The monthly Transdisciplinarity Seminar held at the Environmental Learning and Research Centre was led by the Khulumani team in Makana Municipality on 21 August 2014.
The topic was ‘Complexity in Community Relationships’ and focused on the requirements for ‘the dominated’ to act to change their circumstances through making organised and effective demands through asserting a tactical agency. This is defined as ‘discerning and making use of possible opportunities to find a way or to use one’s own means.’
Moving from victimhood to empowered citizenship (Khulumani’s mission) requires that the dominated link historical consciousness, critical thinking and emancipatory behaviour.
Historical consciousness is understanding “who I am in the context of how others have made me”. (Sartre) while critical thinking is the political act of stepping beyond common-sense assumptions to evaluate them in terms of their genesis, development and purpose to discover that “I am able, (through my individual capacities & collective possibilities) “to go beyond the created structures in order to create others”; that I can escape my history (the place designated to me by the existing powers) to work with others to actively shape history. Emancipatory behaviour is acting to overthrow structures of domination.
The introduction was followed by presentations by Mbulelo Lipile on the application of the framework for citizen-based monitoring recently approved by the Cabinet, by a presentation of the status of the Makana School Water Forums and by a review of the media coverage of water issues in South Africa over the past year using the Daily Sun and the weekly Grocott’s newspapers.