n Africa Institute Occasional Paper - The imperative of African-centred curriculum in South Africa

Volume 2012 Number 16
  • ISSN : 0065-387X


This paper uses the author’s decade of undergraduate and graduate training in post-colony universities in South Africa to communicate the contested curriculum. In deconstructing educational training, it calls for an education system that has an African-centred curriculum for the simple reason that our country is on the African continent, is an African country, and humanity’s origins are in Africa. The people of the country should have knowledge first and foremost about themselves; their locale must form the foundation of learning about the knowledge systems of the others. 

Using Bob Marley’s lyrics, ‘None but ourselves can free our minds’, from ‘Redemption Song’ (1980 album, Uprising), it argues that the colonised student of African History and African Studies can, in his or her contestation of the curriculum, not only free his or her own mind, but can also free the minds of his or her teachers and the institutions of higher education and training in Africa, who are, in the first place, the colonising agents and institutions. 

As a consequence of slavery, colonisation and apartheid, what is defined in this paper as an African-centred education was marginalised in teaching and researching Africa. Thus, the focus of this paper is on African-centred education in the universities in South Africa.

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