In response to the emerging outbreak of COVID-19, a considerable amount of effort in Khanya College was devoted to reprogramming the work of the College so that it can respond and continue to pursue its mission of facilitating the struggles of the working class under the new conditions dictated by COVID-19. Many organisations decided to ‘close shop’ for the duration of the national lockdown. Khanya was aware that against the background of epidemiological models, the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be with us for months and even years. For Khanya College, shutting down the institution in this context was not a historical option. Instead, ways had to be found to organise and continue delivering programmes in the time of COVID-19, and under the specific conditions under which the working class lives.

Against this background, all Khanya programmes were redesigned to respond to COVID-19 and to find new ways of developing content and delivering content in the short-term. In the medium term, Khanya developed proposals on how to respond to COVID-19 in the context of its flagship programmes like the Winter School and the Jozi Book Fair, as it was clear that we cannot organise and host these events in the same way that we have in the past.

Khanya’s work also expanded during this time. We provided PPEs to CHWs in clinics, as well as COVID-19 awareness flyers to clinics and schools. Khanya monitored clinics to ensure the Department of Health provided PPEs to all health workers, especially CHWs. In this period, we also monitored schools to make sure safe learning took place, after the findings in schools, Khanya started a campaign to close the schools.

The focus of Khanya College’s efforts during this time was to ensure that working class activists were not excluded from participation in the organisation, notwithstanding the fact that South African society is organised to exclude the working class in public life and determine its own destiny. These efforts form part of the COVID-19 Working Class Campaign that Khanya College is part of to combat the coronavirus. To view information about the work Khanya is currently doing, please visit the main site (click below).