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Critical citizenship

Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC) is part of a wider collaborative initiative that supports struggles for change by rural people, particularly women. An explicit concern is that of power relations, and the impact of national laws and policy in framing the balance of power within which rural women and men negotiate change at the local level. LARC seeks to understand the complexities and opportunities in the processes of contestation and change underway in rural areas and aims to provide targeted forms of support to those engaged in struggles that challenge patriarchal and autocratic power relations in the former homeland areas. LARC works in collaboration with the Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD), a network of over twenty predominantly rural Non-Governmental and Community-Based Organisations. The ARD arose as a loose alliance during the campaign against the Traditional Courts Bill and has since functioned in an ad hoc way, mobilising in response to moments of crisis. The School of Activism is a partnership between Phuhlisani NPC, LARC, the ARD and the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS). LARC has played a pivotal role in evolving the concept of a rural school and in developing the curriculum of both the pilot school and the political economy school. Members of LARC (Aninka Claassens, Nolundi Luwaya and Nomboniso Gasa) were recently involved in teaching modules of the political economy course. In doing so, LARC co-developed a full curriculum and resource materials that can be used by others. The School of Activism successfully hosted its first political economy course in late February 2016.

The UCT global citizenship programme (GCP) is a series of short courses aimed at extending and enriching the learning experiences for students across all faculties. See www.globalcitizen.uct.ac.za for further information. South Africa’s development challenges.

While the GCP is focused on enriching the learning of UCT students, it does this in the context of two important external partnerships: with the Development Action Group (DAG), and NGO working in the urban sector in Cape Town, and with the Global Education Network, a coalition of European government and NGOs working in the area of youth leadership and learning.

Based on the successes of the short courses, the GCP also runs a credit-bearing course in the EBE faculty: Social Infrastructures: engaging with community for change (SI). SI is open to all UCT students even though located in EBE, and it focuses on exposing students to the daily lived realities of communities outside of campus, many of which are under-resourced. The course asks students to think about issues of development and community engagement as part of their developing professional expertise. The partnership with DAG is ongoing and provides a space to examine some of the challenges of community engagement work more intentionally and thoughtfully.