Understanding Engaged Citizenry

Engaged Citizenry is a progressive model that goes beyond traditional volunteerism to cultivate a deeper, more impactful form of community involvement. Engaged Citizenry describes both the residents of Makhanda who actively participate in community engagement activities, as well as our student volunteers who work alongside community partner sites to enact change. For our students, volunteerism is about more than giving back, it is a vital learning experience. 

This evolution in community-university engagement is vividly illustrated by our journey at Rhodes University in Makhanda, South Africa. Here, we've embraced a pivotal shift, moving from the concept of "volunteerism" to "engaged citizenship." This change, while seemingly subtle, marks a significant transformation in our approach to community engagement, underscoring a holistic and inclusive vision for societal growth and educational excellence.

The transition from being a "volunteer" to becoming an "engaged citizen" signifies a profound change in the way we perceive and engage with communities. Traditionally, volunteerism has been viewed through the lens of individual sacrifice or as a means to bolster one's resume. However, the notion of "engaged citizenship" elevates this concept to emphasise mutually beneficial relationships, community partnerships, and transformative education. 

Our approach draws inspiration from Paulo Freire's idea of critical consciousness, which encourages recognizing and acting against the oppressive structures within society. "Engaged citizenship" embodies this ethos, positioning individuals not just as contributors but as critical thinkers and catalysts for change. This perspective nurtures reciprocal relationships, empowering us to collectively tackle social challenges and forge stronger, equitable communities.

Community Engaged Learning Programmes at RUCE


Engaged Citizenry Activities 

Last Modified: Wed, 06 Mar 2024 13:23:28 SAST