The graduates of the groundWork Environmental Justice School are a group of inspiring activists. They come from diverse backgrounds and grassroots organisations. They have experienced first-hand the environmental injustices and abuses caused by corporates and governments that affect their communities and livelihoods.
The Alumni Network is a space for the graduates of EJS to connect with each other and keep the struggle alive. groundWork has created a forum on Facebook where all alumni can engage. You can join the group here. There is also a WhatsApp group where graduates are notified about upcoming events and webiners. Click here to join the group.
In 2021, as part of the organisation’s ongoing reflection, groundWork conducted a Tracer Study to find out what participants remember about their attendance, what the participants thought was valuable for them and their organisations, as well as any constructive criticisms for groundWork to improve on in order to improve or modify the programme. Click here to access the report.
The 2014 Environmental Justice School was held at the Centre for African Enterprises for two weeks from the 20th of July to the 2nd of August.
2014 Environmental Justice School participants and staff at Centre for African Enterprises, Pietermaritzburg
In 2015, the school was, again, held at the Centre for African Enterprises. For the first time, after participant evaluations, the school ran for three-weeks from the 16th of October until the 31st of October.
2015 Environmental Justice School participants at Centre for African Enterprises, Pietermaritzburg
Activists of 2015 in song
The 2016 Environmental Justice School was held from the 5th of June until the 24th of June at Red Acres.
Graduates of 2016 and groundWorkers at Red Acres
In 2018, the School run for four-weeks and was coordinated in two-phases. The first three-weeks of the School was held at Red Acres, Merrivale, KwaZulu-Natal from the 11th of February to the 3rd of March. The comeback week was facilitated at Vuleka Centre, Bothas Hill, KwaZulu-Natal.
EJS 2018 participants at Red Acres, Merrivale, KwaZulu-Natal
2018 activists in session at Vuleka Centre, Bothas Hill, KwaZulu-Natal
In 2019, the School was held at Dawn View Christian Centre. The initial intensive three-week residential school ran from 24th of March to 13th of April, and the fourth return week from 28th July to 2nd August.
2019 EJS activists and groundWorkers at Dawn View Christian Centre outside Baynesfield, KwaZulu-Natal
2019 EJS participant, Thando, presenting during the “Mapping Our Worlds” session
groundWork EJS Class of 2019 T-shirt
After a hiatus of three years, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the groundWork Environmental Justice School for activists (EJS) was conducted at Vuleka Centre in Bothas Hill, KwaZulu-Natal.
The initial intensive three-week residential school ran from 21 April to 14 May 2022 and the fourth return week from 8 August to 14 August 2022.
EJS 2022 graduates at Vuleka Centre, Bothas Hill, Kwa-Zulu Natal
The 2023 EJS was held at African Enterprises, Pietermaritzburg, from 7 to 27 May and 27 August to 2 September.
2023 graduates beside the waterfall at African Enterprises.
Africa Coal Network Environmental Justice School
The groundWork Environmental Justice Education (EJE) campaign engaged in an exciting new project, the African Coal Network Environmental Justice School (ACN EJS) which took place from 16 to 29 April 2023. It hosted 14 activists from several African countries at the Centre at African Enterprise (AE) outside Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The participants hailed from Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as ACN co-ordinator Nerissa Anku, who is also from Ghana.
Participants from the first Africa Coal Network Environmental Justice School in 2023.
Joanne Groom (SDCEA 2014)
Joanne has spoken in the media about being an environmental activist and her fight against oil refineries in South Durban while also advocating for the rights of residents living on the fenceline in the following articles:
- South Africa: Engen Explosion Latest in Line of Grievances
- Cypriot youth camp exposes global village of eco-warriors
- SDCEA celebrates unwavering dedication of women
- SDCEA’s community cancer surveillance to keep record of suffers
- South Durban communities gassed yet again
- SDCEA investigates putrid smells in South Durban
Promise Mabilo (HEJN 2016)
Promise spoke about her experience in living on the fenceline of environmental injustice and being an environmental justice activist in the following articles:
Madi Koena (SAWPA 2019)
Madi has spoken about the challenges that Waste Pickers faced during the Covid-19 pandemic in an article titled Back from the brink: SA’s Waste Reclaimers tell of their lockdown relief.
Madi was a speaker on a webinar GAIA’s Latin American region hosted titled ‘An Inclusive Recovery: The Social, Environmental, & Economic Benefits of Partnering with Informal Recyclers’.
Themba Khumalo (SEJ 2022)
As one of the actions for their EJS project, Themba Khumalo spoke to Newz Room Afrika about the impact of the Ikwezi coal mine in New Castle, Kwa-Zulu Natal.