African School was set up in September 2009, by Natty Mark Samuels: an Adult Tutor for ABINGDON and WITNEY COLLEGE, teaching in community settings. This Cultural Educational project  provides  teaching in African Studies, to the general community; focusing on pre-colonial sub-Saharan societies. It has a specialisms in early Black journalism (19th/early 20th centuries), Islamic Scholarship and African Art.

I salute Abingdon and Witney College, for pioneering African Studies in the FE sector, as Oxford Spires Academy did in mainstream secondary provision - and Iffley Academy, in Special Needs provision. 

At the time of writing - April. 2017 - it is in the process of becoming a CIC - Community Interest Company.

Although an adult tutor, African School accredited teaching has taken place in three Oxford secondary schools - Oxford Spires Academy, Iffley Academy and Chilworth House Upper School - as well as four youth projects: C.D.I., DonningtonName It and The Foyer, Banbury.

It has thirteen courses to offer.......

WORD and the WARRIOR: Celebrating Black Journalism in Britain - late 19th/early 20th centuries.

IRIDESCENCE: Celebrating pre-colonial West African Islamic Scholarship.

PIONEERING PENS: Celebrating the 19th Century Black Journalism.

THE SHRINE of STATEHOOD: Celebrating pre-colonial centralised Societies.

SISTA JOURNALIST: Celebrating the iconic figures, of Black female journalism.

ISLAND INK: Celebrating the journalistic heroes, of the Caribbean region.

ACCRA ARTICLES: Celebrating the trailblazing journalists of West Africa.

JEMBE to JAMAICA: Celebrating the historical link between Ghana and Jamaica.

WORDSMITHS of WAR: Celebrating the Black contribution to the defeat of Fascism in World War II, with the aid of the Black journalists.

MADIBA LIGHTHOUSE: Celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela.

DEVOTION: Celebrating the history, of Ethiopian Christianity.

LAND of SCHOLARS: Celebrating the Somali Islamic Scholarship - 14th-19th centuries.

SISTA SCHOLAR: Celebrating the pioneering female teachers, of Islamic sub-Saharan Africa.

As well as the above, African School offers four workshops on African art: traditional and contemporary. On WEST AFRICA (Ghana and Ivory Coast; SOUTHERN AFRICA (South Africa and Swaziland); EAST AFRICA (Kenya and Uganda); Early 20th Century AFRICAN AMERICAN Art.

At Manchester Carnival, Alexandra Park, Moss Side. Looking forward to next years teaching at this event. 
Second time teaching for the FSTC in Manchester

The third in the series of MAO workshops, will take place on December 2nd - 1-4pm.

Link to the first of a series of interactive workshops at MOA - Museum of Art Oxford. The next one is July 22nd - 1-4pm. Eternal respect to Sara Lowes, Curator of Creative Learning.

Two of the six students. The article should have said adult tutor, not social worker.


Some of the students at the Black Heroines workshop, March 2017, at Oxford Academyin recognition of International Women's Day.

TV clip and article, about the course delivered to visually impaired adult learners, from the OAB - Oxfordshire Association for the Blind.

 2017 teaching has also taken place at Emmaus, the international homeless charity; Response, a mental health project; and at Chilworth House Upper,  a special school

Articles in celebration of sub-Saharan Islamic scholars


Publicity for The Dub, the first Roots Reggae magazine, for the Thames Valley region

The Dub PDF



Short interview at That's Oxfordshire TV - Channel 7


First workshop for Abingdon and Witney College - October, 2016 - to My Life My Choice, a project for those with learning disabilities. 

Natty, once again thank you for such a rich evening of learning. You brought history alive in a wonderful creative way. CHRISTINE McDERMOTT, workshop attendee

Many thanks for one of the most educative, fun and interactive sessions I've been part of for a long time. KANJA SESAY, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Adviser, Brookes University.

Thank you so much...for your lovely presence yesterday. Your workshop was illuminating and I had fun learning about your project! HIBA ALNAIB, Conference organiser.

Black History Month lecture, 2015 - organised by the Students Union and FSTC (Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation) - in the Simon Building, of the University of Manchester, 2015.

I had the opportunity to meet the brilliant Natty Mark Samuels whose talk and poetry recitals took us on a journey through sub-Saharan Africa, introducing us to some amazing scholars and their contribution to science. Natty brought great scholars from Africa to life through his writings and I look forward to reading more of his work. AISHA MIRZA, lecture attendee.

Review  http://www.ce4tf.org/news/black-history-month-at-the-university-of-manchester

Black History Month workshop for ACRE - Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality - at the Reading YMCA, 2015. 

Thanks Natty Mark Samuels. The programme was very well recieved - fun and informative. AMELIA ROBINSON, workshop organiser.

African School is a great opportunity to explore the rich and diverse history of pre-colonial Africa. Taking part in this course, allowed us to extend our knowledge and open our minds to another part the world through learning about many aspects of African history. For instance, we studied trade and how this influenced the integration of cultures and languages, such as Swahili. In addition, we looked at the different belief systems, architecture, music as well as art, in particular different fabrics and their various patterns and methods of creating them. To add to the brilliance of African School, the content is taught through interaction and discussion, creating classes which are very engaging, interesting and extremely enjoyable! NAILAH AMANDLA-JAMES: sixth former, Oxford Spires Academy, 2014.

