This chapter presents the research findings of the Majimaji project in Tanzania’s southern regions of Mtwara and Ruvuma to elucidate how the Majimaji War is taught in secondary schools, while reflecting on how that popular history survives as unofficial memory. The Majimaji War of 1904–1908 was a mass resistance against German colonialism in Tanzania and narratives pertaining to it have created a national epic and have been central to practices of commemoration of national heroism in defence of the country’s sovereignty. This chapter examines the history curriculum’s articulation of the Majimaji War as official history and compares it to the available unofficial narratives of the history of this war that are found among affected communities. It presents a contextualisation of history education in Tanzania, a reflection on the use and abuse of the Majimaji War as a significant event in the country’s history, and an argument about the contestation and appropriation of war memories. It discusses the challenges of teaching the Majimaji War as reflected in textbooks, teachers’ knowledge, teacher training, and local oral history against the backdrop of an overarching nationalistic project, and it reflects on how these aspects of history education are both useful and problematic.
This concluding chapter fleshes out and reflects on the positionality, premises and vision underpinning this book project and the journey undertaken towards its materialisation. It thereby also retraces some of the specific contributions made by each author and their respective chapters to the goals and visions embodied in this collective project. Conceived of as a fundamentally anti-colonial and decolonising act, this project is presented as seeking to counter the coloniality of knowledge under which history education currently exists by showcasing scholarship about, from and for Africa. It is regarded as a response to the large-scale marginalisation of Afrocentric history educationists and their knowledge from the spaces in which history education knowledge is produced, a condition which both alienates those excluded and makes little sense in an African context that is hardly ever considered.
The chapter explores the relationship between policy and practice in the representation of people with disabilities (PWDs) in Malawian junior-school history textbooks as a form of programmatic curriculum. Since 1994, when Malawi became a democracy, the government has developed policies that recognise the rights of PWDs in various aspects of life including education. Among them are policies emphasising the inclusion of PWDs in the curriculum and advocating inclusive education. The chapter analyses the representation of PWDs in four Malawian junior-school history textbooks and uses the medical and social models of disability to explore the extent to which the policy of inclusion of PWDs is adhered to in history curriculum development and textbook production. The study demonstrates the under-representation of historical characters with disabilities in the verbal text and their exclusion or marginalisation in the visual text, thus evincing a clear contradiction between policies and practices in history education with regard to inclusiveness. This exclusion or marginalisation and under-representation are attributable to both theoretical and cultural factors.
Doing oral history tasks in South African primary schools means that controversial issues are usually present, because differing memories of a contested past come alive. These are the “emotional elephants and other baggage” in the classroom, and this research focuses on how South African history teachers address controversial issues in practice in the post-apartheid era in this context. Adopting a qualitative methodology of narrative inquiry within an interpretive framework, this study uses a conception of a continuum of history teachers’ roles developed in an Irish context, then explores the similarities and differences in a South African context. The use of classroom observations and interviews with three teachers at different primary schools in Johannesburg during 2009–2011 reveal the different roles these teachers adopted when they used oral history tasks. This showed how the effects of racial identities from the past continue to affect teachers’ roles and the way controversial issues are dealt with in the history classroom. The chapter proposes an additional role to the continuum of teachers’ roles, namely, teachers as enablers. The results of this research indicate that the education of pre-service history teachers regarding the teaching of controversial issues needs to be reconsidered, which also has implications for ongoing teacher development. This study’s insights might be useful to history practitioners in other countries who are also grappling with their own contested pasts.
This study questions the inclusion of school history in a broader reflection on human rights issues. The teaching of the history of anti-apartheid movements is considered from the perspective of teaching about social change: its conditions and obstacles, its mechanisms, its actors, etc. An analysis of the ministerial prescriptions, teaching tools and teaching practices of the anti-apartheid movements in South Africa made it possible to identify the intentions of each and the ways in which knowledge was organised. The case study, carried out in three secondary-school history classes in Quebec (Canada), was also based on interviews and classroom observation. It relates the objectives pursued by teachers with regard to history teaching to what students retain from it during formal evaluations. The results point to the paramount importance that teachers seem to attach to their ministerial mandate and to “objective” knowledge about the past. Similarly, it appears that the issue of human rights is thought of in parallel with the teaching of history rather than simultaneously or jointly.
