It’s 7 February 2022 – my first day as a Usaper. Normally, you would expect a lecture on how your classes would be, but alas, there is a test. The most fascinating thing is that it’s not a math test, chemistry or biology test, but rather an African map test. Yes, you read right, an Africa map test. The pass mark is 54, and basically, what that means is to know every country and its geographical position. Welcome to USAP Community School, where students are not only exposed to the rich sounds and rhythms of African music but also gain a deeper understanding of the cultural significance and embrace their African identity.
The inclusion of the ‘Centering Africa’ mantra in the curriculum brings the spirit of the continent alive within the school’s walls, ensuring its continuity on campus. The soul-stirring resonance of instruments like mbira, marimba, hosho, and drums dance and twirl, painting a portrait that echoes the depths of centuries-old heritage. Traditional dance is used on campus as an expression of cultural identity and community celebration. Regular traditional dance workshops and performances of Mhande, Muchongoyo, or even the Rwandan Inganzongari provide students with an immersive experience in African dance forms, promoting physical expression and cultural appreciation.
On a normal day, the school dining hall is lit with a powerful visual display of African flags of the great fifty-four nations on the continent. From sadza and madora to sweet potatoes and occasionally jollof rice, students have the opportunity to savor the diverse flavors that represent the culinary heritage of Africa.
Diversity is our middle name, with students from all four corners of Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and more. We are intentional in engaging in dialogues, learning about different traditions, and fostering a continental understanding and appreciation for Africa’s rich cultural heritage.
At USAP, centering Africa transcends beyond music, food, and art. The Humanities class, which every student takes, is mainly pivoted on African literature. Whether it’s a reading from Chinua Achebe, Ngugi, or Tsitsi Dangarembga, we are taught how to write and read about Africa.
Unapologetically, we are proud Africans, and USAP Community School provides invaluable opportunities for cross-cultural learning and promotes a strong sense of identity among students.