The requirement of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for unit standards to be written for all fields of learning has given music educators a unique opportunity to identify the needs of the whole community and reassess the priorities of music education in South Africa. The field of African musics poses some special problems because it has been excluded from the curriculum in the past and because the informal learning traditions need careful attention if they are to be adapted to formal learning contexts. A simple substitution of African for Western music theory, history and instrumental practice is not an appropriate course of action, as African musics are rooted in a philosophical framework that is quite different from that of Western music. In order for culturally appropriate unit standards to be written, a philosophical basis of African music-making must first be identified from a study of African music practices. Secondly, an examination of the general principles of the musics of South Africa, with judicious examples taken from other parts of Africa will guide the approach to the writing of unit standards for African musics. Curriculum frameworks from other countries which have developed standards within an outcomes-based education (OBE) context, and the specific outcomes for Arts and Culture, are the third element to inform the writing of unit standards for African musics. The problems of implementation are various, including the shift from informal learning contexts to formal, but in the praxial approach to music education this dilemma can potentially be resolved. Most pressing are the limited resources of provincial education departments, and an emphasis on training to develop the musicianship of educators is of primary importance. African musics in the curriculum will require not only fresh musical material but also a shift in approach, incorporating the community values of the music which affirm the processes of music-making.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2006.