The beat of a different drum

A series of special workshops held at the School gave Year 7 boys the opportunity to enjoy and engage with African culture and arts – and learn about some of the harsher realities of life on the world’s second-largest continent.

A team from the Iroko Theatre Company spent two mornings introducing the boys to African story-telling, music and dance, although the core activity was a mass drumming workshop.

""“The boys were enthralled,” said Head of Geography and Religion & Society Guy Boyes. “It was a really engaging workshop and the boys learnt a great deal about many aspects of African life.”

A number of members of staff also attended and joined in with the boys in the dancing. “Everyone had a wonderful time, but there was also a serious side,” added Mr Boyes. “The boys learnt that the workshop leader’s name means ‘Please stay with me’ in English; he was given this name because he was the fourth child – the first three having died in infancy. That alone brought home to boys the reality of infant mortality in a very powerful way.”

""The Iroko Theatre Company, which takes its name from an African tree, was established in 1996 by Nigerian-born actor Alex Oma-Pius. It aims to promote an understanding and appreciation of African culture and arts and to enhance the self-confidence and knowledge of children and young people.