MFL South Africa Day
The day began by learning some facts about the history and geography of South Africa. All were surprised to learn that there are 11 official languages in the country!!
Lecturers and students from the university talked about the opportunities for study at SOAS – ranging from musical appreciation (of African and Asian instruments) and a range of languages such as Zulu!
One of the lecturers explained about Mouth Bow instruments – the history behind their use and also how to play and achieve different tones just by changing the shape of your mouth.
The students also learned about the tradition of Gum Boot Dancing in South African culture which has now taken off as a modern trend across the globe. After watching clips of different dance troops, the students learned some moves themselves.
During the afternoon, the students learned about Xhosa, a language which uses clicking noises as an integral part. After practising, we sang two different songs in the language which were both beautiful sounds.
The day culminated in a performance of the GumBoot Dance and Xhosa songs in the main stairwell of the university as SOAS students looked on!
100% of the students fed back that they enjoyed the day – with 75% saying that it will make them appreciate the benefits of languages. All of the students were more aware of the South African culture with the majority enjoying finding out more about study at SOAS University.
"I learned more about the modern history of South Africa and about some of their languages and musical instruments. I've never really known much or had a desire to know anything about South Africa before but now I'd be really interested to learn more".
"I learnt that languages have a powerful impact and talking isn't the only thing. Sharing culture through dance and music is also fun. I learnt a lot about culture and the mouth bow instrument. The singing was quite good and we learnt a good few words in another language". Sophie Lim "i learnt how to pronounce African words by learning a song"