Reigniting the popular education tradition: Launch of a new website

Popular Education has always been part of working class communities’ struggles. People have responded to the lack of education and cultural facilities under apartheid with education initiatives. In the eighties, one of the responses to deep economic, political and social crises was ‘People’s Education’. Remarkably, a wide range of parties from within civil society, the private sector, academia etc. got together and debated vigorously: firstly, about how to address the crisis, and secondly, how to imagine and forge an alternative education, for the future.

Today, popular education is still an important tool in the struggle against poverty, ill health, violence and mistrust. More than ever, South Africa’s emerging democracy needs people to get together, to organize. Social action for change demands a deep understanding of power relations and how to protect the interests of working class people.

Re-membering Traditions of Popular Education: towards comprehending and informing community education policy and provision is one of the catalytic projects of the new Charter for Humanities and Social Sciences initiated and supported by the DHET. It is located within the Division for Lifelong Learning at the University of the Western Cape.

The Charter and South African History Online have now teamed up and established a new website: The website aims to re-kindle open debate on popular education as an important vehicle for deepening and widening democracy. It is an archive of information and stories, images and ideas about popular education, past and present. It is also a platform for people across the country to build their own networks and strengthen the provision of popular education.

This is the only existing website that is clearly identifiable with popular education in South Africa. It is linked to other current popular education programmes and resources such as South African History-on-line and international sites that offer useful tools and materials.

You are invited to view this website, contribute to it, draw on materials and educational tools, link with others and find out what current popular education organisations exist and what they offer.