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Mandela University’s Dr Ayanda Simayi, lecturer in the Faculty of Education, recently presented two teaching models as part of a community engagement project to empower learners to overcome cultural avoidance about menstruation and sexual education at Swartkops Primary School in Gqeberha on 29 May 2023.

From left, Education’s Dr Ayanda Simayi, Principal Cikizwa Kona-Mbilana, Swartkops Primary School learners and SGB chairperson Andile Gege.

The project focuses on culturally avoided sexual concepts and the menstrual cycle, using Xhosa indigenous knowledge, such as ‘engceni’ (menstruation) or ‘ukutsib’i ziko’ (sexual intercourse) and is planned to continue till 2025.

The Indigenous Knowledge and ICT sexual concepts' community engagement project entails two models showing the female uterus, along with charts depicting male and female organs, fertilisation and embryo development inside the uterus to be used as teaching aids.

Dr Simayi initiated the project during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022 to model School-Based-Learning (SBL) for her remote-learning third-year BEd science students, who were linked synchronously to her face-to-face presentations to Grade 7 learners.

The project is a continuation of Dr Simayi’s PhD, which was funded by the CERMESA-DAAD scholarship in Germany.

Dr Simayi presented the teaching material to the Swartkops Primary School Principal Cikizwa Kona-Mbilana and SGB (School Governing Body) chairperson Andile Gege and members, teachers and learners.

Mr Gege confirmed that sexual topics are sensitive and not talked about at home due to cultural inhibitions.

Principal Kona-Mbilana said that although sexual topics form part of CAPS from Grade 7 to 9, these are not taught well due to cultural inhibitions. He commended the project as it connects school science concepts with relevant cultural knowledge, the naming of avoided sexual terms and creating greater opportunities for improved learner understanding.

The menstrual cycle teaching models were purchased with funding through a grant that Dr Simayi, as a member of the University’s Early Career Academics Advancement Programme (ECAAP) received from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). This was possible through the University Capacity Development Programmes (UCDP) at the University’s Teaching Development Unit.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160