The UNESCO Transatlantic Slave Trade (UNESCOTST) project links schools in the three regions which were involved in the triangular Transatlantic Slave Trade (Africa, the Americas and Europe) under the common name “Breaking the Silence”. The goal of the TST project is increased awareness of the causes and consequences of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – including modern forms of slavery and racism – through educational exchanges, sharing best practice and developing and diffusing educational material.

The international signs were used in several occasions as an educational tool to improve the knowledge about African languages and cultures at secondary schools, as well as a way to link African students with colleagues from different parts of the world.

Some examples of these activities (chronologically ordered):

1999: Wolof Clubs

A collaboration between the IES Pedra da Auga in Galice (Spain)and the Collège d´Enseignement Moyen in Ndoffanne, Kaolack (Senegal) allowed students from both schools to exchange information about their languages and cultures, the teaching subjects in both countries and their perspectives about the history of slavery. This was made long before any of those schools had access to Internet, and the exchange was made by postal letters that lasted several months. You can see two videos made at the spanish school during these activities:

Learning to greet and to travel in wolof, language from Senegal.

Questions in wolof and spanish that were sent in video to Senegal

2000: Second European Regional TST Seminar, Lagos, Portugal, November

The TST Coordinators from Spain, Brazil and Mozambique, that took part at this event, agreed in making common activities around radio programs and African language learning with international signs.

2001: Brazilian UNESCO-ASP Schools meeting in São Luis do Maranhão, July

The activities that were planned the year before in Lagos were presented at this meeting, where the central subject was the Slave Route from the UNESCO.TST project.

You can see the presentation to the more than hundred Brazilian teachers that took part at this meeting, including a practice with international signs: the song “13 de Maio”, from Caetano Veloso, celebrates the date when slavery was abolished in Brazil.

African Languages at the European Year of Languages in Barcelona, September

This activity tried to foster the knowledge about African languages in the frame of this european project:

Dara, a Brazilian song from Daniela Mercury in Portuguese and Ioruba.

Solidarité, a Senegalese song from Youssu N´Dour in Wolof.

2003: Second Regional TST Youth Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark, November

The international signs were used at this international meeting to produce several activities about African languages and cultures.

African Greetings in Wolof and Ioruba:

Swahili Greeting & Swing Low (a song that helped slaves to find their way to freedom):

Dara (a song in Portuguese and Ioruba that reflects the African Heritage in Brazil):

2004: Afroamerican Poems in Cuba

The IPVCE “Ernesto Guevara” in Santa Clara prepared some Afrocuban poems with internationals signs for a TST meeting with Spanish schools in Cuba.

An example:Son Numero 6”, from the Afrocuban poet Nicolás Guillén.

Swahili Clubs

The YoGoTe international signs were used to prepare several lessons for the introduction to foreign languages, two of them from Africa (Wolof and Swahili).

This allowed students to create Swahili Clubs, where they learned basic expressions in this beautiful African language.

We can see also an activity with a greeting song in Swahili: