Relearning our History – a fascinating and inspiring workshop!

On July 27th, 2017, posted in: Academic, Featured, Grade 10, History, News by

SOUTHERN AFRICAN HISTORY FROM 1750 – 2017

Mancala Day was a vibrant and exciting way to tackle and introduce the topic of Southern Africa history. The original and engaging introduction not only caught our attention, but held it for longer than any other history lesson ever could. Our minds never drifted and we were constantly conscious of what was being said, wanting to know more and more.

We began our morning by settling into our various groups and being introduced to Ms Sutton and Dr Kate Angier. It was wonderful to have Ms Sutton with us once again and an absolute treat to have Dr Angier join us. Their enthusiasm and radiant smiles warmed us all  on that cold winter’s morning. We got a chance to discuss what our goals were for the morning, what we wanted to gain from the experience and what we wanted to leave with at the end of our session. It seemed that growth, understanding, fun and a multi-perspective view was the common goal among us all, and Ms Sutton and Dr Angier did not fail to deliver.

We then proceeded to move on to our activities where we sifted and sorted through different pieces of ‘evidence’ and try to place it on a map of Southern Africa according to the geographical area and time. On the same geographic note we tried to put together the map of present day Africa, in the form of a puzzle, in pairs. Not only did this test our knowledge of African countries (we were all a bit surprised to find out just how large the Democratic Republic of Congo is) but it also brought out our competitive nature which made things a lot more interesting.

We also played the ancient African game of Mancala which was loads of fun, regardless of whether or not we were actually following and understanding the rules of the game. We found it interesting to see how a game that had existed for longer than any of us had been alive could still be so fun and enjoyable.

“It was interesting especially coming face to face with the reality of how long people have lived in Southern Africa before the Europeans or even the Khoikhoi,” is what Kaley Appleton had to say about the recent Mancala Day. This just goes to show that even though we live in Southern Africa most of us are still quite ignorant about our long past and who occupied the land before the Khoikhoi. The fun and interactive games and activities not only made us realize how little we knew about our own long past but also started rectifying that fact by educating us.

After we had our fun we went back to the hard work and pulled out our timelines and began plotting dates on a much bigger timeline on the wall and we were all quite taken aback at how certain time periods and eras could be so close to each other geographically and yet so far apart within the means of development, tools and resources. It was also interesting and important to learn how time periods did not just end on one day and  new one start the next,  but that it rather takes time and that they overlap while making progress- as we all know, change takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the stone walling in Great Zimbabwe.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end so the lesson ended with one final round of Map Blitz and Mancala, saying our goodbyes and thanks to our wonderful teachers for the morning and then sent off to our other lessons tasked with homework that was to reflect in our diaries we had been entrusted with. Mancala Day opened our eyes and helped us see Southern African history in a different light which made us think and want to know more so that we could understand more and go out and educate others about what we had learnt too. It was a wonderful experience that was surprising and engaging and introduced the section in a lovely new way and for that we are extremely grateful.

Kimber Jacobs and Erin Daries
Grade 10 History learners