n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - The role of indigenous song : a critique of the dominant discourse in education




This article explores the role and value of indigenous songs in education. The article draws from a study of grade five learners from a school in the Eastern Cape. The study 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 of Xhosa indigenous songs accompanied by indigenous instruments. The control group received instruction in European folk song singing accompanied by Orff instruments. Instruction included traditional dancing, antiphonal singing technique and improvisation.

The results of the study suggest that the Xhosa children sing the indigenous repertoire expressively and significantly better than the European songs. In this article I argue for the inclusion of indigenous songs in Arts and Culture Curricula.
The intention of this article is not to replace the existing European music and its instructional methodology that currently exist and prevail music curricula today. The primary focus is to add other meaningful pedagogical instructions through African indigenous music and dance that has been relegated for centuries in South African school.


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