Khanya Annual Winter School

About the Programme: 

2014 Winter School

 Winter School Newsletter (Imbila Yesu)

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16th Annual Khanya College Winter School

14-18 July 2014

Theme: Reading the word and the world: the role of Study Groups in working class education


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The Khanya College Annual Winter School constitutes a key networking event in the calendar of the social movements in the Southern Africa region. The aim of the Winter School is to provide the space for activists from various social movements and civil society organisations across the region to exchange views and share experiences.



The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Provide the space for activists to critically reflect on their organising and mobilising work in the present national and global context

  2. Provide the space for activists to debate topical issues and exchange experiences with each other, and to build regional solidarity

  3. Provide the space for the emergence and revitalisation of progressive perspectives on social change

  4. Assist in developing the conceptual, organisational and public speaking skills of activists from different social movements.


  • Conference on Radical Political Economy

  • Cultural Festivals including Theatre, Poetry, Film and Art

  • Book and NGO Fairs

  • Networks of Resistance

  • Skills for Resistance Workshops


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History of Khanya Annual Winter School

The Khanya Annual Winter School was launched in July 1999. During the last ten years the Winter School has become the most important activity of Khanya College responding to the changing political and economic environment within which social movements have to work. Khanya College programmes seek to assist in many different ways communities in the difficult task of developing their responses to globalisation and its various manifestations.

Winter School themes from 1999 to 2009

Over the last ten years, the Winter School tackled themes that are important to the social justice movement:

In 1999 we looked at Globalisation.

In 2000 we tackled the theme of GEAR and Neo-liberalism.

In 2001 we returned to the theme of globalisation and discussed Organising under conditions of Globalisation. With the emergence of relatively new social movements we began to see the growing confidence of a new layer of militants which began to place new pressures on the Winter School and, by 2001, the following broad aims for the school were identified:

  • The development and strengthening of a progressive perspective on the political, economic and social issues in the world today.
  • The space to exchange experiences about different struggles.
  • The space to assist in equipping activists with the theoretical and organisational skills that will enhance their contribution to the process of social change in South and Southern Africa.

These aims described represent a shift from the initial broad direction “Towards Development and Social Change” to a much clearer agenda, enabling and instructing participants to “Mobilise and Organise for Social Change”.

The 2002 Winter School focused on the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) with the question “Is Sustainable Development possible under Neo-liberalism?”. The Winter School played an important role in exposing the neo-liberal politics of the WSSD and in assisting in the mobilisation towards the Social Movements United march which was an important turning point in the development of social movements involved in resisting neo-liberalism and corporate globalisation in South Africa. In 2002 Winter School participants from countries in the Southern Africa region were invited and recruited for the first time. The decision to extend the Winter School to the Southern African region was a recognition of the acceleration of the processes of globalisation and regional integration, and its impact on the working class and the poor. These processes have led to major social upheavals with many people crossing borders in search of a means of survival. In turn this has led to many human rights abuses and a significant increase in xenophobia, at times even amongst militants within the emerging social movements. We recognized that developing and strengthening a progressive alternative to Globalisation we need to have international and regional solidarity between the working class and the poor of different countries as a central focus.

As a result we looked in 2003 at NEPAD and the Challenges for Social Movements – especially in the Southern African region. We discussed one of the major obstacles to solidarity across borders – xenophobia – and located this discussion in the context of African ruling class attempts to integrate Africa, the NEPAD.

In 2004 we discussed the theory and practice of Democracy and Neo-liberalism.

In 2005 we exchanged experiences and attempted to develop progressive perspectives on the theme “Gender and Neo-liberalism”, and discussed challenges facing the movement for the emancipation of women today.

In 2006 the Winter School coincided with the 20th anniversary of the founding of Khanya College. Since the first Winter School in 1999 we have been looking at the growth of the global social movement, departing with the WTO protests in Seattle which led to the first assembly of the World Social Forum in 2001 in Porto Alegre. The 7th Winter School took up these debates under the title “Building Solidarity Beyond Borders”. One of its main aims was to open up a discussion about the role and future of many forums in Africa and the world which sought to promote international solidarity in the struggle against social and economic injustice.

In 2007 we invited participants to discuss Popular Education for Social Mobilisation in the Age of Globalisation with the aim to elaborate a political view of the role of education and its significance in changing society. In theoretical and practical sessions we presented a concept of popular education which does not only aim to conscientise and mobilise, but also to challenge the hegemony of ruling class ideas within society.

The 10th Khanya College Winter School in 2008 was dedicated to the theme Organising and Organisation under Neo-liberalism, with the aim to further the debates and discussions on the need for the conscious theorising of struggle to develop our organising concepts.

