Personal constraints are those which we place on themselves through our own self-image as we seek the approval and acceptance of people who are significant to us in our lives. This involves previously unquestioned visions we have of ourselves, of the world, and of God.
Cultural constraints are those enforced by the particular culture to which one may be required to conform. In itself, the culture is positive but the necessity to conform to the communal way of behaving and working is strong. Any attempt to shy away can give rise to contradictions and criticism. This affects our Fijian people greatly, especially in the area of land use and economic endeavors which can be seen as individualistic and selfish.
Social constraints occur because we have all been subtly trained by the world around us in regard to our attitudes and beliefs. Some of these attitudes and beliefs are true, some half true, some false but they are constraints none-the-less, which affect our sense of freedom. Seeing and understanding these constraints for what they are, we can then readjust our sights, so that we are ‘set free’ (liberare), liberated from the confinement and oppression which control us.
This challenge from one’s social environment has been termed by Paulo Freire as the contradiction from which a person in a situation of ‘oppression’ is liberated through the realization that he/she has the power to transform the situation causing and keeping one oppressed. For Freire, the person who thinks and reflects goes about creating him/herself from the inside out. He/she transforms reality and liberates him/herself from the oppression that has been inserted by traditional pedagogy. In the same way, when he/she acquires a new way of thinking and understanding of the social status which changes him/her. For Freire, liberation is a deep understanding which liberates the person from oppression which is found imbedded in the consciousness of the individual who possesses it.
This is actually what Tutu is also trying to do – to have participants understand the constraints which are holding them in ‘captivity’ so to say. It is the vision of ourselves, of the world and of God which we want to question.
Tutu is about helping the participants understand about their constraints