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African touch in schools

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African touch in schools

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ACROSS BARBADOS, primary schools are teaching their young charges all about their links with Africa.
It is Black History Month and the focus is again on Africa.
The SATURDAY SUN visited three schools – the Ann Hill School; Wesley Hall Primary and West Terrace Primary – to see what they were doing.
It was a lively time at Ann Hill on Thursday, with guests the Pinelands Creative Workshop dancing with the children and playing games.
The programme included singing, in which the students lustily participated; a libation; a fashion show; a tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and a “sing and sign” performance of the song Roar.
Committee chairman Wayne Ifill said the idea was to give the children a sense of their heritage.
“The purpose is to give the children knowledge of our heritage and the fact that our ancestors came from Africa, so we are featuring countries which have ties to Barbados and the Caribbean such as Nigeria where slaves were taken from and brought to the Caribbean,” he said.
Ifill said the children responded well to the music as many of them were stimulated by the rhythmic and infectious African beats.
“They look forward to it every year,” he said.
At West Terrace, the school invited two people from Africa who now live in Barbados and have children at the school to make presentations.
Dr Ngozi Iyare is originally from Nigeria and spoke about her role in the programme.
“I came to tell them about the Nigerian cultures and traditions. Some aspects are similar between the two countries such as foods but the ways they are prepared are quite different,” she said, adding she would also show the children traditional African dress.
The programme also included music from the Haynesville Youth Club using past and present students of the school as well as modelling; musical renditions by Anthony “Gabby” Carter  and Negro spirituals by the Spiritual Baptists.
Principal Beverley Burrowes said the aim was to give the students a “consciousness of the motherland”.
“We want to give them a sense of self-worth and an appreciation of their race as they don’t often see black as beautiful. It’s going well but next year we want to go bigger and better,” she said.
The theme at Wesley Hall was Uniting all Blacks through Film, Music, Education and Sports.
Committee chairman André Forde said they had focused on one aspect of the theme every week for the past four weeks.
In addition, she said the awareness activities were broken up among the four levels of classes with each class looking at a different country.  Class 1 looked at Madagascar; class two at Egypt; class three at Ghana and class four South Africa.
Forde said this was further broken down with each individual class looking at different aspects of each country. However, she said the major problem was with some parents.
“I am happy with how it is going but the biggest problem is some adults who don’t believe in African links, so the children sometimes reflect that. Our heritage is something that needs to be highlighted consistently,” she said. (CA)