Reflections on self-realisation in art-based community development: exploring the impact of Caversham Centre and its outreach programs from 2008 to 2010.
Nyide, Witty Nonhlanhla.
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This study critically reflects on the impact of selected community-based interventions activated through Caversham Centre between 2008 and 2010, particularly focusing on how two project leaders who head programmes located in Mtubatuba and Harding perceive the role of these initiatives within lived contexts. Drawing upon critical feminist pedagogy as a framework for intersectional self-reflexivity and using an interpretive qualitative approach, I consider how the people-centred elements of the initiatives engage some of the crucial psychosocial imperatives towards self-reliance. Against the widely documented inequalities reproduced in post-1994 South Africa, I consider the potential of art-based community development, particularly within the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector, to not only address patterns in which historically marginalised people are regarded as perpetual ‘beneficiaries’ but their potential to offer decolonising methodologies. The retrospective focus of this project necessitated a combination of documentary analysis and unstructured field observations as primary research methods. The findings indicate that the practical application of the mission statement ‘self-belief through self-expression’, in which Caversham Centre’s community-based initiatives were framed, contributes to the activation of a liberatory pedagogy and foregrounds the plurality of tacit dimensions of knowledge. Elements of these contributions begin to challenge the devaluing modes in which human lives, particularly those of underclass women based in rural contexts, tend to occupy the South African psychosocial space. In this, market-based scopes of human development criteria dominating post-1994 neo-liberal policies are de-centred.