Volume 4, Issue 1, January 2020
The impact of Ethnic Traditions, Mythologies, and Taboos on Sexuality Education Programs in Southern Africa
Author: Martha Nyanungo and Manguvo Angellar
The 21st Century has witnessed worldwide advocacy for the adoption of sexuality education in formal education systems. Notions of sexuality in Africa have, however, often been viewed from Euro-centric perspectives and yet Africa has distinct philosophical worldviews, which determine the way most of her ethnicities recognize, define, and assign meaning to sexuality. While some cultural beliefs and practices may converge with guidelines of western-oriented sexuality education programs, some constitute a different psychological frame of reference from that which informs western-oriented school-based sexuality education programs. This paper presents a nuanced analysis of the challenges encountered in the processes of conceptualizing, designing, and implementation of western-centered sexuality education programs in Southern Africa. The paper focuses on indigenous conceptualization of sexuality, highlighting common mythologies and taboos centered on the subject. The paper also analyzes the commonalities and differences between western-based sexuality education programs and traditional modes of sexuality education, notwithstanding their historical evolution. The paper concludes by providing recommendations for designing culturally acceptable sexuality education programs for schools in the region.
Keywords: Sexuality, Sexuality Education, Mythology, Taboos