In 2009 the Winter School addressed the theme Crisis and Resistance; and for the first time participants were invited to  gather at the House of Movements for conferences, network meetings and workshops in Vogas House, 123 Pritchard Street in Johannesburg. Museum Africa provided an additional venue for the cultural festival as well as some of the Winter School’s network meetings, while some workshops were located at Women’s Net in Quinn Street as well as Artist Proof Studio in the Bus Factory.

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The Khanya Winter School 2011

From Crisis to Resistance

  1. This year, the Winter School will take place from 28 July to 5 August. The theme of the School is: ‘From Crisis to Resistance’.
The Khanya College Annual Winter School was launched in July 1999. The Winter School represents an important step in Khanya College’s response to the changing political and economic environment within which social movements and broader civil society organisations have to work. In many different ways, Khanya College programmes seek to assist communities in the difficult task of developing their responses to globalisation and its various manifestations.
Over the last 12 years, the school has been an important point of convergence for organisations; as a platform for debate, discussion, political theory, practical skills, networking and solidarity building. It thus provides spaces for activists from various social movements and civil society organisations across the region to work together across different sectors and interests. In 2009, the College changed the format of the school from a week long closed conference to a 10-day education festival. This has allowed the College to expand the audience of the school by opening it to the broader public.
Khanya College hopes that the Annual Winter School will contribute to regional responses that continue to emphasise social solidarity, popular democracy, organisation and mobilisation. This is what the overall theme of the Annual Winter School, “Mobilise and Organise for Social Change”, represents.
Aims of the School 
  • To provide the space for activists to critically reflect on their organising and mobilising work in the present national and global context.
  • To provide the space for activists to debate topical issues and exchange experiences with each other.
  • To provide the space for the emergence and revitalisation of progressive perspectives on social change.
  • To assist in developing the conceptual, organisational and public speaking skills of activists from different social movements.
  • To provide the space for building of regional social movements by bringing activists from the sub-region together.
  • To provide activists with the opportunity to build links and alliances among their various movements. 
Winter School 2011
The Winter Schools of 2009 and 2010 analysed both the global economic crisis, and crisis of resistance, respectively. These themes allowed for a critical examination of why the working class has been unable to defend itself against the decline in its living standards and against the closure of democratic spaces.
Emerging from the last two schools, the theme of the 2011 Winter School is “From Crisis to Resistance”. Popular movements have reached a strategic impasse: the movements have no immediate or long-term strategy of how to turn around this cycle of decline and weakness that has beset them. However, events in Egypt, Tunisia and Greece have shown there may be a way out of this impasse. It is against this background that the Winter School 2011 seeks to open discussions and dialogue among the various movements on the development of strategies that will respond to the impasse within the social justice movement.
Speakers and participants will seek to:
  • Locate the various activities within the context of neoliberal globalisation and its impact on the popular classes today
  • Bring to bear a gender perspective and analysis in the debate on various topics
  • Draw lessons frompast experiences of the social justice movement
  • Draw lessons from international experience of social justice movement
  • Strive to locate the theory and practice of organising under neoliberalism within an African context
 The Format
The Winter School will be organised into plenaries, parallel sessions or seminars, workshops and practical skills sessions. This year's school will have a greater variety of networks that focus on a range of struggles against neoliberalism and for economic and environmental justice. These include a faith organisations’ network to examine the role of religious institutions in service delivery protests and other struggles. Environmental justice activists will also meet as part of preparations towards the COP 17 conference. The NGO Fair will also have as its theme, “The environmental justice struggle” and the COP 17 conference. Youth organisations from Southern Africa will also meet to exchange views and experiences of resistance. The Winter School will also have theatre, poetry performances, exhibitions, screenings and other similar events.
Cost of the School 
Delegates who will stay for the duration of the school (5 days) will pay R5000. Those who attend only Network or Skills workshops will pay R3000. These costs include accommodation, catering, local transport (airport transfers etc), educational material,administration and facilitation fees. However, the fee does not include the costs of travelling to and from Johannesburg. A subsidy of 50% is available to organisations and activists and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For further information please contact:
Elijah Kodisang on + 27 (0) 11 336 9190 or + 27 (0) 84 377 3007 Fax: + 27 (0) 11 336 9196 Email: / See website:
* The Winter School is a project of Khanya College.
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Programme of Khanya Winter School 2010

