This paper describes how Changing Practice courses, developed by environmental activists in South Africa and based on social learning practice, have seeded cognitive justice action. For the educator-activists who facilitated these courses, it became apparent that we needed a bold emancipatory pedagogy which included cognitive justice issues. This enabled us and the activist-researcher participants to understand the extent to which local, indigenous, and spiritual knowledge had been excluded from water governance. The paper investigates how participants in the ‘Water and Tradition’ change project, established by the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA, engaged with cognitive justice, to demonstrate how African spiritual practice offers a re-visioning of the natural world. Finally, using the tools of critical realist theory, the paper reviews how VEJA bring about transformative social action through their participation in the Changing Practice course.