Negotiating a liberative pedagogy in sport development and peace: understanding consciousness raising through the Go Sisters programme in Zambia

Oscar Mwaanga

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    Labelled as an alternative and more representative engine for development [Levermore, R. (2008). Sport: A new engine of development? Progress in Development Studies, 8(2), 183–190. doi: 10.1177/146499340700800204], the international sport development and peace (SDP) movement is under pressure to enhance its credibility and authenticity. The claims made are of SDP's capacity to deliver development to a world that feels let down by traditional development approaches, especially at the end of the Millennium Development Goals. However, for SDP to assume its true position of an authentic alternative, it needs to be wrestled from its neo colonialism and undemocratic tendencies that have privileged the Global Northern ways of being and knowing, invalidating and marginalising alternative ways of social betterment. In particular, the use of SDP to facilitate learning of social, health and economic skills has become popular [Spaaij, R., & Jeanes, R.(2013). Education for social change? A Freirean critique of sport for development and peace. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 18(4), 442–457], yet, the dominant pedagogic approaches resemble what Paulo Freire has called ‘banking education’. This concept refers to ‘depositing’ information that learners passively receive, memorise and repeat, and is one such crucial segment that needs close examination in SDP. This article draws on Paulo Freire's critical consciousness as a theoretical framework to support analysis of empirical data that examines the negotiation of a liberative pedagogy within the Go Sisters programme. Using in-depth semi-structured interviews the retrospective views of six former Go Sisters programme participants were examined. Three broad themes, in line with a liberative pedagogy, emerged from the data: (i) critical dialogue (ii) family support and (iii) Ubuntu Sisterhood. The findings highlight how Go Sisters participants negotiated the development of critical consciousness to counter the dominant banking education paradigm in SDP. Over many years the Go Sisters developed capacity to embed collective critical dialogue in programme activities that were informed by both the EduSport Foundation's organisational philosophy of Ubuntu and Global Northern neo-liberal education focused on life skills. Keywords: Education, Paulo Freire, Ubuntu, Critical Pedagogy, Sport for Development and Peace
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)588-604
    JournalSport, Education and Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016


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