Crisis of Resistance

Sunday, 1 August to Monday, 9 August
Sunday, 1 August: Cultural Festival
13–14h, Eyes in Action: Exhibition (photography and drawings), Museum Africa (Level 3)
14–18h, Words in Action: Poetry & Music, Museum Africa (Auditorium)
Monday, 2 August: Registration, Workshops and Conference
7.30–9h, Registration, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
9–12h, Plenary session: Crisis of Resistance, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
12.15–13.30h, Lunch, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
14–16.30h, Study Group conference on Southern African Political Economy & Movement Building, 1st Floor (House of Movements)
14–16.30h, Skills workshops, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
Silk Screening Workshop, Artist Proof Studios (Bus Factory Newtown)
Radio Workshop, 6th Floor (House of Movements)
Writing Skills Workshop, 6th Floor (House of Movements)
Law and Organising Workshop, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
Popular Education Workshop, 4th Floor (House of Movements)
Banner Making Workshop , Ground Floor (House of Movements)
Conflict Resolution Workshop, Level 3 (Museum Afrika)
Educational Workshop: Women's Legal Rights and Organising, 1st Floor (House of Movements)
Media Skills workshop, Internet Centre (House of Movements)
17.15–18.30h, Film Screening, 7th Floor (House of Movements)
18.30–19.30h, Supper, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
Tuesday, 3 August: Workshops and Conference
9–13h, Skills workshops, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
13–14h, Lunch, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
14–16.30h, Skills workshops, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
17.15h -18.30h, Film Screening, 7th Floor (House of Movements)
18.30–19.30h, Supper, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
Wednesday, 4 August: NGO/CBO Fair
9–17h, NGO/CBO Fair, Museum Africa (Level 4)
17.15–18.30h, Film Screening, 7th Floor (House of Movements)
Thusday, 5 August: Networks of Resistance
7.30–9h, Registation, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
9–12.15h, Plenary Session, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
12.15–13.30h, Lunch, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
14–16.30h, Networks of Resistance, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
Southern Africa Farmworker Network, Level 3 (Museum Africa)
Network for Community Museums, Boardroom (Museum Africa)
Network for Cultural Activists, Level 4 (Museum Africa)
Anti-Xenophobia Network, Level 3 (Museum Africa)
Economic Justice Network, 1st Floor (House of Movements)
Network of Marginalised Women Workers, 1st Floor (House of Movements)
Network of Community Photographers, Workers Museum
Network on Service Delivery, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
17.15–18.30h, Film Screening, 7th Floor (House of Movements)
18.30–19.30h, Supper, 2nd Floor (House of Movements)
Friday, 6 August: Networks of Resistance and Closing plenary session
9–13h, Networks of Resistance, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
13–13.30h, Lunch, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
13.30–15.30h, Networks of Resistance, Various (Newtown/Khanya College)
16–17h, Closing plenary session
17.30–20h, Closing party, House of Movements (Khanya College)
Saturday, 7 August to Monday, 9 August: Jozi Book Fair
9–17h, Jozi Book Fair, Museum Africa (Level 3 & 4)
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Khanya Annual Winter School 2010

