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Spring 2023

Claudia Budzyn, "Postcolonial Influence on Environmental Education in Southern Africa" [Article]

Abstract 

Tensions between Indigenous knowledge and Western-style education characterizes postcolonial influence on environmental education in Southern Africa. Indigenous cultural practices and ideals, such as uMunthu, have been suppressed and undervalued during colonial rule and continue to be marginalized in formal education systems. Dynamic incorporations of Southern African cultural traditions into environmental education programs strove to acknowledge and revitalize local cultures and values. However, this integration faced challenges, such as the need for recognition of cultural norms as a legitimate form of knowledge and limited resources in education systems. This paper lays the foundation of the philosophical colonization of the Indigenous mind, postcolonial education influences, analysis of environmental education in Southern Africa, and political government policy impacts. Recent study examples explore various teachers’ integration of environmental education and local ecological knowledge into the curriculum of secondary schools in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Assimilation efforts of place-based education resulted in students’ stronger understanding of their countries’ traditions and cultural ideals while building a valuable comprehension of western educational lessons. Understanding the historical background, current socio-economic issues, and recent practices in the study prove how the development of environmentally responsible citizens in Southern Africa continues to be shaped by the legacy of colonialism and the ongoing struggle for cultural recognition and environmental justice. 

Although African countries gained independence in the 1960s, formerly colonized nations in the Southern African region continue to face Western impacts during the present postcolonial era. These impacts entail pressuring native individuals’ epistemological views, perspectives, and stances.  While Western discourses influence Indigenous societies, and colonial control marginalizes local indigenous individuals’ education through political and economic constraints, these  communities are resisting these influences through practices of environmental education. Environmental education serves as a guide by allowing students to explore environmental issues, engage in local problem solving, and take action to improve their homes. South African cultural values and beliefs about the environment tend to differ  from those of Western societies. Postcolonial theory provides a political and economic basis to compare Western thought or other sub-Saharan African beliefs, while examining the ways in which colonial control marginalizes local indigenous individuals’ education through political and economic constraints. Application of the theory to  environmental education improves students’ relationship with their natural environments, while supporting stronger safety measures in towns, and enabling a remembrance of the indigenous society’s cultural values. Although there are challenges in incorporating Indigenous knowledge into the environmental education curriculum, resolutions can be proposed through government policies and additional economic resources to mitigate potential issues. 

This paper reviews postcolonial theory as an influencing framework regarding environmental education in Southern Africa. In the first of six sections of the paper, I provide a brief history of Africa’s colonization and the West’s motives. The second section subsequently discusses colonization’s effects on education and Indigenous cultures, including uMunthu. The third section reviews postcolonial theory of Southern African environmental education learning applications with recent studies and data. The fourth section highlights place-based learning and its benefits to the community from support of a case study. The fifth section explains the future implications of incorporating Indigenous knowledge, such as uMunthu ideals and modern teachings, into an improved environmental education system. Lastly, I conclude that the assimilation of Indigenous culture, despite financial and political constraints, can be successfully incorporated into the environmental education curriculum. 
 

Western Motives of Africa’s Colonization 

European countries, including Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Britain, strove to build colonies in Africa during the late 1880s (Abdi, 2005). Figure one illustrates the geographic location of these colonized countries in the South African region.

Figure 1 Southern African Region (Finlayson 2016) 

Colonizers wanted to take control of the lands to bolster national prestige and gain resources for profit. At the beginning of and throughout the era of colonialism, humanitarian intentions, such as missionaries, traveled with an imperialist agenda. In 1888, all seven countries met at the Berlin Conference to decide how to divide Africa among themselves (Adu, 1971). The European countries’ participation and engagement fostered little or no consideration for preserving the religious, ethnic, social, political, or cultural unity of the affected African people or regions (Ngoh, 1995).

Nevertheless, many Western countries striving to colonize believed they were helping foreign lands. Imposing their economic and cultural standards on “developing” countries was seen to save them from their Indigenous ways. In the United States, for example, during President Harry Truman’s inaugural address in 1949, he announced that America would bring “...a major turning point in the long history of the human race…” by developing the third world (Truman, 1949). His statement conveys that the United States serves as the standard every other country should aspire to meet. The “underdeveloped” areas were seen as objects of elite benevolence rather than individual lands with unique passions, interests, and beliefs. Although colonialism and imperialism are no longer practiced in South African countries, their continued effects on education, governance, agriculture, law, policy, and other practices remain. 

