Nomfundo’s Study Circle

Nomfundo’s Study Circle was initially conceived as a series of weekly study circles in barbers and hair salons around Mowbray, Cape Town. The project intends to promote a culture of learning together and exploring alternative pedagogical sites.

The curriculum and educational philosophy of the study circles centers on African and popular/alternative ways of knowledge making in social and intimate spaces. With the intention of exploring the ways in which African peoples from all over the continent, engaging in economic and cultural exchange, settling or merely passing by, come together and learn from one another.

The sessions borrow much of their content from the immediate environment, with themes ranging across gender, sexuality, migrancy, cultural spaces, worker rights, identity, Pan Africanism, beauty, the beauty industry, “woman’s” discourses, livelihood, family and life stories. Working with Freire’s “culture circles” and the philosophy of each-one-teach-one as the intended pedagogy, the sessions are driven by dialogue between facilitators and participants.

As part of our first seminar we produced a film which sought to capture the spirit of the project, December 2015

It is imagined that these dialogues will then lead to the development of texts to be presented in seminars/exhibitions collaboratively facilitated by participants and facilitators. Here, we are all learners amongst teachers and teachers amongst learners. Each participant and facilitator’s own knowledge is directed toward a communal knowledge making process and discourse.

Our partners and collaborators have included the Labour Research Services at Community House (in Woodstock), Braids Excellence (in Mowbray) and Luyolo’s Hair Salon (in Langa).