Crisis of Resistance

1 – 9 August

Background to the 2010 Winter School
The 2010 annual Khanya College Winter School takes place against a backdrop of one of the worst crises in the global capitalist economy. In important respects, such as declines in production and the destruction of share values, the current crisis has been on a par with the 1929 global depression, while in others it has exceeded it, such as in the fall in global trade.
For its part, the international working class has been unable to deepen the crisis and turn it into a political crisis, one that calls into question the very future of the entire capitalist system itself. This despite massive job losses, falling wages, rising prices, huge state cuts in social services and a rise everywhere in all the social scourges from crime to prostitution to substance abuse and violence that attend such a rapid plunge into pauperism for large sections of the working class.
While the working class internationally has resisted the efforts of the ruling classes to shift the burden of the crisis onto it, these struggles have lacked the scale and depth to successfully do so. The working class has proved too weak. It now shoulders the burden of the crisis. It has proved unable even to call into question the neo-liberal model of capitalism, despite its obvious crisis of legitimacy.
The result is that, for the ruling class, the crisis appears to be passing. Companies such as Goldman Sachs and Barclays, operating in the sector that precipitated the crisis and most affected by it, are not only returning to profitability but are doing so in record style. While it is moot that the crisis is indeed over, considering developments in Europe surrounding the indebtedness of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, for example, there is no doubt the international ruling class has fully regained its confidence, and that it is very much business-as-usual, in the most literal sense. Despite all the initial threats to better regulate the finance sector to ensure no recurrence of the 2007 crisis, no such regulation has been forthcoming in any of the leading imperialist countries. If anything, the smaller, more concentrated and more profitable finance sector that has emerged out of the crisis is stronger than ever, more arrogant even, with Goldman Sachs setting aside $17 billion in bonuses for staff last year in the face of massive public outrage.
Crisis of Resistance: The theme of Winter School 2010
While the crisis may be receding for the capitalist class, the working class continues to be beset by its own crisis, namely, its inability to adequately raise its levels of resistance and challenge to the capitalist system, its crisis of resistance. This will constitute the theme of the 2010 Winter School.
The Crisis of Resistance theme will allow the various activities at the School to critically examine why the working class has been unable to defend itself against capitalist attacks. For some time a view has been put forward that neo-liberalism represents a new phase in imperialism, and that central to this phase of development is the complete reorganization of class relations between the capitalist class and the working class in particular. An important aspect to this reorganization of class relations is how neo-liberalism has broken up the working class, stripping some sections of the working class and their organizations of their social weight and political power while at the same time propelling to the fore sections of the working class not historically associated with a leading role in its struggles, cadre formation or ideological clarification.
Some have referred to this phase as one marking a whole new cycle of struggle, with different and new sections of the working class now constituting its leading fighting formations, with new forms of organization accompanying this development.
This had led to debates within the social justice movement whether organizations such as organized labour should continue to lead working class struggles, or whether this mantle has now passed to the newly emerging social movements. In the narrower, South African context, this debate is fuelled when in 2009 close on 1 million workers lose their jobs, with very little opposition from the labour movement, alongside a record number of ‘service delivery’ struggles in the townships.
The debate is further complicated by the fact that, again in the South African context, the social movements that emerged from around 2000 quickly reached their peak, in terms of levels of organization and mass support, before a period of protracted decline set in, pre-dating the current global crisis. This decline led to the complete demise of some of the movements, while others have continued to limp along, their future uncertain. Moreover, those that have continued to exist have singularly failed to connect up with the explosion of service delivery struggles that have taken place around the country, possibly hastening their demise as well.
The new and young leadership thrown up by the social movements has not yet had the time to develop for itself a clear theory about the nature of the present period, what it means to build organization in such a context, how to sustain organization in a period of political decline and, critically, how a cadre emerges and is built in such a period. In sum, the new leadership has not yet explicitly confronted what it means to build a new movement, if we are indeed in a new cycle of struggle.
Beyond this, it is incontrovertible that the working class movement has been in retreat since roughly 2004. Apart from the local examples given, the Southern Africa region has not witnessed any significant struggles for some time, and certainly no major ones in response to the crisis. Internationally, what became known as the ‘anti-globalisation movement’ has also been on the decline since after the global anti-Iraqi war demonstrations and protests. This is reflected in the decline of the World Social Forum, at one point regarded as the fulcrum around which resistance to neo-liberalism could be organized, and all the associated regional and local initiatives it gave rise to.
These are some of the issues the 2010 School will debate and discuss.
Who the 2010 Winter School Will Target
The Khanya College Annual Winter School 2010 will bring together 200 activists from South and Southern Africa. The event will take place over a period of 12 days in various venues in Johannesburg, South Africa. The primary target group are:
  • social justice activists;
  • activists in the social movements and organisations that the College works with directly; and
  • development practitioners from South Africa and Southern Africa.

The above target group will participate in the entire school, and, specifically, in the network and skills workshops. The rest of the school is open to the general public.

The Activities of the 2010 Winter School

Cultural Festival, 1 August
The aim is to provide space for local artists outside the ‘mainstream’ to showcase their work, provide a platform for linkages between progressive artists and the social movements, contribute to the emergence of a progressive and radical cultural movement and to build a broad radical social justice movement. All the activities of the cultural festival are open to the public and invitations will be sent to cultural activists, active in art forms, activists from the social movements, students, NGOs and other organisations. Cultural interventions covered include:

  • Eyes in Action – art exhibition running for the week of the school.
  • Words in Action – Poetry, reading and music festival, all day on Sunday.
  • Khanya Film Festival - every evening at the Zabalaza Theatre, House of Movements, 123 Pritchard Street

Skills for resistance workshops, 2–3 August
The primary aim of these 2-day workshops is to develop the capacity of activists to use various skills for the purposes of organising for social justice. Through popular education, the workshops will deal with the role of the particular skill in creating awareness of various issues and provide the technical training in the particular area. The following skills workshops will be available at the Winter School:

  • Silk-screening
  • Radio
  • Writing Skills
  • Popular Education
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Law and Organising
  • Banner & Mural making
  • Media Skills
  • Educational Workshop: Women's Legal rights and organising

Opening of the Winter School, 2 August
This will take the form of registration of participants and a keynote address. The registration will take place at various times during the day at the House of Movements, JHB
The keynote address on 'Crisis of Resistance’ event is open to the general public. Specific invitations will, however, be extended to social justice activists from among movements, students, NGOs and other organisations.

Conference on radical political economy, 2-3 August
The conference will run con-currently with the Skills Workshops, with between 40 and 50 participants, amongst them activists and progressive intellectuals. The conference will discuss the political economy of the Southern African region, its class structure, and the obstacles to and prospects for building social movements in the region current. This will build on the work of the first conference, held at the 2009 Winter School.

