Who We ARe




Khanya College is an independent non-governmental organisation based in
Johannesburg, South Africa. The primary aim of Khanya College is to assist various
constituencies within working class and poor communities to respond to the challenges posed by the forces of economic and political globalisation. Khanya College offers assistance through providing educational and training workshops, publications and research to organisations and individuals in these communities. Khanya College contributes to these challenges by emphasising solutions based on social solidarity, popular democracy and participation, organisation and mobilisation. Khanya College was founded in 1986 as a project of the South African Committee for Higher Education Trust (SACHED Trust).

Statement of Purpose

The mission of Khanya College is to:

  • Provide education which is relevant for the needs of historically oppressed communities;
  • Contribute to the strengthening of community-based organisations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations;
  • Contribute to a process of social change and development, especially in education;
  • Operate democratically, accountably and efficiently.

Brief History of Khanya College

The original purpose of the College was to provide university access courses for people who had been active in community and mass organisations. In addition to providing access for students, Khanya was set up as an alternative form of tertiary education. The College, therefore, attempted to run democratically and encouraged students to return to serve their communities after completing their studies. As part of Khanya’s commitment to
development, each student had to work for at least half a day per week in a progressive NGO or mass organisation.

In 1992, Khanya decided to expand its commitment to building democratic organisations by starting a Community Division, later renamed the Labour and Community Division (LACOM). The LACOM Division has specialised in training for civics, unions, student organisations, churches, and other community-based structures.

The orientation of the College towards mass organisations has been deepened over the last 20 years. The emergence of a range of new social movements in the post-apartheid period has posed new challenges to the College. The College has responded to the emergence of these new movements by developing a number of new programmes, and by deepening its relationship with the movements.

The structure of the College

In 1993 the College became independent of Sached and the Khanya College Johannesburg Trust was formed, with a Board of Trustees responsible for the overall policy direction of the organisation. Initially the Board consisted mainly of academics but this has changed over time to reflect the range of constituencies Khanya College deals with. Presently, the Board is made up of a combination of academics, trade unionists, community-based organisations, representatives of other NGOs active in the same field as the College, and the social movements campaigning on various issues.

The College is registered as a Trust and is governed by a Board of Trustees as its highest decision-making structure. Internally the College is divided into a number of programmes, and there is a College Co-ordinator who co-ordinates the work of the College and the various programmes.

The College Co-ordinator works with the College Coordinating Team and a Project Coordinating Team to manage the College on a long-term strategic basis, as well as on a day-to-day basis. These two structures include the Assistant College Coordinator(s) and Project Coordinators.

Every five years the College hosts an All College Conference to review its work over the preceding period, to reflect on the changing context within which the College has to operate, and chart out a strategic orientation whose aim is to ensure that the College continues to serve the working class and the poor. The All College Conference is made up of the Board, the staff, the communities the College works with as well as its allies in the social justice movement.

The College strives to operate democratically and accountably with as little hierarchy as possible. The College is also committed to a gender sensitive environment, fair and progressive labour standards, and to a relatively flat wage structure. Khanya is sensitive to the ecological and environmental challenges faced by working class and poor communities, and is therefore committed to operate in an ecologically progressive way.


One of the key elements of Khanya College’s statement of purpose is to work accountability. To achieve this Khanya College produces a range of narrative and financial reports, regularly produces audited financial statements and files reports with various statutory bodies as part of its obligations as an NPO and as a Trust.

Through its various websites and newsletters Khanya College also keeps the constituencies it works with of developments in the College.

In addition to ongoing evaluation of activities of the College by various participants in its programme, Khanya College also conducts external evaluations from time to time. Once every 5 years Khanya College hosts the All College Conference, which also acts as a space where constituencies and partners can review of the work of the College and hold it accountale to its objectives and programmatic commitments.

Funding & Resources

Khanya College generates its funding from South African government agencies, international donors and foundations, South African donors and foundations. Khanya also generates funds from sales of products and fees. Furthermore:

  • Khanya College is a registered NPO with a Section 18A Tax Certificate, which means that your contributions to Khanya are tax deductible. Khanya will give a special receipt stating the donation amount where this is requested.
  • All contributions are claimable as a contribution to Socio-Economic Development in accordance with the DTI’s BEE Codes of Good Conduct.
  • Khanya College’s finances are audited on an annual basis, and reports on how funds are used are sent to all donors and contributors.

The House of Movements

On the eve of its 20th anniversary in 2006 Khanya College came to the conclusion that the process of social movement building goes beyond targeted education and training for individual activists. Of equal importance is the need for a range of other facilities that enhance activist development, and without which the work of education and training by institutions like Khanya remains limited and incomplete. Such facilities also include the availability of spaces where activists can meet, formally and informally, to exchange experiences and consolidate their views on the various challenges facing the movements.

In 2006 the College set up a House of Movements (situated at 123 Pritchard Street, Johannesburg), which among others houses the following facilities for movement building: Conferencing and Workshop Related Facilities; Resource Centre and Library; Computer Lab or Internet Centre; affordable rental space for social justice and other working class organisations; a Women’s Centre; and catering facilities for the movements.

The Busara Institute for Research and Publishing

In 2009, Khanya College set up the Busara Institute for Research and Publishing to support all its programmes, and to consolidate and deepen its research and publication work. The Busara Institute has organised the research and publications work along four keys lines:

  • Khanya Publishing – which houses editing, layout and design work and supports self-publishers;
  • Jozi Book Fair Printing – which makes printing accessible and affordable;
  • Busara ICTs – which manages IT networks, develops websites and other electronic media;
  • Busara Research – which coordinates research;
  • Jozi Book Shop – which provides an infrastructure for distribution of Khanya publications, and also sources and distributes other publications at affordable prices.

Busara therefore provides the infrastructures that underwrite the building of a readers and writers’ movement.