The Change Makers – South Africa

“The Change Makers” is the name of the Phase 1 South African project for Changing the Story. Find out more about what we’re doing in South Africa, our approaches, processes and aspirations.

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The core South Africa strand team consists of Prof. Stuart Taberner (Co-Investigator, University of Leeds), Prof. Chaya Herman (Co-Investigator, University of Pretoria), and Tali Nates (Lead Delivery Partner, South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation (SAHGF)), along with a number of other colleagues and organisations in South Africa and beyond.

Theory of Change

As with all of the Phase 1 sub-projects of Changing the Story, the team will conduct a Critical Review and a Proof of Concept project, before disseminating their findings with local, national and international networks.

The South Africa Theory of Change builds on that created for the entire Changing the Story project, which can be found here.

Critical Review

How might heritage education programmes at SAHGF and beyond contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?

The critical review for South Africa builds on work completed for a previous Global Challenges Research Fund project ‘Mobilising Multidirectional Memory to Build More Resilient Communities in South Africa’. In that project, Dr Charity Kombe and Professor Chaya Herman (University of Pretoria), working in collaboration with Professor Stuart Taberner and Dr Matt Boswell (University of Leeds), conducted an initial evaluation of one of the education projects of the South African Holocaust and Genocide Centre (SAHGF), and specifically its involvement in the Change Makers programme developed by the SAHGF and other partners in Rwanda such as Aegis Trust in conjunction with the Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Change Makers Programme (CMP) is one of a series of global initiatives to create education programmes, drawing on historical traumas, to encourage the new generations to become active upstanders and leaders of change and to resist extremism. Change Makers was piloted in October 2017 among learners from Thabo Secondary School in Soweto South Africa and in November 2017 among learners from Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda. The evaluation report examined the theory of change that guided the development of the pilot programme; how the programme developed and implemented; and what the facilitating and hindering factors were in the implementation of the programme. It further identified success factors and made a series of recommendations for any future scaling-up of the programme.

A Change Maker programme workshop led by the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation (SAHGF) in Rwanda.

This work will be expanded in the critical review stage of the Changing the Story project. Specifically, the evaluation will be expanded to look across the full range of the SAHGFs learners’ programmes, including its programmes which support the National Curriculum of the country in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and its outreach programmes into schools and universities around South Africa. The focus of the evaluation will develop to include a more holistic perspective on the contribution the three centres’ programmes might potentially make—if scaled up—towards securing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): how might such programmes make progress towards SDGs around peace, justice and strong institutions, for example, but potentially also (e.g.) quality education, gender equality, and reduced inequalities?

In keeping with the broader questions posed by the Changing the Story programme, this evaluation will also take account of differences between countries and contexts, and it will balance a critical perspective on current practice against a sensitivity to the possibilities and limitations of that practice. Equally, the critical review will include some overview of practice at other heritage organisations within South Africa, for example the District Six Museum or Liliesleaf, to provide some points of comparison.

The objectives of this more detailed evaluation at the critical review stage will be:

  1.  To evaluate current practice across the SAHGF’s three centres and identify areas of potential weakness/best practice.
  2. To offer recommendations on how the SAHGF’s might align its programme more directly with the SDGs and indeed target specific SDGs around, for example, gender and/or robust institutions.
  3. To feed into the broader discussion across Changing the Story of how heritage sector organisations might more effectively intervene with young people to create peaceful and just societies.

Proof of concept project

Participants of The Change Makers programme at the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre.

The proof of concept project will build on the outcomes of both the Change Makers programme and the broader SAHGF suite of programmes to inform how the Change Makers programme is rolled out across South Africa and – mirroring a pilot project led by the SAHGF in Senegal and The Gambia with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation – in a pilot project in Nigeria. Concretely, a pilot for the Change Makers Programme will be rolled out in Nigeria to ‘train the trainers’ from the American University of Nigeria. The GCRF team will provide continuous input as this programme is developed and implemented, to critically assess its evolution, offer advice and input, and finally complete a report on its effectiveness.

Dissemination Event

Participants reflect together at a Change Makers workshop led by South Africa Holocaust and Genocide Foundation (SAHGF) in Rwanda.

The South African team will hold their dissemination event in May 2018, where project members will join with teams from other related projects from across Africa, to reflect on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of ‘arts interventions’ (film, drama, heritage, etc.) as instruments for raising awareness of Human Rights in post-conflict societies, and the presumptions frequently implicit in such interventions (e.g. that reconciliation is possible or even desirable; that ‘western models’ work elsewhere; that power imbalances can easily be overcome; that ‘Human Rights’ are in any event ‘universal’). Responding to these initial findings, the workshop will critically examine the use of ‘arts approaches’ to achieving Human Rights and contribute to the subsequent development of the three projects, by creating opportunities for both theoretical reflection and practical suggestions.

To find out more about The Change Makers, or any of the other Changing the Story project strands, contact us or follow us on Twitter #ChangingTheStory.