This dossier focuses on the Black Community Programmes, a series of projects initiated in 1972 that served as the practical implementation of the Black Consciousness philosophy to give Black people the power to become self-reliant. In practice, these programmes included the foundation of publications and research, health centres, factories to employ the economically marginalised, and a trust fund to provide basic necessities for ex-prisoners as well as grants for yet other projects.
The ideas of the radical Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire had a profound impact on popular struggles in South Africa. Initially taken up by Steve Biko and others in the Black Consciousness movement in the early 1970s, Freire’s ideas spread to the trade union movement and to the community movements. Today, Freire’s ideas continue to be used in progressive organisations in South Africa and to guide the work of many people undertaking political education work.
In South Africa, grassroots activists talk of ‘the politic of blood’, referring to ongoing assassinations and other forms of repression. This dossier shows how grassroots activists and trade unionists have been subjected to ongoing repression by the state, beginning under apartheid and continuing under the rule of the African National Congress (ANC), much of which has never been fully acknowledged outside of activist circles.
This dossier offers a sparkling introduction to Fanon’s life and work, stressing the contemporary political traction of his radical humanism, and noting that his work carries an ‘irrepressible openness to the universal’ and an axiomatic commitment to ‘recognize the open door of every consciousness’. It examines, in particular, Fanon’s contribution as a theorist of praxis committed to move beyond the ontological and spatial ordering of oppression and undertake a form of insurgent and democratic praxis in which ‘a mutual current of enlightenment and enrichment’ is developed between protagonists from different social locations.