Including Indigenous Praise Poetry in the FET Band Curricula Can Benefit Learners in the 21st Century
Keywords:CAPS, identity crisis, social ills, social cohesion , imvelogy affirmation , historiology (historiography) , Ubuntu/Botho, revisionism, indigenous praise poetry
Indigenous praise poetry is an appropriate and relevant genre to be taught in the 21st century to address the challenges of peer pressure, identity crisis and social ills amongst the youth today. Apart from solving their challenges, it offers pedagogic values related to their imvelogy, historiology (historiography), discipline and employability. When the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) document talks about poetry (not indigenous praise poetry), it refers to modern poetry. It is the opinion of the author that the exclusion of indigenous praise poetry from the language curriculum for all African Home Languages in the Further Education and Training (FET) band could be one of the factors contributing towards immoral behaviour amongst the youth today, especially Black youth. Teaching praise poetry can be a useful tool in branding the cultural identity of the youth. It can also be useful in branding their clan names and praises. Furthermore, it can help to preserve their language, culture and heritage, as well as to discredit pervasive misconceptions amongst them that their praises are a passé subject—dead and uninteresting. It is worth noting that praise poetry has been in existence since time immemorial and that it is engraved in the DNA of every Black African child because it defines who we are as African people. By exploring the relevancy of praise poetry today, the article takes a helicopter view in order to broaden its knowledge on how praises are significant at different stages of the African child’s life. When a child is born, or graduates (from an initiation school or an academic institution), as well as on his or her wedding day or at his or her funeral, praises are recited to further affirm, connect and bind him/her to the ancestors. Clan names and praises are a direct connection for Africans to the ancestral spirit world and they give a sense of acknowledgement and belongingness to the clanship. This article confirms that praise poetry forms part of the rituals of the African child. It looks at the pedagogic and normative role of indigenous praise poetry in the African Language curriculum and it employs qualitative and documentary analysis of the CAPS document as its research methods. The article aligns itself with revisionist and constructivist theory to arrive at the research outcomes.
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