Colonization of the Indigenous Mind 

Western imperial powers formed colonies by continually justifying the subjugation of Indigenous peoples. The book Orientalism by Edward Said goes into depth about the knowledge disparities and cultural shifts between two global divides: imperialist countries and the colonized states. Said highlights the origin of the accepted norm that the most powerful nations were the Western countries during this period (Said 1978). Through the perspective of distinctly separating the two groups, the colonizers “othered” colonized individuals. The lens of “othering” provided a hierarchical and dualistic order. Therefore, colonies were thought to need the West’s advancement, justifying the European colonizer’s behavior. Literature during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries even portrays Africans as brutish, ignorant, idle, crafty, treacherous, bloody, thievish, mistrustful, and superstitious (Biakolo, 1998). Many scholars believe dividing both civilizations and labeling them as radically different from one another helped Western countries justify their subjugation. 

Additionally, colonialism conquered not only Indigenous lands, but also their epistemologies. Since western people believed their nations were superior, they also regarded their religion, culture, ideals, and so on as supreme. Many colonized African individuals felt ashamed and coerced to change their practices due to decades of mistreatment and racism (Mulenga, 2001). Eventually, most of the population accepted their way of life as inferior and their capabilities holding lesser value. Under postcolonialism, many Southern African societies still follow this mindset. For example, a research interview conducted by an Elder in rural Kenya stated, “'What could you learn from me, an old woman with no education? I cannot speak English…What do I know except to hold my hoe…I am sure you have not come all this way to learn about that'” (Wane, 2000). This statement proves the Elder does not feel competent enough because she did not have a “formal” education. Thus, proving colonization continues beyond territorial invasion by affecting people’s worldviews, minds, and perceptions. 

Colonialism and Education 

As mentioned previously, Western colonialism greatly impacted Indigenous belief systems and way of life. Throughout the imperialist period, colonial education percolated throughout many Southern African countries, leading to drastic changes in solid beliefs, such as names, languages, environment, heritage, unity, and thought processes (Rwomire, 1998). Colonial education weakened traditional African societies by pushing for individualistic Western values. Specifically, Western values use rationalistic and individual approaches to formulate their human identity. This approach is illustrated in the Cartesian mantra: “I think, therefore I am” (Mbiti, 1969). Adversely, Southern African education followed the faith of humanism from uMunthu. The concept of uMunthu stems from practicing mutual respect for others through care, understanding, empathy, and humaneness. This belief is grounded in an understanding that all people are interconnected, should contribute to others, and must practice reciprocity and responsibility. Unlike the Cartesian mantra, uMunthu asserts, “I am because we are, and because we are, therefore, I am” (Mbiti, 1969). 

Many believe uMunthu follows anthropogenic ideals because it focuses on human needs, yet scholars argue that it instead follows nature (Le Grange, 2012). The meaning of life cannot differ from nature since uMunthu centers on the totality of life. For example, nature aids human growth by providing all necessary goods, such as food, sunlight, water, air, and other resources (Le Grange, 2012). Hence, nature and human beings are interdependent and woven into “one fabric of life.” The belief of uMunthu not only focuses on humans, but the relationship between people and the life surrounding them. 

After colonial independence, African governments invested heavily in educational diversification and expansion. Many school districts continued purchasing print-based literacy systems to retain Western knowledge and ideologies (Sharff, 2007). Therefore, the governments did not successfully progress to indigenize their education using Western learning techniques. Instead, the school curriculum emulated Eurocentric terminology and pedagogy of instruction. An elementary teacher in Malawi criticized their school structure by asserting, “Our education system seems to move farther and farther away from indigenous knowledge. There is no attempt at any level to examine the indigenous knowledge systems awareness of the essential interrelatedness of all phenomena – physical, biological, psychological, social, and cultural” (Ntuli, 2002). 

