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David McClean explaining the sleeping situation of the slaves.

 
   

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Foundation School celebrates their African heritage

2/17/2010

By Tanya Lightbourne

Commemorating Black History Month by educating and reminding students about their African heritage, the Christ Church Foundation School presented “Let’s Celebrate Afrika”, on Tuesday at the school.

The Foundation School, along with various schools and community organisations, came together fusing their different depictions of what Africa represents to them and made various displays, African foods and products, traditional African clothing, played African games and even enjoyed playing and receiving lessons on the history of the African drums.

Principal of the Foundation School, Robert Cumberbatch, told students that we are dependent on events such as the “Let’s Celebrate Afrika” programme to inform us, not only to entertain, of what our heritage was like and what is happening in those African territories.

“We are bombarded on a regular basis by the various media about the mapping of the culture of the first world countries, USA and UK, and we may be misguided into believing that these are the only cultures that matter. Unfortunately, when we see other cultures, like African cultures, we are often shown the negative aspects which the press highlight. I hope that we will be more informed and have a better understanding of this aspect of our culture after today’s proceedings,” stated Cumberbatch.

Also leaving their stamp on the celebrations was the Commission for Pan African Affairs, as they presented an interesting depiction of what life was really like for a slave. Using actual artefacts from West Africa, students were shown how the master’s dinner table would have been arranged, the different types of torture methods that would have been used, medical instruments that were used by a veterinarian but were also used on the slaves, the sleeping arrangements made for the slaves and some historical masks from Haiti dating back over 200 years.

David McClean, from the Ministry of Education, speaking to the Barbados Advocate, explained that the Ministry of Education is trying to get away from the traditional “flat” course in history, straight from the textbook.

“Students kind of have a romanticise idea about what slavery was. What we have done is try to give them a visual, so that they might be able to salvage something from their own memory of what might have happened. Bringing real artefacts into the picture, we give them a ‘taste’ of what had taken place. The students have taken an interest in the exhibit; when they view the exhibition, they ask so many questions,” stressed McClean.

Creating awareness about Africa was the goal of invited guest to the celebrations, Sandra Ochieng’, a native of Kenya, who displayed her beautiful African garments, jewellery and artefacts. She also enlightened students of what Africa has to offer.

For those students interested in sewing, they got the opportunity to speak to Mrs. Jacqueline Marshall of “Spring Up”, which teaches sewing classes in custom African garments. With a great appreciation for African clothing shown within the past 10 years, Marshall said that she was able to open schools in Trinidad, New York and many in Malawi, Africa.

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