. The book illustrated visual arts, working with mathematics and history. Africa meets Africa has established a process involving research and documenting the visual cultural expression of particular cultural landscapes in consultation with artists, traditional leaders and local government.

The result of this process is a series of richly illustrated resource books and films. The resource books were introduced to teachers during training workshops, presented in partnership with local government education departments in each of the rural areas researched. Project objectives include not only documenting traditions before they die out, but also making the work of rural artists known.

One of the problems with the teaching of Geometry has been that neither teachers nor learners have been able to see the relevance of the topic. By exposing teachers and learners to the material in a familiar context, as Africa meets Africa: Ndebele Women designing Identity does, they will quickly seethe relevance of Geometry to everyday life. A mathematics writer teacher trainer Jackie Scheiber has developed innovative Grade 9 learning content on the Theorem of Pythagoras; Besides illustrating the geometry of transformations and exposing learners to many different irregular polygons, the art of the Ndebele people illustrates a practical application of the Theorem of Pythagoras

‘From this home base programme Dr Esther Mahalngu has managed to draw interests of the world, as the Belvedre HIV/AIDS campaign, American singer John Legend and BMW to name a few. During the day workshops programme 10 schools were trained in the Nkangala district (Mpumalanga). The teacher guide and learner guide books illustrates four subjects, History, Mathematics, Visual Arts and English.

Africa Meets AfricaThe three master artists, Dr Esther Mahlangu, Sophie Mahlangu or Esfuer Mngunj visited schools to also introduce learners to the heritage and the practice of Ndebele art.’

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