This paper stems from debates on the nature of the experiences that are ascribed to post-colonial Africa. On one hand, there is a tendency to focus on the negative, implying post-colonial Africa to be a failure, while, on the other, some emphasise the positive experiences that make it a success story. History textbooks, as purveyors of state-legitimated knowledge, are caught in this quandary of representation. This chapter aims to analyse and understand, through a qualitative approach and a critical discourse analysis (CDA) methodology, how selected South African history textbooks verbally and visually represent the experiences of post-colonial Africa. The analysis shows that while the textbooks represent mixed experiences of post-colonial Africa, they seem to suggest that these experiences are, to a large extent, negative. It further demonstrates the articulation of the concept of dual assumption in representation discourses, in which positive experiences are ascribed to a few countries – like the Maghreb and South Africa – even when they have negative experiences, while negative experiences in general seem to be ascribed to tropical Africa.
Since the turn of the century, debates around the teaching and representation of the re-unification of Cameroon have dominated national headlines. History education has been highly instrumental in fanning the flames of this controversy through conflicting historical interpretations. A significant aspect of this controversy is the fact that the history curriculum in the Francophone sub-system of education stipulates the teaching of re-unification at the classes de terminale, but the history textbook adopted for use at that level is largely silent on the topic. Against this backdrop, we employed qualitative content analysis and Thomas Huckin’s theory of manipulative silence to analyse the implications of silence on re-unification in a Francophone Cameroon school history textbook. The chapter is informed by a premise that what is absent from the textbook is as powerful as what is represented in it. The findings revealed that the principles of intentionality (to diminish the importance of the topic), deception and advantage as well as the socio-political sensitivity of the topic are important variables for explaining the limited textual coverage on re-unification. Situating the textbook in the bigger picture of re-unification tension supports the view of textbooks serving ideological rather than purely pedagogic functions.
This chapter investigates, through in-depth interviews, the “emotion discourse” of Rwandan secondary-school history teachers in relation to the genocide experienced by this country, the teaching of which is expected of schools as part of a nation-building project that aims at the eradication of internalised colonial identities in favour of national unity and reconciliation. The study points to the determining role of the associated emotions in shaping, and often constraining, teaching and learning experiences related to the genocide and its history. Having uncovered teachers’ profound apprehension towards the potentially adverse sequelae of uncontrolled classroom discussions, the chapter identifies teachers’ application of a multifaceted regulatory strategy of deliberate selectiveness and limited disclosure. The pedagogical choices made around the mediation and management of student exposure to traumatising content, the performance of neutrality, and the manufacture of unity and consensus alongside the neutralisation of perceived illegitimate narratives all reflect facets of this strategy in action. The study ultimately evidences the need to better support Rwandan history teachers in adequately addressing the challenges and multidirectional societal demands they might encounter in this post-colonial, post-conflict context.
Racial justice remains a key concern for societies across the globe as processes of decolonisation extend into realms of education and culture as well as politics and economics. Societies across Africa, Europe and the Americas still endure the challenges of systemic racism and their young people need to be educated about its historic roots. The South African apartheid system and its resistance struggles have much to contribute to the history curriculum in global societies. This study considers one historical inquiry for secondary school learners that attempted to interrupt the usual master narrative seen in many schools, in which Mandela and Verwoerd play out a Manichaean struggle. Lesser actors, Beyers Naudé, an Afrikaner church minister, and Robert Sobukwe, a Black African teacher, were the central figures in the inquiry lessons and their ethical positions were considered in nuanced ways. The study reports on the teaching of the inquiry in two racially diverse schools, one in South Africa and the other in England. Both curriculum and pedagogy had important impacts on the learners, whose accounts form the data for the study, including challenges connected with identity and race.