Postcolonial Education Influences 

The effects of colonialism on education are persistent throughout many Southern African countries. Various African scholars examine the counter-hegemonic tactics, including postcolonial theory, to analyze its continued impact (Said 1978). The postcolonial theory emerged from literary studies through its critiques, analyses, and past historical events. The theory focuses on rethinking the institutional, cultural, legal, conceptual, and other boundaries originating from Western ideologies as structural barriers. Many scholars view the postcolonial period as “decolonizing the mind” by changing the mindset to challenge dominant Western ways of thinking (Thiong’o, 1986). However, embodied and institutionalized practices must also be altered to decolonize a nation. In order to follow a culture’s strongest beliefs and practices, societies must refuse dominant practices of power and languages that divide countries from inferior to superior or developing to developed. 

The postcolonial agenda establishes a structure that decenters dominant frameworks and creates opportunities for marginalized groups to form alternatives and speak against dominant discourse. In Southern Africa, many follow a postcolonial view by unlearning aspects of “white privilege” and deficit thinking along with national and global contexts (Lavia, 2007). Nevertheless, a change in mindset is not only about deconstruction and criticism of past events. Colonized countries need to reconstruct and transform their society to liberate themselves from colonial imposition. 

Growing economically and socially as a nation enables the adoption of Indigenous environmental education. For example, many governments in Southern African communities strive to follow a Western African concept: Sankofa. Sankofa is translated as “it is good to go back and get what you forgot.” Many educational institutions currently use Sankofa to root positive aspects of Indigenous thought in the school curriculum, while instilling other Western ideas and technologies. Hence, Sankofa suggests that people return to their roots to progress (Tedla, 1995). Under Sankofa, whatever has been lost or forgotten can also be reclaimed, revived, and reaccepted. Many towns and villages use this practice by reaching back to older traditions and gathering the best aspects of the past, so people can reach their full potential moving forward. 

Postcolonial Analysis of Environmental Education in Southern Africa 

After defining and explaining the postcolonial theory, I present its impacts on environmental education in Southern Africa. Five themes serve as the framework for environmental education: Indigenous knowledge (traditions), curriculum or pedagogy, language, institutional representation, and biodiversity conservation. Despite these themes holding different scopes, they share a common goal to promote individuals’ understanding of their environment and empower them to express their views. After analyzing and examining previous academic studies, I recognize that these five themes successfully provide a framework because they collectively increase people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment, develop necessary skills to address challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible action. Using various academic journals, like Environmental Education Research and the South African Journal of Environmental Education, I examine existing research in Southern African contexts of environmental education that draws on the postcolonial theory. 

Due to decades of influence, it is not surprising that many knowledge systems are subjugated. The lack of Indigenous knowledge in education systems stems from three main problems based on previous research and analysis of South African school systems. The key issues include continued forms of neocolonialism, ratification of Indigenous knowledge, and lack of integration growth. Scholars suggest that Africa and other parts of the colonized world bestride colonialism, postcolonialism, and neocolonialism within globalization discourse (Neluvhalani, 2004). Individuals define Indigenous knowledge as tacit and contextual instead of practicing methods as objective and universal. Scholars suggested using the term “Indigenous knowing” rather than “Indigenous knowledge” to avoid considering knowledge as an object, not the socio-historical context of cultures (Neluvhalani, 2004). Establishing this difference helps countries engage in abstract ideas, embed traditions in daily life, or reappropriate past wisdom into educational contexts. 

Additional environmental integration obstacles exist concerning Indigenous approaches. School systems tend to use knowledge regarding the positive construction of the culture and limit the potential for authentic traditional knowledge to mainstream into curriculums. Some scholars propose using reintroduction to advocate epistemological relativism (Price, 2005). Implementing this solution would allow dynamic and non-empirical beliefs, such as spirituality, to be accepted into the community. Using these techniques would assist stronger ethical outcomes rather than critiquing themselves using previous influences from Western epistemology. 

Furthermore, poor integration of worldviews and hybridized knowledge creates the divide between vital environmental education curricula. Many scholars explain that Southern African education often incorporates Eurocentric views and lacks the assimilation of Indigenous ideas (Glasson, 2010). A third hybrid space can be used to grow cultural practices while moving away from rigid frameworks imposed by Western science. More assertive representation will help validate communities’ understanding of nature and cultural beliefs. Therefore, local Indigenous teachings provide meaning to individuals’ ideals, while reconstructing Western ideas into everyday experiences of the natural world. New interpretations of science further the goal of developing a third space to intersect languages, knowledge, and culture by merging cultures (Bhabha, 1994). 

