Summary: The implementation of the new Mathematical Literacy curriculum in South Africa is assuming several different conceptions of mathematics and therefore also being realised through a range of different pedagogies. In this paper I begin from a particular privileging of a critical perspective in mathematics education, which I argue is one (among others) of the forces shaping the new South African curriculum reforms, particularly the Mathematical Literacy curriculum. If so, then the case for a specific pedagogy, that of project work, can be shown to support the development of a mathematical literacy from a critical perspective. In this paper a particular set of conceptual tools, principles and practices associated with project work, as developed in the Scandanavian context but researched in South Africa, are elaborated from the perspective of teachers/teaching of mathematical literacy.