During this quarter of 9th Grade African Literature, we studied folktales and poetry from various African countries, including Botswana, Rhodesia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria and Rwanda. Students wrote their own folktales and created illustrated chapbooks of poetry which shared with the class.
We read Nervous Conditions, a novel by Zimbabwe author Tsitsi Dangarembga that takes place in post-colonial Rhodesia. Nervous Conditions explores “…a girl’s coming of age and a compelling narrative of the devastating human loss involved in the colonization of one culture by another.” We discussed the issues of colonization, race, gender, assimilation, and family dynamics. Students were assigned an analytical essay based on the novel, and they worked on the writing process by utilizing a graphic organizer and converting it into a detailed outline. Then, they edited their rough drafts before finally submitting a final draft.
The culminating assessment was the Africa Project, which gave students an opportunity to explore various themes of Nervous Conditions, such as race, colonialism and gender, that depict life in Rhodesia in the 1960s. The assignment was to create an artistic piece such as a collage, painting, sculpture, illustrated children’s book or any other artistic medium that suited them and then to present their work to the class.
Below are two more examples of the students’ creations.