Welcome back! In this blog, we will return to discussing the music video “Classic Man” by Jidenna. There was another significant moment in the video that caught my eye. As Jidenna is walking down the street early in the video, he notices two young, colored boys across the street about to get arrested. He walks over, intervenes, and talks to the police officers, who allow Jidenna to take the boys with him. He takes them under his wing and goes to a school, where he introduces them to topics like science, chess, math, karate, and etiquette, along with many other skills. In trying to relate this video to our class, I found myself wondering about the education system in Africa and how it might relate.
The first European missionaries in Africa set up Christian schools in the late 15th century, but they were not seen as widespread until around the 19th century. In the 1920s, the British implemented an “adapted education system” in Africa, which was modeled after the American school system that was segregated. This lead to Africans demanding more schools and better curriculum. They even started some of their own schools. With education as a top priority, they were focused on implementing universal primary education and better opportunities for secondary and higher education. The education of women and children was also given more attention. SAP’s, or Structural Adjustment Programs, worked towards less government control over social services; education, for example. I found this interesting because I would’ve expected it to be difficult to install proper education in Africa without government interference. Nongovernmental organizations still continue today to make education affordable and accessible to all (Decker).
Another interesting topic is in regards to the Bantu Education system in Africa. It was a system of apartheid that legally distinguished differences between education of whites and blacks. In 1964, an average of $16 was spent on each African student, while an average of $215 was spent on each white pupil. The Bantu Education Act of 1953 was very much against the black community in terms of apartheid laws and systems. It’s major point was to enforce racially separated educational environments. There continued to be a back-and-forth relationship between the school separations as the years went on. In 1974, the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 stated that both Afrikaans and English would be used as languages for instruction in schools. Then the Soweto Uprising of 1976 took place. This was an anti-apartheid protest led by black students as they boycotted the Bantu System, where close to 600 people died. The Education and Training Act of 1979 continued to racially segregate educational environments until the Interim Constitution of 1994, where the majority of sections from the Education and Training Act were repealed, declaring this segregation unconstitutional (Weeks).
To bring it back to class and the music video, I think that Jidenna really makes an effort to show how just because the boys in the video are of color, it doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the same opportunities and education as others, so he takes them to where they can explore those experiences, making a large impact and change in their lives. This is obviously such a broad topic that could be discussed to no end, so I encourage all of my readers to look further into it. It’s very interesting and there is so much to learn. See you next time!