Contact person: Helene Smuts
Fax: + 27 (011) 622 7871

Africa meets Africa Founder Director Helene Smuts has been awarded an Ashoka fellowship.
She is also a finalist in the Americas Business Council (abc*) Foundation 2013 abc* Continuity Forum award, which facilitates the upscaling.of projects to the Americas.

Project mission:

The Africa meets Africa Project explores the southern African cultural heritage in the belief that educators and learners in South African schools can find solutions to contemporary learning problems in the knowledge and skills contained in familiar forms of cultural expression around them. This integrated approach to learning serves all South Africa’s educators, as current curriculum statements call for a process of holistic learning - and specifically for an engagement with the cultural context of learning areas such as the Arts, Mathematics, Language and History. We investigate and debate what is meant by the term Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS).

Nature of work and geographic area of operation:

The organisation produces a series of resource packs of interactive learning materials. These include a book and film as well as curriculum learning materials for the classroom. The Africa meets Africa Project also provides educator training and support in the use of the materials. Training facilitates an integrated teaching methodology in a range of learning areas such Mathematics, History, Language and Arts and Culture within the cultural context familiar to learners and educators.

In 2007, for example, the the Shuttleworth Foundation sponsored the implementation of the second resource in the series, Africa meets Africa: Making a Living through the Mathematics of Zulu Design, in selected KwaZulu Natal schools, both urban and rural. This implementation project was developed and managed by the Africa meets Africa Project in collaboration with the KwaZulu Natal Department of Education. The Africa meets Africa resources series will eventually include all indigenous language groups. The National Heritage Council and FirstRand has sponsored the latest two ventures in the Africa meets Africa series, titled Africa meets Africa: Ndebele Women designing Identity and Africa meets Africa: Pathways through the Interior.

In short, the Africa meets Africa Project aims to facilitate innovative thinking and effective teaching methodologies in South African schools by empowering educators to respond imaginatively and pragmatically to the needs and context of their learners. It does so by validating knowledge systems within existing traditions of cultural expression which in many cases are fast dying out.

By reintroducing indigenous arts skills in schools as learning methodology, traditions of making are sustained and explored in relation to cultural change. The Africa meets Africa Project embraces the dynamic nature of cultural expression.

Registration status:

Non Profit Company, registration number 2004/0076692/08 and registered as Public Benefit Organisation (registration number 037-722-NPO) in terms of the Non Profit Organisations Act 1997 (NPO ACT NO 71 of 1997), eligible under Section 18a and Section 30.