Khanya Political Education Programme Deepens Activists’ Understanding of Popular Education

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On Saturday 14 May, Khanya College hosted it’s second session of the political education programme. The programme was introduced by the College for working class empowerment and it’s focus is on popular education as a methodology for the working class to self-educate. This is part of Khanya’s work to empower the working class communities it works with and raise their consciousness about the society we live in.

More than 80 activists attended the session. Some of the activists present were from various working class organisation, including: African Reclaimers Organisation, Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO), Simunye Workers Forum, Habitat61, Gauteng Community Health Care Forum, Blah Blah Brothers Production; as well as activist journalists in the Forum for Activist Journalists; the Tshohang Batjha youth and Orphan Vulnerable Children Centre Coordinators that the Jozi Book Fair works with.

The session in the morning focused on the participants developing campaigns and campaign strategies using a video on the malnutrition and food insecurity currently facing working class communities in South Africa. The participants were put into groups and given the exercise of developing any kind of campaign that dealt with the issues raised in the video. Some groups focused on how malnutrition damages child development while other groups focused on how communities can build food gardens and plant nutritious foods as campaign for working class survival.

The afternoon session included plenary discussions, and a study group discussion with panelists that Khanya invited to give inputs to the participants. They were: Comrades Mondli Hlatshwayo, Ighsaan Shroeder and Anna Majavu; all who have been long-time activists in the labour and social movements in South Africa. The session was focused on looking at what is popular education, and the role is has played in the resistance movements of South Africa.

Cde Mondli looked at how popular education played a role in the student movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Cde Ighsaan focused on popular education and the labour movements. Cde Anna focused on the social movements and popular education.

The participants were also given readings for the session on popular education and capitalism as a system of crises. Many found it to be interesting and it helped participants understand the oppression of capitalists.

The Khanya political education programme has a big number of participants that are not only willing to attend and participate but are also quite enthusiastic and even have plans to make use of the programme to develop and grow themselves and their communities.

Some participants wish to use the programme and knowledge from it to help their communities, like 30-year-old, Thabo Tshoga who is a former Community Healthdcare Worker (CHW) from Zuurbekom Clinic. Cde Thabo said “The information at Khanya College is useful in my community. We have many school drop outs and only have one skill developing centre which is Khelani Development Centre.”

Thabo also said that he wishes these types of programmes took place in township communities because they are now only occurring in the CBD and would like to see it in communities.

Some participants shared how the programme assists their understanding and knowledge of the world and also their growth in political education.

Lawrence Simelane, a Cultural Facilitator and theatremaker by profession said “I wanted to know why theatre became a form of popular education during apartheid, and how we can use it now.” He also said “I wanted to fully understand and engage more on the topic of popular education so that I can apply it in my work.”

“There is a lot of things to learn for myself and also to pass on the information to generations. I trust Khanya College to educate me in terms of popular education as it will be a skill that is very useful,” said 35-year-old Siyabonga Mviko from Vosloorus, an Activist Journalist in the Forum for Activist Journalists.

“Popular education is not just about teaching each other facts but also to organise” says Mviko, who is also a facilitator in study group and plenary group discussions for the programme.

This article was submitted on 18 May 2022. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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