n South African Journal of Education - Valorising the voice of the marginalised : exploring the value of African music in education

Volume 31, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



I explore the role and value of African music in education, by drawing from a study of Grade 5 learners at a school in the Eastern Cape, which was designed to answer the question: Could Xhosa children in South Africa sing Xhosa indigenous songs significantly better than European folk songs? The experimental group received instruction in Xhosa indigenous songs accompanied by indigenous instruments. Instruction included traditional dancing, antiphonal singing technique and improvisation. The control group received instruction in European folk song singing accompanied by Orff instruments. The results of the study suggest that the Xhosa children sang the Xhosa repertoire expressively and significantly better than the European songs. Based on the findings, I argue for the inclusion of African music in education. The purpose of the research was to determine whether there is any significant development in the cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills of learners when taught African music as opposed to western European music. The aim was also to assist educators with meaningful pedagogical approaches and alternative methodologies to enhance an inclusive learning and cultural experience in music education.

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