Social Theory Short Course: South Africa


 The Global Labour Univeristy (GLU) is proud to announce a short course for Labour Activisits living and working in South Africa. The aim of the course is to help participants develop capacity for critical thinking and to engage analytically about labour and labour related issues. The primary goal is to assist students in their critical thinking and ability to analyse the complex world in which their unions and worker organisations operate. The certificate course addresses key debates in political economy, development, democracy, labour (and the various forms of work and workers), as well as systemic alternatives.

On completion of the course, participants should be able to: 

  • Apply conceptual and analytical frameworks in developing union analyses and strategy
  • Lead relevant discussions, collect information, analyse problems, make judgements based on analysis, and effectively communicate them; and
  • Develop individual capacity and competence in academic reading and analysis.

The course is divided into four modules: 

  • Global Capitalism and African Political Economy
  • Labour, Development, and Democracy
  • Systemic Alternatives
  • Workers, Vulnerable Workers, and Labour Migration

Throughout each of these themes a focus on trade unions and their engagements on each of these themes will be highlighted. In addition, each module will integrate themes of gender, ecology, international solidarity, and trade union strategy. Each theme will highlight the strategic approaches by trade unions.

Target Group

Labour activists and trade unionists from all federations, unions, and worker organisations in South Africa are encouraged to apply.

The course is run as part of the Global Labour University programme, which is a network that has successfully established postgraduate academic study opportunities for labour activists from all over the world at five universities in Africa, Asia, South and North America and Europe with the aim of strengthening the intellectual and strategic capacity of workers and their organisations and foster stronger working relationships among trade unions. Courses will be taught by experienced teaching staff from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and other guest lecturers.

Practical Considerations

Certification: Upon successful completion of the training programme, participants will receive a short-course certificate of competence, NQF level 5. 

Classes: The course is full-time study for one month (9h00 to 17h00, Monday through Friday) and will run from the beginning May to the end of May 2018 at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Participants must participate in all modules in order to successfully complete the course and receive a certificate.

Financing and Scholarships

The Programme is funded by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). There are a limited number of scholarships for participants. Not all who get admitted will be funded. 

The scholarships covers the following: 

  • Accommodation at Wits University for those living outside Gauteng
  • Tuition/fees for the short course at the University of the Witwatersrand

Day-to-day living expenses are the responsibility of the participants. The flights to and from students’ home have to be paid for by the participants or an organisation on their behalf. 

Estimated Costs:

Accommodation 7.000 ZAR
Tuition Fees 5.000 ZAR

Admission requirements:

Matriculation or school leaving certificate; current employment with or membership in trade union, labour organisation, or labour movement; and support from employer. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • you are a trade unionist (in full-time employment and/or voluntary involvement) or are otherwise active in the labour movement;
  • you are committed to employing your new skills in labour-related issues;
  • you are motivated to pass your acquired knowledge on to others;
  • you have at least a School Leaving Certificate(in exceptional circumstances we can also recognise prior learning for those who do not have school leaving certificates);
  • those with Bachelor’s degree are also encouraged to apply;
  • you have at least three years’ labour-related work experience;
  • you are responsible or will become responsible for labour-related policies in an organisation representing workers or dealing with labour issues;
  • you have a good command of English, are able to express yourself in writing and willing to participate actively in classes; and
  • you have support from your employer to attend the course.

Language Requirements

The course is taught in English and participants must be fluent in English.

Application Process

To complete the application process, please complete the application form and attach the following supporting documents:

  • CV/ Resume
  • Motivational letter
  • A letter of recommendation by your organisation
  • Copies of your school-leaving or academic certificates

Applications are to be submitted via email to 



For enquiries, please contact Mr. Warren McGregor and include in the email subject heading ‘Social Theory course’:

Email: GLU.SouthAfrica(at)

Telephone: +27 11 717 4479

Closing Date: Monday 5 February 2018

NO incomplete applications will be processed