NGO/CBO Fair, 4 August
The NGO Fair is aimed at providing a space for various NGOs to profile their work, talk about challenges and to network with other NGOs that work in similar fields or who supplement the work they do. The fair will take place at Museum Africa

Networks of resistance meetings, 56 August
The primary aim of these meetings of networks and prospective networks is to build national and regional movements of activists organising in the various sites of struggle. In turn, these networks will contribute to the building of a radical social justice movement. The following meetings will take place as parallel sessions:

  • Southern African Farmworker Network
  • Network of Community Museums and Heritage Institutions
  • Network of Cultural Activists
  • Anti-Xenophobia Network
  • Network for Home-based Care workers
  • Environmental Justice Network
  • Economic Justice Network
  • Network of Community Photographers
  • Network of Service Delivery

Jozi Book Fair, 79 August
This is open to the public with invitiations to small publishers; progressive publishers; NGOs who publish books; activists from the social movements; students; social justice activists from NGOs and other organisations. The aim of the book fair is to profile writers and publishers, and provide a space for networking and book buying, thereby strengthening the development of a reading culture.

More information at:

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Khanya Annual Winter School 2009

Crisis and Resistance

The 11th Khanya College Annual Winter School took place from 30 July to 9 August 2009 in Johannesburg. The school brought together 400 social justice activists and development practitioners, and over 1000 members of the public from South and Southern Africa for ten days in different venues in Johannesburg.

The theme of Winter School 2009 was Crisis and Resistance, and focused on analysing the current economic crisis that has dealt a devastating blow to the international legitimacy of the capitalist system, and on developing political strategies of resistance to any reconfiguration of this system.

The education festival sought to provide a platform for the analysis of the current context, and to debate and discuss appropriate strategies to build and strengthen mass organisations of the working class, and therefore the realization of social justice by the social movements.

Context, Theme and Objectives

As with previous Khanya Annual Winter Schools, the 2009 edition sought to respond to the immediate context within which activists, communities and social movements are taking up the challenge of building a social justice movement aimed at improving the lives of the working people, and at transforming the power relations that lie at the root of the present cycle of poverty. Winter School 2009, however, went further than just respond to the context within which it is taking place. It also tried to do this in a manner that reaches a much broader audience than previous schools.
The festival took place against the background of the most profound crisis of the international economy since the 1930. For some, this crisis may prove to be even graver than the global economic crisis of the 1930s. The crisis comes against the background of a period of the growth of neoliberal capitalism, and of its unchallenged ideological sway for close to 40 years. During that period, notwithstanding the growing impoverishment of millions around the world, notwithstanding growing inequality around the world, the system of neoliberal capitalism was celebrated as the best humanity has ever devised, or at worst as the “the best worst system” for humanity. All this has now changed. Millions are out of work and millions more will loose work. The millions will loose their jobs in the context of the collapse of social safety nets around the world. The crisis will trigger major shifts in migration patters around the world, as workers are ‘sent back home’ and governments become ‘protectionist’ and fan xenophobia. An ecology already under stress from intense exploitation by an expanding neoliberal capitalism, will face stress from an industrial wasteland generated by the crisis, and from a scorched earth policy of corporations trying to squeeze the last ounce of profit from their operations.

The crisis of the global economic system has proceeded from a crisis of finance, to a crisis of production, to the crisis of the system itself. This progression has open up debate on the future of the system, and on economic alternatives in ways not heard since the debates of the 1960s on the ‘new economic order’. Views have ranged from arguments that the whole system needs to be abandoned and a new system founded, to arguments that the financial system simply needs to be re-regulated and the world economic will soon re-emerge from the crisis, to those who argue that the crisis is simply a ‘self-correction’ mechanism by the system and thus the system will soon get back into equilibrium. Whatever the view, the undeniable fact is that a space for debate on the future of the world economy has opened up.

Within South Africa and the region, the global economic threatens to put an end to the meager improvements in the living conditions of the people that had been held up as proof that the system works. South Africa has gone into “official” recession after month of accelerated job losses and stagnating incomes. To the extent that South Africa makes up 75% of the region, the southern Africa region has also gone into “official” recession.

While the fact of the crisis has opened spaces for debate, there is the equally important fact that if the social justice movement fails to enter the public debate, if it fails to influence public opinion towards socially just and egalitarian solutions, then the working class and the poor will carry the burden of the crisis. The Winter School therefore sought to provide the space for the social justice movement and the wider public to debate the nature and sources of the current global economic crisis, and to exchange views on egalitarian alternatives to the present world economic system.

Format of the Winter School 2009

Khanya Annual Winter School in 2009 took the form of an education festival, including conferences, sectoral networks of resistance meetings, skills for resistance workshops, an NGO fair, a book fair and cultural interventions such as a film festival, a theatre festival, a spoken word festival, and public seminars.

