South Africa2020-01-13T09:54:21+00:00

Project Description


The South African teams worked across learning networks to re-imagine learning and change for the common good. These learning networks were found in rural farming communities, amongst urban youth, in local governments, and in activist movements. Nexus issues focused on included climate change and food security, democracy and social justice, well-being and decolonisation, and service delivery. Methods used included arts-based inquiry, empatheatre, cartography, change laboratories and participatory change projects.


Transgressing to Learn

The City of Cape Town, like a number of other towns in South Africa, was running out of water and remains vulnerable to climate change induced drought. The City Municipality used the concept of ‘Day Zero’ to alert the community to the impending risk. Much media hype was created around this slogan, we decided to introduce the initiative DayOne Podcast which would critically unpack the water crisis through a consideration of social justice and share community based initiatives that offer hopeful ways forwards. The podcast brought together a range of city voices who were not represented in the mainstream communication.

In the T-learning project, a team of researchers, working with radio hosts and translators decided to transgress this narrative of a single story of crisis by re-framing to a complex story of crisis and hope: ‘Day One’, a home for voices across the city to come to terms with the water crisis.

Water activists, anthropologists, borehole drillers, horticulturalists, Musicians, graffiti artists, the children’s movement, comedians, early career researchers, citizens.

Learn to Transgress

Podcast building and audio recordings as a medium for conversations and voicing.

A 4 episode series capturing and unpacking the water crisis in Cape Town. These are the products of a range of conversation processes which are continuing now in various forms of audio-arts-based pedagogical modes.


Transgressing to Learn

Knowledge of rainwater harvesting, conservation and knowledge of the use of harvested rainwater has been researched and documented by the Water Research Commission however the books (where the knowledge has been recorded by the WRC) were not accessible. This knowledge sharing would support agricultural production and the change of practice in response to drought.
Continuous knowledge sharing now exists between a broad range of agricultural practitioners on rainwater harvesting, conservation and use as well as agroecology.
Agricultural training Institutions, universities, students, lecturers, researchers, government departments, agricultural training NGO’s, farmers, media practitioners (radio and newspaper), from the Eastern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa

Learn to Transgress

Through Training of Trainers courses, learning networks, demonstration sites and media (WhatsApp, Facebook, radio, Website, YouTube channel).
Three courses on rainwater harvesting, conservation and use knowledge;
Three learning networks situated in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West Province.
Multiple demonstration sites in the three provinces.
Curriculum changes in agricultural training programmes,
Understanding of media platforms for agricultural learning.
A group of youth farmers who are running Training of trainers courses.


A Website containing downloadable resources; the WRC books on rainwater harvesting and conservation, posters by the Amanzi for Food project and learning networks, postcards and YouTube videos:



Transgressing to Learn

South Africa’s food systems are characterised by centralised produce supply, rather than localised sourcing. The Food for Us project was designed as a project to address the challenge of on-farm food waste within communities that experience malnutrition and hunger. This is due to the food formal market being predominantly unaccessible for many small scale farmers. The Food for Us project brought different role-players of the local supply chain together to explore how mobile technology could address this challenge.
The Food for Us project transgressed boundaries between communities of practice (farmers, buyers of produce and retailers) through workshops and facilitated discussion. Mobile technology brought together young farmers and old farmers who taught each other how to use the application crossing generational boundaries.
Food for Us team, ELRC researchers, Raymond Mhlaba Development Agency, Mxumbu Youth Co-operative, Imvotho Bubomi Learning Network, Raymond Mhlaba Farming Association, SPAR representatives, Local guesthouse owners, Local fresh produce retainers.

Learn to Transgress

The Food for Us mobile application was the tool to connect different people within the local supply chain to promote the purchasing of locally grown vegetables.

A series of workshops were used to introduce the mobile application.

There was a lot of learning around the use of mobile applications and learning how to use technology within small scale farming communities.
The Raymond Mhlaba community was very receptive to the project and took a strong role in leading the community involvement.


