Intercultural learning and community mobilisation within eMzantsi

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

This dissertation is a study of intercultural learning and community mobilisation within eMzantsi, an organisation that seeks to bring together previously segregated communities in the Southern Peninsula, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, through various artistic activities and programmes. The programmes all culminate in a Carnival, which has occurred annually since 2005. This dissertation seeks to show how, if at all, eMzantsi is serving as a site for intercultural learning within the communities and how, if at all, it is promoting community mobilisation. In order to conduct this study, I interviewed key leaders in the organisation. I also did a document review of the current thinking on intercultural communication research in South Africa, with reference to the Southern Peninsula in the Western Cape. The study deals with the perceptions that key participants in eMzantsi have of the communities they work with and the possibilities they foresee for mobilisation and intercultural learning. This is linked to their perceptions of South African identities. Intercultural communication was an all-encompassing theme that brought to the fore varied dynamics of culture, communication and power that in turn led to the different ways in which eMzantsi staff mobilised community based organisations. These core themes underlie the main findings of the project. The dissertation findings are discussed in several categories, based on the perceptions of black, coloured, and white communities in the Southern Peninsula. These categories include the positionality of the members being interviewed, the concept of intercultural learning, what draws people in to the project, who is excluded from the project, challenges that have been faced over the years, the successes of the programme, the importance of community support, and lastly, ideas and recommendations for the project with a special focus on intercultural learning. These different aspects of the dissertation reveal that there are differing dynamics in intercultural acceptance and engagement within the communities of the Southern Peninsula. The research also shows that there are different ways of learning culture, and that culture in itself, is not static.

Includes bibliographical references.