Women building communities through social activism and informal learning
Introduction from The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project At the beginning of South Africa’s democratic change, in 1994, the Victoria Mxenge Housing Project was founded by a group of 12 women who lived in shacks on the barren outskirts of Cape Town.
These women had come from rural areas and were poor, vulnerable and semi-literate. Yet they learned how to build, negotiate with the government and NGOs, architects and building experts, and form alliances with homeless social movements locally and internationally, in India and Brazil. The desolate piece of land they occupied is now a thriving, sustainable community of more than 5 000 houses.
Over a period of 10 years the author tracked the history of the Victoria Mxenge Housing Association, from its start as a development organisation to its evolution into a social movement and then as a service provider. The text weaves together perspectives on the usefulness as well as limitations of ‘popular education’, or informal learning. It highlights the value of local and traditional knowledge, experiential learning, and learning in an informal context, and illustrates how women relate to and interact with knowledge.
It taps into the growing international interest in social, or ‘citizen’ learning in the context of the growth of social movements. This book is a welcome addition to the literature for adult education students and social activists throughout the developing world.
The Victoria Mxenge Housing ProjectThe electronic version of the Introduction from The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non-Commercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 South Africa License.
Chapter 1: Setting the contexts Land and informal settlementsChapter 2: Popular education and developmentChapter 3: Phase one (1992-1998): Building houses and communitiesChapter 4: Phase two (1998-2001): Leading a social movementChapter 5: Phase three (2001-2003): Becoming service providers Chapter 6: Reflections on learning in a social movementChapter 7: The challenge of independence (2003-2012)
Academics and students in the disciplines of adult education, gender studies, development and social movements; NGOs involved in housing; social activists and development practitioners.