Transgressing to Learn

The “Not yet Uhuru!” project positions itself as an experiment in emancipatory African research in motion. It is a regenerative project that responds to the concerns that while dominant discourses know nearly everything that African states, societies and economies are not, we still know very little about what they actually are, especially when it pertains to the futures that majority of young people on the continent are instinctively leading themselves to (Mbembe, 2001, p9).
The project seeks to forgo youth development strategies that act as a form of containment and prescribe normative aspects of citizenship on young leaders stifle the transgressive impulses that they have reason to desire (Kelley, Tuck and Yang, 2014, 89). It seeks to understand and trace what transgressive decolonial pedagogical praxis has looked like across the African continent as a way of accompanying or “khapa(ring)” the contemporary questions that Change Drivers in South Africa hold at the edge of their praxis. It is a journey in pedagogical thought and praxis that seeks to draw out and regenerate important and unfinished business in praxis that is showing up in solidarity with the contemporary questions that Change Drivers hold.
The study co-conspired with 21 Change Drivers in South Africa who were interested in regenerating and reimagining what transgressive decolonial praxis could be in these times based on their experiences and learnings. A Change Driver is a young person that is distinguished by the work that they are already doing for the common good (Why Activate, 2016). They are devoted to creating a positive and progressive future for their community and society as a whole in their own unique ways. They come from all walks of life, be it from urban or rural contexts, different socio- economic statuses, formal or non- formal educational backgrounds and various identity and gender-based differences. These young leaders truly represent the stark diversity that people situated in the different poles of South African society represent.

Learn to Transgress

In a residential art-based workshop that was based on the “ethics of attunement” the offerings that each Change Driver made towards this subject matter were distilled through film (Lispari, 2014, p176). These in turn were reflected using the medium of song as a pedagogical tool two years after the initial offerings were made and shared by the 21 co-conspirers. This methodology helped create another iteration of their reflections on their praxis over time. The praxis of Change Drivers in conversation with three unique reviews that chart questions around, transgressive decolonial pedagogical praxis through the use of fictional texts, intergenerational analysis, political theory and poetry in order to surface resonant themes in praxis that echo across different times in history. This methodology sought to engage the question the archive in pluriversal ways that appealed to distinctive sensibilities from the hermeneutical, the rational to the gifts of the lyrical and the erotic as holding important theoretical threads needed to resource this study. The reviews additionally spanned periods in the history of the continent that hold questions around the precolonial and nascent colonial encounters, efforts to transgress within the liberatory movements and the intergenerational struggles embedded in women and queer people’s struggles.

The themes that coalesced across times were leveraged into capsules of rising cultures that form an experimental nexus for the practice of transgressive decolonial pedagogical praxis that is already underway. These rising cultures were conceptualised as a meditations on what it means to live into a vision of home built on the explorations of a paradigm of peace, humanness, pluriversality and decolonial love for those like an unlike us that strive for freedom on this continent (Dlala, 2017, p52) (Ndlovu- Gatsheni, 2014, p142) & (Gqola, 2017, pp197, 199). The rising cultures were reconciled through the creation of a litany that chronicles different refrains in transgressive decolonial pedagogical praxis in contemporary times. The litany is a tool that charts particular experiences that are surfacing as symptomatic.It seeks to generously surface the contradictions that we are collectively starting to see past, whilst acknowledging the tensions that we need to straddle, integrate and navigate towards greater synthesis.

The litany is an honest way of acknowledging the glimpses gained of who we are in this present moment, while we continually challenge ourselves to open up to questions about what it means to grapple towards a decolonial futures. This stance influences my role as an educator to unconditionally embrace what is already underway, and reflect it back to those that I am conspiring with in ways that promote an ethic of care and solidarity.

The study celebrates what is possible when we do not theorise ourselves away from the questions embedded in our current praxis. This is an ethic that chooses to stay close to the phenomena arriving at present, whilst acknowledging the historical experiences that echo it as a pulse for meaningful experimentation and praxis. The study believes by being faithful to ways of amplifying, integrating and reflecting what has been emerging for us over time, we build our capacity to better respond with an ethic centred on transgressive decolonial pedagogical praxis. This is the kind accompaniment and care that Change Drivers across the continent deserve as they make the way towards a future worthy of their longing (Rushdie, 1997).

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