 Here are two of the contributions (articles/poems), that Natty Mark has made to Muslim Heritage.

Please visit AFRICAN SCHOOL Facebook link, for further dissemination of knowledge


Here is a quote by one of my heroes, Alexander Crummell; teacher, writer, lecturer, editor, professor and pastor, which I'd like to share..... Strive to make something of yourself; then strive to make the most of yourself.

I'd like to introduce you to one of my other journalistic heroes - HUBERT HARRISON. He used to teach thousands, while speaking in the streets of Harlem and other parts of New York - on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange, as an example. Enthralling one and all, with his vast array of knowledge; gathered through night school and personal studies. Taught himself four languages also. Revered by other Black intellectuals, such as Joel Rogers, Asa Randolph and John Jackson. He has been called... ''The Father of Harlem Radicalism''; ''a walking encyclopedia'' and ''Black Socrates''. A true original thinker; The Unknown Philosopher. First of the great Harlem soapbox speakers. His mind, writings, and activism, influenced and inspired younger pioneers, such as Marcus Garvey, Richard Moore and Hodge Kirnon. Here is a quote from the truly brilliant Hubert Harrison; teacher, writer, journalist, editor, lecturer, community and political activist.........''To the masses of our people we say; Read! Get the reading habit; spend your spare time not so much in training the feet to dance, as in training the head to think. And, at the very outset, draw the line between books of opinion and books of information. Saturate your minds with the latter and you will be forming your own opinions, which will be worth ten times more to you, than the opinions of the greatest minds on earth. Go to school whenever you can. If you don't go in the day, go at night. But always remember that the best college, is that on your bookshelf: the best education is that on the inside of your own head''.

Because the African School was founded on a vision and a belief, in Cultural Education for the general community, lessons have been designed, using what I believe to be universal and interactive learning tools. To be used alongside other aids to learning, such as human maps and the hangman exercise. Lessons to be interspersed with role play and the use of mime. With such an array of learning tools at my disposal; including cloze exercises, spider grams and charades, I am better prepared to think on my feet when the occasion arises. To keep the teaching fresh and fused with fun.

 If you go on a train or coach, you will see word searches being attempted. Many pubs present  a weekly quiz. So I'm utilising learning tools that are familiar and popular: hoping that whoever steps through the learning door, will be able to engage, and enjoy their time in the African School.

There are still too many people in the U.K who cannot read or write to well. For example, 60 % of those imprisoned have difficulties with basic literacy. Which hasn't changed from my teenage years, when people I know, were going to D.C. and  Borstal. Because of this, I am searching for methods that will attract and re-engage them in the learning environment. I see my creative writing as part of the channel to learning.

Many people, for various reasons, such as length or unknown lexicon, would not be inclined to read something by this professor, or that academic. But might read a short article or a poem . Literary snapshots; as stepping stones to enthuse further learning. To spur the improvement of their vocabulary and cultural knowledge, so they become aware of the need for other lexicons and be more prepared to attempt articles of length. That their own creativity is stimulated too.

Also, I hope that my setting up of the African School, will inspire other people within their communities, who have a store of knowledge and the enthusiasm to share it, to step forward and do so. Helping to form a network of Community Educators, in conjunction with Adult Learning departments and institutions for Adult Education.   

If we are really concerned about the continuing levels of illiteracy in this country, it is well overdue; this need to look at other ways to enthuse learning and the love of education, as well as what the statutory sector offers. I envisage a symbiosis; an interspersing of cultural and community elements, alongside the statutory provision. Working towards an improvement in U.K. levels of literacy. Helping to create other, much needed routes, to spark and sustain, the enjoyment of education.

©Natty Mark Samuels, 2011

The primary aim of the African School; is to give a more balanced, positive accounting of sub-Saharan Africa. 

    For example, most people associate Rwanda with genocide: but from the 17th century onwards, through Ruganzu Ndori and the Nyiginya Kingdom, Rwanda became one of the most powerful and influential states, in the Great Lakes/Central African region. Also, the Rwandan region was one of the first areas of sub-Saharan Africa, to master the smelting and working of iron, during the continent's Early Iron Age.

Left to right - Marie Nolan, Youth Development Worker, Adil Hammed, 14, Guilherme Ruge, 11 and Natty Mark Samuels.

These two young men, Adil and Guilherme, are members of the Donnington Youth Club, at the Donnington Doorstep Family Centre, East Oxford. In April 2011 they became the first recipients of Oxfordshire County Council youth accreditation in African Studies: receiving the Oxfordshire Young People's Award. African School teaching was validated in September 2010.

Natty Mark would like to take this opportunity to express his gratitude to the staff at the Donnington Family Centre; especially to Marie Nolan, the Youth Development Worker, for her support throughout the teaching. To Christine Chambers also, an Area Youth Worker, for her guidance through the validation process.

Natty Mark is the holder of two Adult Education teaching certificates;  P.T.T.L.S. and City and Guilds Teaching Adult Learners. In October 2015, he intends to commence study for the D.E.T. (Diploma of Education and Training), which has replaced the D.T.T.L.S.