The previous 10 editions of the Winter School brought together more than 1 500 social justice activists from across the regions to debate the challenges facing civil society in its struggle for social justice in various countries in the region. The school’s format, however, has had a number of limitations which meant that new ways had to be found to advance the aims of the schools and to realize the on a broader scale. Thus, the format of the school as a 5 day conference or workshop had to be changed to meet new challenges. The present format seeks to provide a space for participation by a larger number of activists, and by an even larger public audience. Further, the present format seeks to resolve an inherent limitation of the old format, which provided limited space for next working, and for showcasing the work of various NGOs, social movements and CBOs. The NGO fair, and the book fair provide spaces not only for these organizations to profile themselves, but progressive networks to re-emerge within civil society.

The following activities of the Winter School 2009 aimed at realizing the objectives of providing spaces for debate: spaces for developing alternatives, spaces for networking, spaces for building skills and spaces for broader involvement by Khanya programmes and staff in the life and work of the Winter School.

These activities included:
Conference of Radical Political Economy
The 2-day conference invited activists and progressive intellectuals to discuss the current global economic crisis and analyse its implications. As part of Khanya College’s development of economic research and popularization, the conference was a first step in creating a space for left debate on radical economic analysis. The conference is planned as a regular feature of the Winter School, which includes the publication of the conference's proceedings.

Keynote Address – Crisis and Resistance
This public event features a keynote lecture focusing on the current global economic crisis and how various working class movement have responded to the crisis. The aim of this event was to raise the issues in debate with the broader public.

Cultural Interventions:
Poetry Festival: “Words in Action”
Art Exhibition: “Eyes in Action"
Film Festival
Theatre Festival

The aim of these interventions, which ran parallel to the Winter School, was to use poetry, creative writing, music, visual art, film and theatre as popular education media; to provide space for local artists outside the mainstream to showcase their work; to provide a platform for linkages between progressive artists and the social movements; to contribute to the emergence of a progressive and radical cultural movement; and to build a broad radical social justice movement.

Networks of Resistance meetings
Meetings of regional and local networks of the various sectors of the global justice movement which ran parallel for two days. These included farmworkers, independent unions, resource centres, publishers, solidarity networks, community museums and heritage institutions, environment and other meetings. The primary aim of these meetings of networks and prospective networks was to build national movements of activists. In turn, these networks will contribute to the building of a radical social justice movement.

Skills for Resistance workshops
These parallel 2-day workshops on various practical skills for resistance included silk-screening, community radio, writing and publishing, photography, popular education, public speaking, banner making, theatre in education, public spaces, and others. The primary aim of these workshops was to develop the capacity of activists to use various skills for the purposes of organizing for social justice. The workshops dealt with

  • the role of the particular skill in conscientisation and popular education;
  • the political-pedagogical issues associated with each of these areas of skill; and
  • technical training in the particular area.

NGO fair
Against the background of the crisis facing NGOs, this fair aimed at providing a space for various NGOs to profile their work, and to network with other NGOs that work in similar fields or who supplement the work they do. It also affords the NGOs the opportunity to profile their work with the broader public.

Jozi Book Fair
The aim of the Book Fair is to stimulate the development of progressive publishing in the country, the development of a reading culture within the working class in general and the social movements in particular, and to stimulate the growth of writing within the working class and the movements more specifically. The fair took place during the last two days of the Winter School.

Media and Publications
Imbila Yesu, the daily Khanya Annual Winter School newsletter, was produced during the course of the school. The newspaper covered the discussions at the school, as well as profiles and organising strategies and tactics of the participating organisations. The newspaper was produced by a group of Khanya-trained media activists from the communities, thereby providing these activists the space to practice their skills.

Radio broadcasts
The media activists trained by Khanya also produced content for radio programmes for broadcast by university and community radio stations. This activity provided the media activists the space to practice their skills and gain experience in content editing and production, which can then be used in their communities. The radio broadcasts also ensured that the Winter school is placed in the public domain, and accessible to a wider audience.

Khanya Journal on Crisis and Resistance
The third edition of the Khanya Journal for Activists for 2009 will be a Winter School edition, and will focus on the discussions, debates, and activities of the school. This edition serves as an in-depth report of the school.

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Khanya Annual Winter School 2007

Popular Education for Social Mobilisation in the Age of Globalisation

by Nerisha Baldevu

The 9th annual Khanya College Winter School took place from 1 to 7 July 2007 at the Magaliesberg Conference Centre in Broederstroom. The theme of Winter School 2007 was Popular Education for Social Mobilisation in the Age of Globalisation.


