Archaeology in Action comic series
The Transformation Charter, adopted in 2008 by the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists, requires that all those working in the field of archaeology in South Africa practice a form of archaeology that is rooted in social awareness and social engagement and aims to be socially responsible. In South Africa, most approaches to archaeological community engagement and outreach have focused on changes to museum programs, university policies, and school curricula. These programs have limited impact on the vast majority of South Africa’s rural populations who live far from museums, have limited funds to attend universities, and who struggle to travel to the larger urban centers where such programs are typically offered.
To broaden the scope and potential for archaeological outreach and youth engagement, we have collaborated with award winning science communication specialists Jive Media Africa (https://jivemedia.co.za) to design, draft, print, and disseminate a series of colour comic books on archaeology in English and isiXhosa. The comics (and forthcoming animation shorts) communicate basic information about archaeology and careers in archaeology to South African primary and high school students. The comics are freely available in three ways. First, through a downloadable PDF (see links on this page). Second, we have conducted several pilot programs to distribute the comics to junior secondary, senior secondary, and high schools starting in Pondoland, where our scientific research team has dedicated significant time and resources to building scientific infrastructure and community outreach activities since 2011. Third, we distribute the comics through South Africa's Science Spaza (http://www.sciencespaza.org) kids science club network in South Africa that reaches over 10,000 school children a month.