Ecological Solidarity and Popular Education




eco-feminism, humanisation, emancipation, solidarity


This text begins with the assertion that we need to listen to nature and recognise the interconnectedness of all beings and living. I outline three principles central to a Freirean approach in popular education: political purpose and bias of the educator; dialogue as an epistemological and ontological process; and the ‘vocation’ of humanization. Using an eco-feminist lens, I then suggest that ecological solidarity: being part of, rather than apart-from, nature, must be a crucial part of any education going forward. This leads me to take the notion of emancipation away from individual, personal freedom towards a practical embracing of interdependence and interrelatedness as inscribed in the original meaning of ‘ubuntu’.


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Author Biography

Astrid von Kotze, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Is an activist/scholar in the Popular Education Programme, working with organisations and people in poor working class communities in /around Cape Town, South Africa. She is also affiliated to the University of the Western Cape. Until 2009, she was Professor of Adult Education and Community Development at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. She has been deeply involved in cultural activism, and researched and published widely on popular education, theatre, health and community risk reduction.


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