Context of Winter School 2007

Most of the theory and practice of popular education, and the methodological issues associated with it, belong to a social justice movement that was born in the 1960s and reached its height in the 1980s. The fundamental work on popular education in this period was written and published in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was an historical period characterised by the rise of militant unions, civic organisations and a militant student movement.
These movements suffered serious setbacks with the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s, and for many of them, the 1990s was a period of demoralisation and defeat. By the end of the 1990s, however, a new movement of struggle for social justice began to take shape. At an international level, this new movement of struggle for social justice became most visible in the struggles in Seattle at the end of 1999, and was consolidated with the launch of the World Social Forum process in 2001.

Within South Africa, similar social justice movements emerged at about the same time. Some of these new movements have become national formations while others remain within local communities. Many of these new movements have called on Khanya College to assist with a range of educational activities e.g. awareness raising processes, political-economy training and organisation building and survival strategies.

Khanya College and popular education

Khanya College was formed in 1986 as part of the struggle against apartheid in general and against apartheid education in particular. During that period, the struggle against apartheid in education was on the upswing, with a rise in visibility of national student organisations and the formation of the National Education Crisis Committee. In recent times, however, (especially since the end of the 1990s) Khanya College has been identified with the struggle against neo-liberalism. An important feature of the profile of the College in the present period is that it is seen as part of the new wave of organising by communities and by the working class: the new social movements.


In the past 21 years, Khanya College has been involved in using the popular education pedagogy for the building of these social movements. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, this popular education methodology was mostly used with the most active groups in the process of social mobilisation, like the industrial working class and students. The new movements that have emerged in the past six years have, however, thrown up a new set of challenges for the theory and practice of popular education:

  • The new movements are composed of predominantly unemployed, informal sector or self-employed and, most importantly, women. This has posed a real challenge as to how to deal with the immediate issues of survival at the same time as the movements address the broader issues of social, economic and political justice. The preponderance of women in the new movements has given a strategic and political significance to the issue of gender and social mobilisation.
  • As communities have become more and more impoverished, the issue of resources for mobilisation for social action has taken on a new significance. It is also important to ensure that meagre community resources do not become a divisive factor but become a factor that builds solidarity.
  • Many of the activists in the new movements have limited organisational experience. Sustaining levels of mobilisation, organisation, and solidarity building within local and global contexts are some of the key challenges facing the new activists.


Movement building in the context of neo-liberal globalisation

The challenges mentioned above are not unique to South Africa alone. Movement building under neo-liberalism means dealing with wide-scale work re-organisation and the declining influence of organised workers, a predominance of women active in the movements and a constituency faced with daily questions of survival and a continuous decline in living standards and resources.
For popular education institutions like Khanya College, it is important that we play a role in developing educational methodologies that take into account the context of neo-liberal globalisation and the challenges this poses for building social justice movements.
Of course, the new context arising out of globalisation has also thrown up new possibilities for the practice of popular education within the social justice movement. The rise of the internet as a medium of communication, and in particular, its convergence with ‘older’ media like radio and television has opened up new possibilities for the global social justice movement.
It is important that we begin to reflect on the post 1990’s period in South Africa and internationally, the emergence and building of new (types of) social movements in the 2000’s, and the challenges this poses for popular education. Winter School 2007 sought to provide the space for this.

The aims of Winter School 2007
  • To explore and debate the theory and practice of popular education in the context of neo-liberalism and globalisation
  • To explore, debate and draw lessons from the theory and practice of the popular education in the context of the social justice movement of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
  • To explore the place and role of popular education in the new global social justice movement.
  • To provide Khanya College with an opportunity to reflect on it’s popular education practices over the past twenty years.
  • As part of the 21st Anniversary celebrations, to raise the profile of Khanya College as popular education institution.
  • To build and consolidate links and networks between and among other popular education institutions and activists/practitioners
  • To provide a platform for building networks between popular education institutions and social movements
Profile of participants

There were 131 participants at the school from 60 different organisations, including 20 Khanya College staff. Twenty-two of the organisations represented at the school were from the North and Southern Africa. Organisations represented included social movements, community based organisations, trade unions and NGOs.
There were 11 countries in Africa represented at the school. These were Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Thirty percent of participants at the school came from countries outside South Africa. Of particular significance for us as the organisers was the participation of comrades from Kenya, Lesotho, and Tanzania – countries that have not previously been represented at the school. The Kenyan and Lesotho participation was as a result of links forged before and during the World Social Forum 2007 in Nairobi. Tanzanian participation was as a result of the Southern African Farm workers Network, of which Khanya is the host institution.
Although the majority of participants at the school indicated they were from NGOs (39%) – which was to be expected, taking into account the focus of the School – there was nonetheless a significant increase in the percentage of participants from social movements and trade unions as compared to 2006. This is in part due to a deliberate decision within Khanya College to increase the attendance of comrades from social movements. The increase in trade union participation is due to the inclusion of the members of the Southern African Farm worker Network at the School.
Only 40% of the participants were women, despite Khanya College’s request to organisations for a 50-50 representation of delegations. This issue resulted in a special discussion at the school, and an agreement between Khanya College and participating organisations that:

