Non-formal citizenship education in Cape Town : struggling to learn or learning to struggle?
In the past, non formal education in South Africa was committed to supporting the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) in opposition to apartheid. Such non-formal political education was concerned with education for democracy, that is, preparing people for democracy. Post 1994, adult education policy has focused on vocational training, which has shifted the focus away from education for social purpose. My concern was that democracy is a process and a system that constantly needs to be nurtured. This requires citizens that know their constitutional rights and responsibilities, and how to put them into action. In view of this, I decided to enquire what kind of education exists that aims to build civil society by promoting social justice and social reconstruction in the new democracy. My research critically investigated and analysed the political education programmes in three organisations in Cape Town, Western Cape: an NGO, a trade union congress and a social movement registered as an NGO. They focused on supporting the efforts of people who are unemployed (Alternative Information and Development Centre), shop stewards (Congress of South African Trade Unions) and HIV positive people (Treatment Action Campaign). These programmes aimed to develop an „active. and „critical thinking. new layer of „leadership.. This thesis explores how participants in three organisations understand their roles and identities as participants, activists and as citizens; the spaces and dynamics through which they engage and participate to express their interests, the learning that happens in these spaces through education and collective action, and the participants. relationship to issues of democracy, participation, rights and accountability. This qualitative study employed a case study methodology. It used observation, document review and semi-structured interviews to gather data. The study used concepts drawn from citizenship education and popular education to analyse data. The education offered by these three organisations was popular education in theory, but not always popular education in practice. The participants started: acquiring knowledge and skills for campaigning: learning about the constitution; seeing that the personal is political; becoming more active; showing signs of critical thinking; evidencing active emancipation; and evidencing signs of critical emancipation. Due to a compromised facilitation process, my recommendations are that the facilitators start: putting process in focus; avoiding banking education; making follow-ups of report backs a priority; putting a sexist free education environment in focus; eradicating intimidating facilitator behaviour; and developing practical material. My study has shown that critical citizenship education, which raises participants. awareness about injustice and oppression, can help them voice their most immediate felt needs through solidarity and action.