Umthombo Wolwazi


Facilitator Camp 2020

Mon 30 Nov – Thu 3 Dec 2020

Umthombo Wolwazi is changing. After three years of study, we now have a cadre (group) with a deep understanding of history, politics and ideas. We have studied The Communist Manifesto and interrogated the relationship between race and class in explaining the South African reality. We have studied the theory and history of revolutions in Cuba, Venezuela, Burkina Faso and Germany, as well as contemporary struggles for freedom in Sudan and Zimbabwe. We have studied decoloniality, COVID-19 and our world, and the transition to democracy in South Africa.  

The sessions we have hosted on Fridays, twice a month in Khayelitsha, have been designed and facilitated by Tshisimani staff.  Umthombo members have given input about what we should study and, at times, decided what this should be. In the past, comrades have done research and prepared presentations, and at every session there is group-work and report-back from participants, often in quite creative ways. Participants are involved in setting up the venue, distributing food and masks, and making sure that comrades sign the register. 

However, what was contemplated from the end of 2020 goes much further than this. The core cadre (group) of Umthombo Wolwazi will be trained and supported to play an active role in content creation and facilitation of sessions, and this cadre will eventually start their own reading groups in their organisations and communities. The intention of this is to allow for the personal and political development of this cadre, decrease reliance on Tshisimani and expand the reach of political education.  

This Facilitator Camp is the first, exciting step in this process. Over the four days, we combined theory and praxis (action and reflection), used active learning strategies, and consistently analysed and reflected on the learning process.   


Full Programme of Camp

Day 1: Connecting the personal and the political through popular education

We learn about the roots and principles of popular education and The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Paulo Freire), and think through active learning strategies that enable us to establish a democratic and dialogic learning space. 


Day 2:  Facilitation

We discuss what makes a good facilitator and what every facilitator should be thinking about and trying to achieve.


Day 3: Designing a learning event

We come to understand the different elements that go into designing a learning programme, and practice these skills by designing workshops of our own.


Day 4: Evaluation

We evaluate the Camp and look to the future, discussing Umthombo Wolwazi in 2021 and beyond.