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Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Ayanda Simayi, a Nelson Mandela University and CERMESA* PhD scholarship recipient in the Faculty of Education will present a paper exploring cultural taboos in India this month.

The aim of the Eighth International Conference is to Review Research in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (EpiSTEME 8). It will be held at the Homi Bhabha Centre of Science for Science Education, Mumbai. 

Ayanda’s paper, “Asibizi: teaching human reproduction in rural Eastern Cape schools”, is about taboos and ingrained cultural beliefs that prevent teachers from talking about content viewed as culturally sensitive.

The paper explores cultural taboos and their possible influence on how they restrict the teaching of Life Science concepts of a sexual nature in terms of language and lexicon use -  what teachers are allowed to say, the words that they are allowed to use, and language issues that they avoid.

This paper presents taboo restrictions on language and lexicon, namely ‘the things we do not talk about’ (asibizi), and explores reflections shared by teachers of Xhosa culture on how they teach sensitive, human reproduction content to learners of the same culture residing in traditional, rural communities.

The paper, co-authored by Professor Paul Webb, has drawn considerable interest from the conference reviewing team.

The East and South African Centre of Excellence in Educational Research Methodologies and Management (CERM-ESA) is one of 11 ‘Centres of African Excellence’ in Sub-Sahara Africa ( CERM-ESA is the only one that focuses on education research, management and teacher education. The German Academic Exchange Service – with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office – is funding this programme.

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