Haji Chilonga, Desire, acrylic on canvas 30" x 23"
Haji Chilonga's talent is revered throughout East Africa. At home in Tanzania, he is celebrated for his longstanding mission to portray the lives of ordinary working-class Tanzanians. Tanzania is a special country in East Africa because it uses an African language, Kiswahili, as a language of local instruction in formal schooling. Meanwhile, Kenya, another Kiswahili-speaking country, has a policy of using English in formal schooling and Kiswahili is taught as a subject in primary and secondary schools.
I sat down with Prof. Sam Mchombo to discuss the current education systems in Africa. Prof. Mchombo gives a compelling case for the need to include local knowledge systems and local culture in the emerging education systems in contemporary Africa. He argues for using African languages as languages of instruction in schools. He maintains that other foreign languages should continue to be taught as subjects but African languages are best placed to help Africa increase literacy and further boost science, technology, engineering and math education.
Mugo chats with Linguist of African Languages Prof. Sam Mchombo