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A term that derives from the work of Paolo Freire and Augusto Boal, defined by Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed as “the process of learning to perceive social and politicl and economic contradictions and to take action against the oppressive elements of reality”. In South Africa (as generally elsewhere) it usually refers to the process of conscientizing others, i.e. the processes whereby people are brought to the perceptions and action he outlines – also through the arts and theatre. Boal in particular developed strategies for utilizing theatre processes to this end. This approach became fundamental to much of the work done by activist and community groups, students and the more radical educationists in South Africa during the cultural struggle of the 1970-1980’s and the early post-apartheid period and the processes of reconstruction and conciliation taking place.


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