Moreover, questions about the prevalence and hegemony of English as the exclusive language of learning in Southern African nations create discourse in various environmental subjects. For instance, Elsie Cloete argues in her study that English serving as a metalanguage does not establish a connecting bridge reflecting Africa’s conserved natural environment, tourism, nature documentaries, and environmental education at the expense of Indigenous cultural practices, language, and knowledge (Cloete, 2011). Many African terms do not translate into English in a way that encourages understanding. English often suppresses traditional literature on the natural environment, cultural resources, and past social phenomena as a dominant form of communication. Often, Western literature stifles these concepts by developing other narratives about conservation, ownership, and animals. Practicing the colonizer’s language in the postcolonial era diminishes cultural heritage by disconnecting self and national identity. 

Lack of institutional representation also relates to insufficient Indigenous knowledge in environmental education studies. Research on institutional hegemony, such as “Indigenous knowledge: A genealogy of representations and applications in developing contexts of environmental education and development in southern Africa,” examines how modern constitutional governments continue to dismiss the historical legacy of Indigenous practices (Shava, 2008). Many governments and school members are not educated in traditional Southern African principles. Hence, public interventions by Eurocentric institutions endorse higher value to Western knowledge, rather than cultural beliefs. In turn, institutions displaced Indigenous knowledge, silenced the voices of local individuals, and continued the subjugation of previous stems (Shava, 2008). Organizations must create enabling spaces to include cultural ideals to mitigate increases in exclusion and marginalization. 

The current inaccurate construction of biodiversity conservation reflects the continuation of Western environmental education lessons. Communities follow traditional practices that guide their understanding of animal and plant species (Mokuku, 2004). Years of Saharan wisdom serve as a strong foundation of humans and nature’s epistemological physical, and spiritual interconnections. Integrating Indigenous theories and epistemologies into the hybrid postcolonial environmental education curriculum assists conservation of lands (Impey, 2006). Active recovery of land, natural resources, and the surrounding environment creates an integrated and inclusive paradigm for environmental learning. South African communities currently strive toward a progressive, transformative education process by reforming social reform in broader, modern, and globalized approaches. 

Political Governmental Policy Affecting Environmental Education 

School districts and government officials find difficulties when formulating lesson ideas and plans for curriculum development. For African countries, like Botswana, these difficulties manifest in policy implementation constraints of environmental education integration in the school criteria. Lack of information relayed to teachers causes issues in scheduling and a shortage of resources for the best conservation practices. Many schools only teach environmental education because they are mentioned in other Western science themes and not because they are government-mandated. In fact, Mphemelang Kethoilwe (2011) reported in “Foucauldian Genealogy as Research Framework in Environmental Education Policy Research” that sixty percent of teachers are involved in environmental education lessons because it is previously included in social studies concepts. Due to mandated syllabi given by government officials, it is not the teacher’s responsibility to promote environmental education in the curriculum. 

In 1994, Botswana developed its “Revised National Policy on Education” for the government to provide an equitable distribution of resources to school districts (Botswana, 1994). Some resources include textbooks, writing utensils, desks, and so on. However, geo-spatial technologies are highly limited in secondary schools, although they are typically used in environmental lessons. For instance, GPS technology allows students to engage in problem-solving and explore social data with attitudinal changes (Barnett, 2013). The policy report intended to go beyond increasing environmental awareness and comprehension by changing curriculum format to behavior changes. The report also recommended that the Ministry of Education produce a plan of action titled the National Environmental Education Strategy and Action Plan (Botswana, 1993). Policy endeavors want to incorporate Indigenous thought into lessons while continuing to teach Western scientific principles. However, an appropriate level of lesson integration in both Indigenous and Eurocentric concepts is necessary to develop a successful hybrid approach. Therefore, amalgamating both educational approaches provides the best framework for South African prosperity in their global political and economic climate.

Indigenous Learning Application to Environmental Education 

Having defined the historical events, background, and theory framework, I explore the value of incorporating local environmental knowledge into the school curriculum using place-based lessons. Younger students’ ability to think critically builds a solid relationship between the natural environment and education. Shifting the educational framework allows students to establish an ecological identity and awareness of natural resources. Moreover, I discuss how place-based education and education policy resolve concerns previously introduced  by postcolonial critiques of education. 

