by Natty Mark Samuels
In November 2015 – I decided to learn Arabic. As we go along, I shall speak of the reasons why. For now, I would like to say that this idea, which has turned into a great adventure, full of challenges and joy, as all great adventures should consist of. The challenges have been made easier, by the online links of the Sudanese teacher Shaykh Munaf Mohamed – and by another, known as Colette, who comes from Dubai. Other assistance – unknowingly – has been given by international celebrities, such as David Attenborough and Jamie Oliver!
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been pondering the idea of keeping a diary of this learning. Recently, while sitting on the balcony, enjoying the early morning quiet, enhanced by a blue sky and mild weather – I decided to begin this daily recording.
It’s turning out to be, not only a celebration of the Arabic language and sub-Saharan Islamic scholarship, and the great teachers; but a celebration also, of inter-generational learning and the community activism of East Oxford. All in all, its a homage to learning and culture.
Natty Mark Samuels is a poet and the founder of African School, a Cultural Education project based in Oxford. This initiative provides teaching in African Studies with a focus on pre-colonial sub-Saharan and Islamic cultures and early Black journalism. Formerly a Visiting Tutor at Ruskin College and other academies, Natty Mark also tutors on the Oxford Study Abroad Programme.