Drama as a means of education in Africa

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University of Dar es Salaam
Contemporary African educators have advocated for the elimination of the colonial inherited educational models and to replace them with a system relevant to the needs of Africa. There can be met by directly referring to the entire background of her experience, particularly with reference to the system of aesthetics and pedagogy. True education trains and clients’ the senses and therefore the African background constitute the staple reference to the education of her youth. Since the African is surrounded by an artistic world, the burden of this dissertation is to illustrate through analysis and comparison and concrete examples what drama has been and still remains the most immediately effective method of instruction. True and lasting education actively involves the learner in the learning process; and drama prepares the ground, defines the goals for experimentation and eventual execution. The study embodies results of research through interviews, library and archival work in various parts of Africa, and an analysis of traditional and modern African performing arts. The subject is extensive and demands an acquaintance with the entire range of aesthetics and pedagogy on the continent. Tempting as it is to range so far and wide, this study limits the scope by focusing on those societies in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and southern Africa of which I have personal experience and adequate knowledge. The dissertation is not a description of current practices in education, nor is it on evaluation of the role of the performing arts, but is an attempt to re-orient and re- direct creative and pedagogical endeavors so as to narrow and minimize the gap that exists between artistic expression and educational practice. Consequently, the study is structured to reflect the ideas and suggestions behind it with the purpose of stimulating a purposeful debate among practitioners of creative dramatics in education. The first chapter reflects the ideas and thoughts of African scholars seeking to Africanize education so that its content and methods will be relevant to Africa’s religious, social, economic cultural and political aspirations. The second chapter examines and analyses the literature of scholars and creative dramatics with the view to reveal their convictions and beliefs of the utility and role of drama in traditional and contemporary education. That there are similarities and differences in the African and western concepts of drama has been established therefore chapter three discusses primarily the concept of African drama and its role in the education of the youth. There is a close relationship between chapters four and five which both discuss the traditional, contemporary and transformed dramas to illustrate their use in the education of young people. The concluding chapter attempts to suggest new areas of research linked with drama. The references used in the study and the additional select biography are intended for the benefit of aspiring and practicing creative dramatists not withstanding limitations in the study, positive principles emerged from it. Drama in education develops in the child self- confidence and poise lasting education in through active participation, and the successful transformed African traditional drama has great potential in various educational programmers for those adventurous and enterprising creative practitioners.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF PN3171.L4)
Education, Africa, Drama in education
Leshoai, B. L (1978) Drama as a means of education in Africa, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam