Indigenising Mathematics Mediations in South African High Schools: Applying Ethnomathematics Experiences in Teaching and Learning

Jabulani Nyoni


This article applies anthropological theory in exploring how Mathematics teachers imbed indigenous epistemologies in the teaching of pure Mathematics in high schools in South Africa. I spent two months staying in one of the Venda communities sharing at times food and other amenities with the three boys, at the same time collecting data and understanding cultural practices. I observed the participants on a daily basis, playing a mathematical game called “mutoga” in their local language. I also joined them in class where they were taught Mathematics at school. Findings seem to indicate that ethnomathematics epistemologies can successfully be embedded in the teaching of pure Mathematics in South African high schools. I therefore argue that the use of indigenous mediation experiences must assume culturally responsive pedagogy to open up the curriculum and assessment practices to allow for different ways of knowing and being. Initially, a generic argument for the inclusion of indigenous content within the Mathematics curriculum is suggested. Secondly, several exemplar scenarios of teaching praxis including indigenous content are discussed. Finally, evidence on the utility of such exemplar scenarios for students in learning about indigenous peoples and key processes and skills for working with indigenous communities from student feedback are discussed.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n15p327

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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