Yoruba Basics has been acknowledged for its role as a trailblazer for promoting African-American Heritage
African Americans constitute the third largest ethnic group and the second largest racial group in the US. Individual’s connections to their African ancestry via DNA genealogy has increased significantly over the last two decades, with more people of African descent tracing their ancestral roots back to a West African tribe or ethnic group. Navigating the African connection is not always intuitive and many don’t know where to start. Coupled with lack of African education in mainstream US schools, and it can really feel daunting. Luckily, thanks to Yoruba Basics Online School, there is change.
Yoruba Basics, a virtual school founded by Lande Sanusi, exists to connect the African Diaspora with the Yoruba heritage. The global school, which is a subsidiary of Culture of Africa for Kids Everywhere Inc, upholds the mission of preservation, promotion and education of Yoruba language and culture. In recognition of her outstanding work an African Cultural Educator, Lande Sanusi has been honored with the 2021 Distinguished 400 Award for her contributions to African diaspora excellence through cultural education. Yoruba Basics Online School was recognized by the 400 Years of African American History Commission and their efforts in helping to connect African Americans with their ancestry and heritage.
Sanusi started her journey on 2002, when she felt her own Nigerian-American kids needed better cultural connections but couldn’t find any such service. She looked for something similar to Chinese Cultural Schools or Polish Language Schools, but to no avail. Talking to other parents, she soon found out that there was void that needed to be filled. She started out teaching culture classes in her home, before moving to the CAKE African Village, a location that allowed African-infused field trips, cultural school assemblies amongst other activities. CAKE African Village provided a combination of onsite and offsite instructions until 2019 when an increase in demand prompted the birth of Yoruba Basics School and instructions were moved completely online to serve more students globally.
With an educational background in Mathematics and Computer Science, but not directly in education, Sanusi knew she needed guidance to create an exceptional curriculum. She reached out to Indiana University’s National African Language Resource Center where she not only learned curriculum development and design, but also integration of language, culture and content in learning centered class rooms.
Yoruba Basics’ unique curriculum doesn’t just concentrate on language acquisition. It focuses on the big idea, incorporating a unique system of discoveries and experiences that include visuals, performing arts, self-paced learning, and interactive classes led by a growing number of Yoruba instructors. Students not only learn about African culture and history, but they help to preserve it. While Lande Sanusi develops the curriculum, Yoruba Basics’ teachers are native speakers with formal teaching credentials.
When asked about the importance of her school, Sanusi replied: “There’s a renaissance of African descendants around the world, who want to know more about their ancestry and want to discover and connect with their African identities. With many western educational systems eradicating and ignoring many facets of African and African American history, innovation, and influence, it’s incumbent upon cultural educators to create access to educational programs such as Yoruba Basics’ that liaise the diaspora in new ways.”
Yoruba Basics Online School offers language and culture courses and educational resources learners globally. Classes range in age from as young as four-years-old (Jeleosimi) to adults (Agba). The Yoruba Basics’ line of educational resources and toys can be found on Walmart and Amazon.
For more information on Yoruba Basics Online School, please visit its official website