Many scholars and historians analyzing education in Southern Africa provide hope for implementing place-based learning to redress the implications of its colonial past. Place-based education enhances student’s learning opportunities about local environments and communities. This teaching approach allows students to connect with real-world experiences by drawing connections to their identities and appreciating their lands (Sobel, 2005). For example, “The Future of Citizen Science” contends that teachers who work alongside community members to understand cultural practices and the intersection of community life boost student achievement and deepen local knowledge (Mueller, 2014). The study found that lessons integrating environmental education, like references to local areas, habitual fauna, flora, or resource management topics, helped students acknowledge and celebrate South African culture, lifestyle, and activities. 

Case Study Analysis 

Researchers striving to learn the advantages of environmental place-based education conducted a case study in the panhandle of the Okavango Delta. This district in Botswana is considered a historical village and heritage site because of its abundant natural resources and tourist attractions. Researchers Velempini, Smucker, Randolph, and Martin, conducted interviews in a secondary school, located in Okavango Delta titled, “Environmental Education in Southern Africa: a case study of a secondary school in the Okavango Delta of Botswana” (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph 2017). Researchers conducted qualitative inquiry by interviewing community members, teachers, educational authorities, and observation of thirty-four classroom students. Their research observed how Indigenous methodologies are adopted into a decolonizing theoretical framework during environmental lessons. Researchers observed the potential value of place-based education that supports Indigenous knowledge that already faces influences of colonial legacy. 

After collecting and organizing the data, the researchers identified two themes from the inquiry analysis: teachers’ efforts to integrate environmental education and constraints towards integration implementation. One of the interviewed subjects, an agriculture teacher named Ms. Ellen, mentioned aspects of the sub-Saharan landscape in her lessons. She explained, “‘Planning for lessons is difficult. The examples given in textbooks were also difficult to understand by students. There are rumors that students in rural villages fail examinations more than students in towns. I think the reason is that this textbook has a lot of examples that are found in towns. There is not much from rural villages” (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph, 2017). Ms. Ellen includes local environmental knowledge into her teaching curriculum that students can relate to. Teachers’ efforts to include local environmental knowledge use various daily life examples in students’ communities. Many of her students live near Kaptura settlements and see sandy soil habitats. Therefore, she often gives examples to crop fields similar to their homes. 

Another interview subject, Mr. Titus, a math teacher, uses animals living in the region when calculating speed and time problems (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph 2017). Given the local context in the Okavango Delta, he taught his students that if a cheetah travels fifty meters in two seconds, students can calculate the distance traveled in total time taken as twenty-five meters per second. Additionally, Mr. Pule, an English teacher, taught lessons using poems from the book “Let Me Be – a Junior Anthology of Poetry” containing elements of the student’s local environment (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph 2017). One poem illustrated aspects of water, reeds, fisherman, and a swan. In the Okavango Delta, many local workers construct fences and huts using reeds that they harvest from the nearby river. Other occupations in the village also serve as fishermen, where they catch fish in small-scale businesses. Therefore, using poetry about the surrounding lands in the classroom highlights the importance of natural resources. Ranges of courses, including agriculture, language, and mathematics, incorporate environmental aspects into daily lessons. Integration efforts help students draw connections between their daily life, activities, and cultures while learning quantitative Eurocentric skills. 

Environmental Education Application Benefits 

Learning about the local environment helps community members connect with the nature surrounding them. One major issue in South African countries relates to human-wildlife conflict. For example, parents in the Sekondomboro village often warn their children and family about the dangers of elephant village invasions. When interviewed, one parent mentioned, “‘During this time around 13:00 p.m. you can find elephants close to where we cultivate crops. In the past, they destroyed the crop field of my mother. The compensation from the government is just too low to feed us’” (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph, 2017). Roaming elephants pose a risk to students who commute on foot from their villages to school. There were various incidents of animal interference deaths in the Okavango Delta. One student in class mentioned that his cousin was hit and killed by an elephant in his crop field. Other native animals, including guinea fowls, quelea birds, and wild dogs are also troublesome to villages. Since people live adjacent to wildlife in the Sub-Sahara, understanding resource management and emergency preparedness in the school curriculum is critical to preventing dangerous interactions. Increasing their knowledge of local natural resources by applying more comprehensive experiences benefits students and families outside the classroom. For example, a student originally learns about the importance of littering, throwing away garbage properly, and the repercussions pollutants have on the environment. Then, the young child teaches their parents to not pollute by throwing trash in public areas, but rather recycle generated waste. A stronger understanding of environmental principles or practices allows individuals to apply concepts, such as waste management, to their homes and communities, thus generating a positive feedback loop.

