“We Are Born Like That”: Unpacking an Indigenous African Cultural Practice as a Community Learning Place





Afrocentrism; African indigenous learning; culture; place; learning


In Africa it is a challenge for Africans to find their own culture’s relevance. Practising African indigenous ceremonies is frowned upon, viewed as barbaric and unchristian. According to this perspective, African indigenous knowledge has no relevance to education, religion and politics. Using the Afrocentric discourse this paper analysed and critiqued an African cultural practice called Ukuhlanza amagceke (“cleansing the yard”) as a learning place through the use of participatory learning action and photovoice in participatory research. The research found the practice to be a site of multiple indigenous African learning for the local community at individual and collective levels, facilitated consciously and unconsciously through non-formal and informal learning processes. It concludes that participation in the cultural practice for the locals is empowering and promotes indigenous knowledge systems and Ubuntu. However, this place of learning is under threat from internal and external factors. The paper makes recommendations with regard to a critical evolution of cultural practice because there is a need to build more organically on community-based knowledge and learning processes if community development interventions or research are to bring about authentic change in a rural African context.

Author Biography

Zamo Hlela, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Zamo Hlela is a lecturer in the Adult Education Discipline.



How to Cite

Hlela, Zamo. 2019. “‘We Are Born Like That’: Unpacking an Indigenous African Cultural Practice As a Community Learning Place”. Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 29 (2):15 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/1016-8427/4826.



Received 2018-09-16
Accepted 2019-07-26
Published 2019-11-22