Afrikaans dictionaries translate padkos as ‘provisions’ in English. It is made up of two separate Afrikaans words: pad: meaning road; and kos: meaning food. So it describes food for the journey.

CLP’s padkos initiative began in 2010 as an email-list is an initiative to provide and share some resources for our journey. In the beginning, those resources were limited to written pieces that come from, or connect with, the thinking and reflection that is part of our praxis. Over time, padkos has expanded into a vibrant and varied programme. But the core aims have remained the same, and we’ve always tried to ensure that the padkos we share is seasonal, locally-grounded, and nutritious.


CLP has often spoken of its work as a journey, and we are inspired by Paulo Freire’s phrase that “we make the path by walking”. The journey of our work is deeply rewarding, and our main guide and inspiration remains the rebellious struggles of the people. But it is also be a long and demanding journey. As we continue together, we all need padkos – sustenance and food-for-thought along the way.

CLP makes this padkos available because emancipatory action is always thought; because reflection strengthens struggle; and because we have been asked to! This initiative is one aspect of our response to requests from friends & members, colleagues & comrades to be ‘fed’: to hear from and learn with CLP about its thinking and work.


Padkos began as a low-traffic email distribution list for people directly connected with CLP, as well as fellow travelers interested in and supportive of CLP’s work. In the beginning, we simply shared written pieces.

In the response to the interest the readings generated, we created the ‘palaver‘ where we could get together to focus on a particular issue or paper, and really discuss and digest the richness and challenges. In turn, the palaver then grew into a remarkable programme of padkos events that draws in friends and guests, from across the country and around the world, sharing their work and thinking in interactive discussions at our offices.

We also developed a programme showing films and documentaries that has been really stimulating  and enlightening. Watching them together enables us to understand, to learn from, and to make connections with other struggles in other contexts- and also with diverse modes of emancipatory organisation and struggle around the globe. We called this aspect of padkos, the ‘bioscope’.

Another dimension of the evolving padkos menu incorporated culture as a rich and nourishing part of our ‘food for the journey’. Padkos ‘intermission’ has included creative events featuring, for instance, poetry & art, food & drink – and lots of live music.

From time to time, we have collated the materials that have been shared via padkos into printed and bound digests which many have found many useful resources.

To try and ensure that padkos remains a nurturing and nourishing resource, we facilitate both the list and the events it enables, with care, and a principled commitment to decency, dignity and deliberation. When we get together for padkos discussions, it’s never been simply a ‘public’ space and, while serious issues get debated and participants’ wide range of views and questions are always encouraged, we are not interested in regressive forms of ‘debating’ with those who are basically hostile to the thought of emancipatory work.

If you would like to be on the padkos list, please drop us an email briefly outlining your interest for us to look at. We value your feedback and comments in response to padkos offerings. Please feel free to respond to respond to padkos, or indeed to unsubscribe from the list, by emailing us.

You can check out previous padkos servings here.

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