Advancing Social Innovation

Catalysts for Social and Economic Change

Systems Innovation & Change

Amaqhawe Learning Collective

‘Amaqhawe’ is the collective plural form of the noun ‘qhawe’, directly translated as ‘hero’. But ‘amaqhawe’ encapsulates more than the notion of hero. Amaqhawe are shining stars, brave warriors, champions, big dreamers.


The Amaqhawe Learning Collective is a co-created learning environment composed of Marriott and Bertha Centre staff at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The Collective was formed in 2015 as a response to the #FeesMustFall and #EndOutsourcing protests at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The Collective is a localised response to the current national and global dialogue around systemic restricted access to education.

The Collective is:

  • A learning journey which is collaborative and co-created.
  • Open to any Marriott staff member who wants to be part of it.
  • Emergent rather than prescriptive.

The Collective sets out to challenge the dominant narratives that shape and define what a legitimate student is and tackles the issues of belonging in a Higher Education Institution. Importantly, by opening up and creating learning opportunities that are deeply responsive to the needs of support staff, the Collectives starts to expand what kind of learning can take place in South Africa’s HEIs. Amaqhawe Learning Collective aims to explore a way of opening up the way we conceive of education by building curriculum for those who are inside the institution, yet not in the centre of it, by harnessing the resources that are already at hand.

The Collective’s guiding insights and assumptions are

  • That the desire to learn is directly proportional to the provision of learning opportunity;
  • That rather than a means to an end, learning is also a means to a means;
  • Learning is an inalienable right;
  • That by this inclusive learning project we contribute to transforming the GSB from being a stratified space to a space of colleague-ship across job descriptions;
  • That the institution already has the resources to fill the existing gap in education provision; what is required is a paradigm shift;
  • That the desire to learn should be responded to with the provision of opportunities to learn;
  • Levelling the citizenship of the GSB community to make everyone (who wants to be one) learners will transform the space for the better;
  • Life-long learning knows no form-trap.

Projects & Activities

To date, the Collective has delivered three learning provisions;

Computer Literacy Course

The first was the development of a customised introductory computer competence course. The Computer Literacy course was identified as a key learning area as Marriott staff members could not access Marriott’s e-learning platforms.In 2016, the ALC ran its first pilot computer literacy programme at GSB with trainers from RLABS (a community skills training and economic empowerment project) and access to computers provided by the Raymond Ackerman Academy (RAA) of Entrepreneurial Development, another specialised centre at the GSB.

The second iteration of the Computer Literacy course took place in 2017 and was delivered in partnership with an Africanist social enterprise, Silulo Ulutho Technologies. The course was designed to run over two months with the aim to familiarise participants with powering up a computer, MS Office, CV writing, email and searching the internet. The course takes place at one of Silulo’s labs located in Phillipi Village. Graduates of the IT course were then eligible to attend a customised 2-day workshop designed to guide participants to connect with and strengthen their innate ability for entrepreneurial thinking. Delivered by The Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurial Development.

A link to a blog detailing the journey to the graduate

Financial Literacy Course

A second key learning area that was identified by the Collective was Financial Literacy. Members illustrated their interest in wanting to state their own businesses and understand how to effectively manage their money. In 2019, a MOOC was designed and developed with the objective of being largely accessible to members of the Collective. In order to achieve this, the MOOC was designed to be delivered in a blended learning model and was also translated into Xhosa. A pilot of the MoneyWize MOOC will officially be launched in 2020 with the objective of enrolling a greater number of members in the future.

In the News

Graduation of first Computer Literacy course:

Amaqhawe Learning Collective Systems Play: