Redefining community participation as learning from a community perspective

Zamo Hlela

The presentation is part of a critical case study of community learning in the Magwaha ward which is part of the Mathenjwa traditional authority located in Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The purpose of the study is to understand the kinds of community learning that take place in this community and to investigate whether, how and the extent to which these learnings assist or influence authentic community participation, empowerment and development.
There are a few important pulls and pushes that have a direct impact on the study site. At an international level there is the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany biodiversity hotspot, at regional level (SADC) Usuthu-Tembe-Futi Transfrontier Conservation Area, at national level Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative and lastly at local level oSuthu Gorge Community conservation area (CCA). All of these initiatives have a direct impact on community learning.
Through the use of the photo voice technique, six members of this community (males and females) as co researchers over a period of year took pictures of what they regarded as learning spaces in their community. Photo voice gives all participants the opportunity to take photographs that describe and reflect their personal experiences at different levels, that is: their interpretation of that experience in the photograph, and the combined interpretation of the experience between the taker of the photo, the community and the researcher.
This poster presentation will showcase community learning spaces, as perceived and understood by community members themselves. Giving them (community members/cum researchers) an opportunity to share their collective perspectives on learning and learning spaces in their own community.
The presentation has major implications for community development/environmental projects at policy, conceptualization and implementation level. Asking us if we are imposing expect knowledge on how learning is to happen or do we utilize existing and indigenous  community learning processes.

Presentation Topic

Redefining community participation as learning from a community perspective

Although videos were taken of these talks, they have not been posted on the internet at the request of the author. If you require more information, please contact the author at the email listed below.

Contact Zamo Hlela:

Centre for Adult Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal , Pietermaritzburg


Email Zamo Hlela