Many community development programmes are initiated without taking the community members and their needs into consideration. The question arose as to whether, by implementing Paolo Freire's theory concerning the process of conscientisation, sustainable community development could be successfully accomplished in Ivory Park, a developing community in Midrand. The conscientisation process has four components: desocialization, critical thinking, power awareness and self-organization. The participants were guided to become involved in making use of introspection, by means of which they started to find solutions to their problems. The object of this introspection was to impact their decision-making abilities and their sense of self-worth, thus empowering them to reach out to the community in an effort to combine resources in initiating community development programmes. The researcher made use of a participatory research approach during this study, in which concrete and abstract goals were identified. The concrete goals were achieved through the community development process by the participants themselves, whereas the abstract goals were realized through the process of conscientisation. These two processes are closely linked together. The data were collected by means of a tape-recorder during weekly discussions, and then transcribed to enable the researcher to describe the process of community development that took place. Using Miles and Huberman's (1994) data analysis techniques, the transcribed data were analysed according to the four categories from the process of conscientisation, i.e. desocialization, critical thinking, power awareness and self-organization. Interpretations could then be made and a conclusion drawn as to whether, by awakening a critical consciousness, sustainable community development could be initiated. In conclusion: community development programmes can be sustainable only if they have been initiated by the community itself by the implementation of Paolo Freire's process of conscientisation. Key words: process of conscientisation, desocialization, critical thinking, power awareness, self-organization, introspection, Paolo Freire, sustainable community development, participatory research, active participation.