The African Educational Evolution: From Traditional Training to Formal Education

  •  Dama Mosweunyane    


This paper attempts to critically examine the approaches that were employed by Africans in their knowledge, skills and attitudes acquisition before, after and during colonialisation of the continent. The paper looks at three distinctive epochs from which the perfect understanding of how learning in Africa transformed could be concluded.

It is notable that there was a period before Africa got colonised, which was followed by the period during colonisation, before the independence of the continent. The position that is strongly advanced through this paper is that even before colonialism the African societies offered training to their members, which was characterized by the provision of survival skills to individuals who were supposed to selflessly serve their societies. Members of African societies learnt through their interaction with their physical and spiritual milieus, as evidenced by their design of tools which they used mostly in their agro activities and in fighting for resources. The other area in which learning took place was that of spirituality or mysticism, as some superstitious members of African communities were believed to have powers of communicating with their ancestors. As noted by Westerlund (1991), the belief in the ancestors is widespread in many African agricultural areas and like divinities and nature spirits, the spirits of ancestors are thought to be intermediaries between God and humankind. The main problem that this paper is intended to advance is that Africa is regarded by some people as having not had any form of education before the arrival of the colonialists and their educational establishments or organisations. This paper therefore raises an argument against this position.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4741
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-475X
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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