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What We Do – KHANYA COLLEGE
 
 

WHAT WE DO

 

 

Activities of Khanya College

Khanya College engages in six kinds of activities. These are:

  • Education and training workshops and seminars
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Creating platforms for the social justice movement to network and build solidarity
  • Campaigns, organising and advocacy
  • Provision of support infrastructure for the social movements

 In the course of all these kinds of activities the College pursues four core objectives:

  • To build the theoretical, analytical and conceptual capacity of activists so as to enhance their understanding of the world in which they live and act;
  • To enhance their organisational and mobilisation skills so as to improve their ability to organise for social change;
  • To promote an ethos and practice of solidarity and social justice among activists; and
  • To promote and facilitate the emergence of citizen movements that actively defend and promote democracy.

1.Education and Training workshops

The College designs and facilitates workshops, seminars and other educational events like conferences. The workshops are designed in consultation with the beneficiary constituency.
The statement from our workshop design sessions captures Khanya’s approach to educational methods:
“In the workshops, facilitators will start with participant’s knowledge and experience, bring that experience into a collective framework and add new information and knowledge. This will be done by using small group discussions, plenary debates, role plays, inputs, videos and case studies, and other techniques.”

2.Research
Khanya College conducts research on various topics of interests to the constituencies we serve. We see research as an important activity that enhances the quality of our educational activity. Research also ensures that working class organisations’ responses to the challenges they face are based on up-to-date information and carefully reasoned views.
Research conducted by the College is either on request from our constituencies or is initiated by the College. The research is also integrated into various aspects of the College’s work, and is used to support organising work by the College and its constituencies.
3.PublicationsBesides the publication of its research work, Khanya College also produces popular publications on various topics of interest to its constituencies. The publications range from booklets, calendars, posters, articles in journals and manuals, newsletters such as Tsohang Batjha for youth, Ditokelo for the access to justice, My Class for the Jozi Book Fair, and others. The publications are written in an accessible and readable style, while at the same time introducing readers to ideas and arguments that require deeper theoretical understanding.
The College is also committed to assisting mass organisations and social movements in producing their own publications. A key intervention in this regard is Forum News, a newsletter produced by Community Healthcare Workers.

d. Campaigns, Organising and Advocacy

Over the last 20 years the College has received many requests to assist with building new movements and organisations. The College sees the building of these movements and organisations as part of its mission of assisting working class communities to develop effective responses to political and economic globalisation. This aspect of the work of the College includes participation in various campaigns, in advocacy around various issues facing the movements, and in assisting in organising initiatives undertaken by the movements.

  1. Creating platforms for networking, debate and solidarity

In the last few years the College has created such platforms for debate, which include the Khanya Journal, the Khanya Annual Winter School, participation in the Southern Africa Social Forum and the World Social Forum process, various publications, seminars and study groups, and the Jozi Book Fair Festival.

f. Provision of support infrastructure for the social movements

The College is also involved in providing support infrastructure for the mass organisations and social movements. This work of the College includes provision of IT infrastructure, resource centre, conference centre facilities, printing facilities, and so on. Whenever possible, the College has entered into partnerships with other organisations to facilitate the social movements’ access to these resources.
The Programmes of Khanya CollegeIn order to realise its mission of serving working class and poor communities, Khanya College has organised its work into three key programmes. These are:

  1. The Strategy Centre for Social Movements
  2. The Critical Citizenship and Education Programme

iii. Institutional Strengthening Programme

  1. The Strategy Centre for Social Movements

The primary aim of the Centre is to facilitate the discovery, formation, and strengthening of organisations, solidarity networks and new layers of leadership within the working class and the poor. The Centre seeks to create platforms that facilitate dialogue, debate and sharing of experiences of movement building among activists and their organisations. In the course of this work the Centre facilitates the search for new forms of organisation and struggle among the working class and the poor.

An essential part of the work of the Centre is to build a women’s movement committed to a deep and thoroughgoing transformation of the position of women in South Africa, the region and the world. The promotion of women’s liberation is thus a crosscutting theme that informs all the work of the College.
The work of the Centre includes the Khanya Annual Winter School; the Khanya Journal for Activists; producing a national newspaper, Karibu!; training community journalists; organising Home-based Care Workers; promoting access to justice through bringing legal advice to communities through Mass Advice Days; activist training in organisation building; organising exchange and learning visits between organisations; creating platforms of working class self-education such as study groups and educational supplements in Karibu!, among others.
  1. The Critical Citizenship and Education Programme

The two key aims of this programme are, firstly, to improve and rebuild the basic capacities and generic skills of community activists (these include reading, writing and cognitive skills), and secondly to build a culture of critical thinking, debate and active citizenship. The long-term perspective of this programme is to build a readers and writers movement through setting up study groups, book clubs, and writers circles and providing support for self-publishing for a broad constituency. Through its collaboration with the Busara Institute for Research and Publishing, this programme also sets up support infrastructures for readers and writers.

Since 2009 Khanya has organised the Jozi Book Fair Festival, and over the years it has grown to include six ongoing programmes directed at bringing key constituencies into the world of reading, writing, publishing, jazz, theatre and other cultural activities. The Critical Citizenship & Education Programme has therefore grown around the Jozi Book Fair. The interventions in this programme include:

  • The Children’s Project (Poetry Buddies) – focuses on children between 6 to 12 years and helps them publish poetry, art and short stories; participate in the Jozi Book Fair Festival; and access books, including through libraries in various townships.
  • Schools Project (Tsohang Batjha) – focuses on high school youth, helps them develop writing and reading skills, and publishes their work. It also trains school librarians and supplies books to schools and public libraries. Produces a schools’ literary magazine.
  • The Khanya Jazz School – provides music lessons with a focus on jazz for youth; provides spaces for young jazz musicians to perform; makes jazz music and jazz education available to the wider public.
  • The Khanya Youth Theatre Project – provides training in theatre; creates spaces for performance; develops theatre audiences among youth and the broad public.
  • Writers and Small Publishers Project – subsidises and supports small and self-publishers; provides training workshops for aspiring writers; provides affordable printing and publishing facilities.
  • Jozi House of Literature – provides facilities for seminars, workshops, resource centres, computer centres, and conferences facilities; provides infrastructure to support writers and the book trade in general; provides space to host literary events.
  • The Jozi Book Fair Festival – held once a year and brings audiences of more than 5000 including schools, children and the general public; hosts more than 45 publishers, 120 events and more than 100 authors and panellists; 60% of events hosted by the public; entrance free to the public.

iii. Institutional Strengthening ProgrammeThe aim of this programme is to strengthen Khanya College as an institution so that it can effectively play an ongoing catalytic role in social justice movement building. The strengthening of Khanya as an institution is organised along three main lines. Firstly, the work of this programme includes ensuring ongoing resource mobilisation, setting up and maintaining an efficient administrative infrastructure, and providing administrative support for programmatic interventions of the College. Secondly, the work includes the ongoing development of the programmatic orientation of the College and ensuring that it remains responsive to a constantly changing environment for social justice work. The third strand of this programme focuses on building a strong and stable cadre for Khanya College. This includes ensuring institutional cohesion, capacity building for staff, and ensuring that Khanya staff is committed to its basic mission of serving the working class and the poor.