by Injairu Kulundu
The following section will address the three questions below concurrently.
- Q1: Please describe how often you have met with the T-learning participants, and what the purpose of these meetings were.
- Q2: Please describe carefully what took place in these meetings from a LEARNING INTERACTIONS point of view.
- Q3: Please share dialogues from the data and/or photographic or video graphic materials which provide insights into the learning interactions and what is happening via the learning interactions.
At the end of 2016 I met with 21 dynamic Change Drivers from all across South Africa. The 21 Change Drivers were divided into three separate intakes. Each intake met for a four day residential workshop at Stanford Valley in Hermanus. The dates for each workshop were ; the 30th of October to the 3rd of November for intake 1, the 20th to the 24th of November for intake 2 and from the 4th to the 8th of December for intake 3. Change Drivers nominated themselves to be a part of this project. They were briefed that the project was essentially about regenerating liberatory pedagogy in contemporary South Africa based on the current experiences and transgressive learning of Change Drivers from across the country.
During these workshops we collectively took the time to reflect on the significant moments and experiences that have influenced the different ways Change Drivers think and practice social change in their contexts. This was a space to think about how their practice has evolved over the years and some of the necessary transgressions they have performed as part of this evolution.
We began our time together by co- defining key terms that we often use as a community of Change Drivers. The exploration of these terms was done using creative metaphors and methodologies as a way of creating a space where each person would be challenged to think carefully about what their experience around these terms has been. These creative methodologies provided strange and engaging ways to explore and express what we know to be true. The strangeness of each methodology was a deliberate tactic to get Change Drivers to go beyond the spoken word and rational deliberation as a predominant way of expressing ourselves.
The first of these terms was the word ‘Change Driver’ itself. We explored where this term comes from what it means for those who choose to define themselves in this way. We went for long walks in nature and each participant was asked to come back with something they could find in nature that represents what a Change Driver is.
Some of the definitions that came up include the definition of a Change Driver as someone resilient (like a discarded coke can, or a rock or the soil ) who purposely disrupts the status quo and creates positive change ( like many seeds) in their community. An important part of this was the courage needed to actively adapt (like water) to the situations one finds in their community in integral ways.
After this we explored the individual contexts that Change Drivers come from in great detail and how this influences the specific work that they do. As part of this we began to collectively analyze what the status quo looks like from their different perspectives. This was an interesting way to pay attention to what is showing up in the life worlds of Change Drivers as they continue to devote themselves to creating sustainable viable futures in their communities. It was interesting to witness the different features that were brought up as a part of this.
Change Drivers spoke about the impact of patriarchy, traditional culture, sexism, violence, corruption, limited forms of education and access to resources in general as being parts of how they experienced the status quo in their contexts. They also spoke about how the way that success is measured and promoted through media as an enduring feature of how the status quo perpetuates itself.
We also co- defined what it means to transgress which included ideas about how to keep oneself moving past the boundaries that society imposes upon us or even moving past more personal boundaries in response to society. We spoke about how some situations have the effect of making us shed our skins, and literally evolve forward towards other ways of being in the world.
We collectively brainstormed our ideas around what the status quo looked like and used movement in the space to jump start our ideas about what it means to transgress. From here, each co – conspirer was invited take the time to make cartographic maps of the way in which they have navigated their specific contexts, and how this has evolved over time. Everybody was asked to pay specific attention to instances in which they feel they were compelled to transgress, grow or learn something significant in response to their context. We spent a whole day making creative pieces that represented their transgressive journeys.
We kicked off the next day by inviting everyone to take a step back and look at what they had created with fresh eyes and journal what what they saw when they looked at what they created. When they looked at the pictures they created what could they say their journey had been like? What have they been learning and unlearning? What are the key transgressive impulses that they have had over time? What have they been ‘becoming’ as part of this process?