  • All future delegations would have a 50-50 sex representation;
  • Organisations that did not meet this criterion would be excluded from the School in future;
  • Organisations would hold internal discussions on the issue of gender equity at conferences and meetings; and,
  • Khanya College also agreed to continue providing child care facilities at all its events to enable greater participation of women comrades.
The programme

The programme of the school was designed around six key themes:

  • What is popular education: which looked at issues such as what is education, who is the educator, how do people learn, and the theory and practice of education.
  • Forms of popular education: with a practical aspect to each of the forms (radio, drama, poetry, newspapers, music, photography, t-shirt/banner making, film and sport), which explored the history and development of each of the forms, their successes and failures, role under neo-liberalism, and their practical applications
  • Popular history and popular education: which entailed a visit to the Workers’ Library and Museum in Newtown, presentations on the lives of migrant workers who lived at the museum, and the history of the Workers’ Library.
  • Education in the different sectors: (women, youth, rural, labour & social movements) which looked at the issues as indicated in the theme on forms, but with a particular focus on the educational challenges of the specific sector in the context of neo-liberalism, with the ultimate aim of identifying the appropriate educational forms for this context.
  • Education and class domination: which looked at popular education as counter hegemonic movement, i.e., ultimately, a contestation of power.
  • Popular education in the context of neo-liberalism: which looked at the effects of neo-liberalism in reorganising the working class, the new movements leading the struggles and what this means for the theory and practice of popular education.

All the six themes integrated the gender aspect to popular education in the discussions. Furthermore, the sessions on the forms of popular education included a practical aspect, and resulted in the production of theatre pieces, songs, t-shirts, banners, photographs and radio interviews. As a result, the overall School programme was described as “funky” by participants.


The School also produced the daily official winter school newsletter, Imbila Yesu, which provided participants the space to submit articles, as well as be involved in the whole production process. This year the newsletter was produced in A3 newsprint format, giving it much cleaner, and more professional look. A dedicated media team made up of participants from South Africa and Zambia was responsible for its daily production. We have selected three editions of the newsletter and included them in this journal for your reading pleasure. Unfortunately, this year, there were limited contributions from the rest of the participants at the school, perhaps reflective of the nature of the period, and the state of movements in general.
A new addition to Winter School 2007 was the daily broadcasts from RASA radio, the official Winter School radio. The broadcasts supplemented the School programme to some extent, but also included interviews with participants from the region on the state of movements, organising and struggle in their respective countries, as well as specific issues such as the involvement, participation and leadership of women in movements. Through this, participants got the opportunity to share information and experiences, as well as gain experience in broadcasting.

Evening programme

The evening sessions of the first two days of the school entailed a mini-film festival, with screenings and discussions of films from the African continent, as well as vibrant discussions on the use of film and film clubs as organising strategies for movements.
Another evening session looked at the political situation in Zimbabwe, with a panel of Zimbabwean activists at the school providing insight and information into the struggles and attempts at organising in Zimbabwe. Particularly contentious was apparent reliance of Zimbabwean activists and organisations on formal government structures such as the African Union and the SADC leaders to address the issues in Zimbabwe. Participants at the school engaged the Zimbabwean comrades on the issue of methods of building solidarity with the Zimbabwean struggle, and reaffirmed their support for the struggle in Zimbabwe.
Winter School 2007 wrapped on a convivial note with a cultural and dance party on the last evening. The event included performances by local poets and artists, as well as by comrades from Swaziland, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Comrades from Kenya and Zimbabwe also used the event to launch their respective socially conscious hip-hop CDs. The Anti-Privatisation Forum also used the event to re-launch its “Songs of the Working Class” compilation CD, and to celebrate its 7th birthday.


Winter School 2007 was a tremendous contribution to the existing discourse on forms and methods of organising, and the role of popular education in this process – historically and currently. It was also a space in which Khanya College and the participating organisations were able to consolidate links forged at and before WSF 2007 in Nairobi, other existing links, and to form new links. The youth at the School also used the space provided to form and launch a Southern African Youth Network, to facilitate the discussion and exchange of experiences of organising around youth issues, as well as to strategise their intervention in spaces such as the Southern African Social Forum. While the school was, overall, a resounding success, it is clear from participant evaluation of the school that, for a lot of young activists within the new social movements, a great deal more needs to be done in popularising the political significance of the various forms of popular education as mobilising tools.

Nerisha Baldevu is the convenor  of the Winter School and works at Khanya College as the co-ordinator of the Southern Africa and Solidarity Centre Programme.

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