Exploring Ubuntu through music education

Grant type: Development (2000-08)
Round: May 2005
Completed: August 2008
Leader(s): Jenny Hughes
Organisation: University College Worcester
Contact Email: j.hughes@worc.ac.uk
Contact phone: 01905 855289
Address: Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ
Dorette Vermeulen
University of Pretoria
Franklin Lewis
Western Cape Education Department
Prof Caroline van Niekerk
University of Pretoria
URL: http://escalate.ac.uk/resources/ubuntu
Interim report received: 6 August 2008
Final report received: 6 August 2008

The notion of Ubuntu in Africa is variously interpreted; two possible meanings are ‘wholeness’ or ‘humaneness’. In South Africa, the development of the national curriculum in schools is closely allied to moving from what was formerly a very segregated society to one offering a sense of ubuntu to all. Music education plays its part; in 1998 South Africa hosted the International Society of Music educators’ conference. This was the first time that ISME had ever held a conference in Africa as a whole, and the notion of Ubuntu in music was internationally explored. Jenny Hughes gave a paper at this conference and was also invited to give workshops all over South Africa; as a result she gathered songs and teaching materials which she has used in her capacity as tutor at University College Worcester for ITE students at both primary generalist and secondary specialist music levels. She will be visiting South Africa again this summer on a study visit exploring Ubuntu in relation to both citizenship education and ITE courses, and afterwards giving music education workshops around the country again. She will collect further songs and teaching materials for dissemination back in England, exploring the idea of Ubuntu in music still further with South African teachers, students, and teacher educators. These materials will be added to the ESCalate website later in the year.