In South Africa and beyond there are many valid reasons to despair: From obscene wealth alongside grinding poverty and the rising tide of racist patriarchal authoritarian populism, to the daily violence – gendered, xenophobic, and other. Despite all the rights won in the 1996 Constitution and upheld by the judiciary, most people in South Africa are confronted daily by a callous state and private sector concerned only with their own self-interest. The deepening unemployment crisis tears at the social fabric of our families and communities. The ecological crisis threatens the planet as we know it.
Our organisations are relatively weak. Communities and workers are largely demobilised. Rather than working together we often compete for opportunities. ‘Big Men’ and opportunists dominate our politics and communities. Low levels of political consciousness, limited resources, as well as repression, make organising very difficult.
The historical gender, race, and class conflict and social violence that are deepening across society manifest within our organisations and relationships, creating what many now call a ‘toxic environment’. We face growing frustration and exhaustion, alienation, apathy, isolation, aggressiveness, depression, competition, mistrust and conflict. Too often we have little to show for our hard work. It is hard at times not to despair.
Yet the deepening social-economic and ecological crisis offers us great opportunity: The daily manifestation of injustice and violence evokes more and more people to resist and struggle. New waves of activists are being created. While the centre cannot hold and our social fabric is being torn apart, the seeds of a just society are growing amongst us.
As activists we have all joined struggle with a commitment to working for a better future. We all have a lived experience of being in solidarity with a common purpose. We all know the joy of working with our comrades to achieve an important task, or marching and ‘owning’ the streets. We know the inspirational power of speaking truth to power and collective action. We know the connecting power of comradeship, commitment, courage, and sacrifice.
Our struggles are a source of great hope and joy that we do not celebrate enough. Our activism contains the seeds we need to nurture to grow the relationships and movements that can birth a more just world.
About the Training
“Celebrating Struggle: Reclaiming hope from despair’ is an intensive experiential two-day activist skills training that will enable you to face your challenges, confront your despair, and reclaim the hope and joy of your activism.
Together we will reflect on our struggles, behavior, emotions, and beliefs, heal past trauma and reconnect with a higher sense of self and purpose.
You will be introduced to, and gain practice in using a set of powerful practical tools that offer the ability to:
- Gain insight into – and change – the often unconscious attitudes and self-sabotaging behaviours that stop you from achieving all you seek to create;
- Heal your accumulated hurts and past traumas to unlock your passion and power to confronting today’s challenges;
- Develop and maintain your sense of self-worth and agency regardless of your environments, achievements and what others think of you – and identify when your self-esteem is low, and know how to reinvigorate it;
- Be more resilient in the face of adversity, let go of the self-imposed demands and accusations, and identify what you really want for yourself and others to create results without driving yourself or generating unnecessary stress;
- Connect more deeply with the values and vision that underpin your activism and bring these to bear on ordinary everyday tasks.
- After the training we will offer a series of optional ‘practice sessions’ to support you to integrate new skills into your activism.
The next training will take place on 1 & 2 April in Cape Town.
The training is free and includes all meals, materials, and transport for those who need it. However, we are asking organizations who can afford it to consider making a contribution to training costs so more comrades can attend.
We have limited places so are asking comrades to complete an application on this page – or download and complete the application form here.
If you have any questions or want to know more about the training please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mark on 072 724 9601.