Beyond safety concerns related to human-wildlife interaction, learning more about the local environment provides the knowledge needed to work in the safari tourism industry. Higher education provides students with potential careers as resource managers, safari tourists, interpretive guides, and other professional opportunities (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph, 2017). Thus, applying indigenous exercise can provide potential future economic stability for students. On a larger scale, applying environmental education concepts improves student’s understanding of broader global issues of sustainability, climate change, and preservation. 

Integration Constraints 

Despite successful examples previously demonstrated by teachers’ efforts to integrate environmental education into the school curriculum, the case study found some implementation limitations. One of these hindrances includes a lack of educational resources supporting teachers’ efforts. Financial limitations of transportation, ability to create lesson material, and limiting budgets create educational disparities. For instance, many students struggle finding transportation or school’s share only one vehicle. Ms. Ellen, the agricultural teacher, often prefers teaching at a local chicken production site rather than in the classroom because students visually learn and participate in hands-on experiences (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph, 2017). However, the school only has one vehicle for trips. Unreliable transportation makes it difficult for teachers to implement engaging lessons. Many classrooms also do not have enough financial resources to fund materials like textbooks, writing materials, desks, and so on. Even if schools have textbooks for specific courses, they are often written in English. As mentioned previously, language continues to serve as a struggle between Indigenous knowledge and Western curriculum integration. Therefore, teachers can struggle to find solutions to apply local environmental perspectives to courses. 

Additionally, many teachers lack adequate service training for environmental education integration. Botswana’s Department of Teacher Training and Development sets the standards for teacher’s lesson development and links the process with the Curriculum Development Evaluation (Botswana, 1993). Assessing students’ learning success helps school districts develop more robust training programs. The Department notices that past years of environmental examples and incorporation is insufficient compared to other courses taught. Teachers like Mr. Pule,the language teacher, believe that environmental lessons should be embedded in school districts’ government syllabi. Having the objectives set by policies will allow teachers to cognitively connect lessons with environmental education. 

Lastly, even if guidance is clarified to teachers, language barriers serve as a consistent constraint (Velempini, Smucker, Martin, and Randolph, 2017). Most teachers in secondary schools receive syllabus training but have difficulty understanding creative ways to infuse merging concepts. More assertive communication with service workshops, feedback, and clear guidelines would significantly improve environmental education application in the school’s curriculum. 

Conclusion 

In summation, formerly colonized nations in Southern Africa continue to face Western influence during the postcolonial era. While postcolonial societies continue to push towards a counter-hegemony framework, dominant Western discourses influence their lifestyles. Nevertheless, Southern African governments have transitioned to reverse knowledge and power relations by prioritizing Indigenous knowledge at the center of education. Postcolonial theoretical reframing provides solutions to establish an equal part environment-related education and quantitative critical Eurocentric foundation. Although there are challenges in incorporating Indigenous knowledge into the environmental education curriculum, resolutions can be proposed through government policies and additional economic resources to mitigate potential issues. 

Opening discussion and implementing third spaces provide a more robust understanding of Southern Africa’s experience, culture, and knowledge. Southern African nations should learn from past events during the colonial period and apply some aspects of Western thinking to today’s period of globalization. Sharing stories and gaining knowledge from different cultures helps the rehabilitation and growth of nations. Forming third hybrid spaces incorporate Indigenous ideals, such as uMunthu, to further enrich the environment-related education curriculum. Greater integration of beliefs promotes ethical behavior by nurturing relationships between people and the natural world. Appreciation of surrounding habitats using place-based teaching promotes engagement in the classroom, and students have found to learn more successfully. Also, the application of local lands connects students to their homes, social struggles, and histories. Both Indigenous and modern learning help teachers facilitate more authentic and relevant coursework to address South Africa’s current environmental, social, and economic realities to maintain cultural identities and traditions. 
 

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