EAGA Workshops
The Crown Hills Community College and Emmmanu’-EL Apostolic Gospel Academy (EAGA): African Drumming and Dance, Cultural Awareness

Having done Workshops in a few different schools, I thought this would be just the same as all the other schools, but I was surprised when it transpired that these workshops were quite different.

We have been facilitating workshops in schools where the demographics consist of children primarily from white middle class families, with a minority who are from black middle class families. Most of these children come from Christian homes and some declare that they come from atheist homes. Nevertheless workshops was enjoyed by all and we managed to break barriers and stereotypes whilst creating an atmosphere where we the facilitators and the school pupils were like a family.

What made Crown Hills Community College different was the fact that, it is located in a part of Leicester where the demographics was predominately Asian and most of the pupils were Muslim. That fact that all our songs were Gospel Songs which expressly speak of Jesus as being God; I wondered how this was going to work. But I thank God everything worked out fine and there were no barriers.

The first song we did with them was ‘Tambira Jehovah’ which means ‘Dance for Jehovah’. They loved this song, and their drama teacher Mrs Jo Nyamudya, had already done some dance moves with the pupils. This was a great outlet for the young students who used up a lot of energy.

The Crown Hill students who were much older than students we have worked with before and this enhanced our experience in working with different age groups and with those who have different religious beliefs. Despite the deference in religious beliefs the Muslim children still choose to attend and fully participated every week and enjoy the singing, dancing and sign language.

Initially my remit was only to play the keyboard with their music Teacher and we complimented each other well as he played the guitar. After a few weeks we did a few sessions of African drumming, and the pupils enjoyed this so much that is was included in our programme. We also incorporated some Shona greeting words into the drumming and this made the drumming even more enjoyable. We also used other languages containing Southern African vowels with drumming, which was the first step for the students in learning words and phrases from African languages.

This cannot be happening anywhere else other than the City of God, Leicester which is a beacon of excellence for equality and diversity with its diverse community consisting of many races, religion and cultures. We look forward and anticipate future workshops with Crown Hills, as they have now been inspired to form a school choir.