Examining How the African Educational System Was Destroyed Under European Colonialism

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Before the coming of the Europeans to Africa, the African folks had a system

created in which to educate their youths. The Africans had an oral tradition of education

to pass down their cultural values. Through a series of rites of passage these children

were taught the various tribal laws and customs and also an assorted range of skills

needed to survive in pre-colonial society. These children were taught through oral

literature, consisting of myths and fables, the traditions of their culture. The student

would learn the basic cultural values through these stories. Sugarcane Alley, we see

Monsieur Meduse educating Hassan on their historical background through idioms,

proverbs, and oral literature explaining to
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This is done as

a part of the process by which these children become adults mentally, as well as

biologically. In his book, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe shows us how children were

educated without the influence of the white man

Here, Okonkwo educated his son, Nwoye, to the extent that he was able to fashion

out flutes from bamboo stems and even from the elephant grass. He knew the names

of all the birds and could set excellent traps for bush rats. And he knew the names of all

And he knew which trees made the strongest bows.

This shows us the type of educational system that existed to bridge the gap between

the adult generation and the youth. In contrast to this we see in Alan Paton's book,

Cry, The Beloved Country, how young South Africans were lured to Johannesburg by a

mythical assurance of wealth through education. They abandoned their families and

relatives breaking their traditional society, they find themselves in prostitution as was the

case of Stephen Kumalo's sister, Gertrude and his son, Absalom, who faced the claws of

death instructed by the judiciary.

Importantly, African traditional education achieves the same goals as any other

system of education. The traditional African educational system, in various forms, served

the needs of the African people much more than the colonial
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