Collective Trauma Healing. South Africa

Erikson K.T. (1976) wrote in “Everything in its Path” . . . “by individual trauma, I mean a blow to the psyche that breaks through one’s defenses so suddenly and with such brutal force that one cannot react to it effectively -by collective trauma, on the other hand, I mean a blow to the basic tissues of social life that damages the bonds attaching people together and impairs the prevailing sense of community. The collective trauma works its way slowly and even insidiously into the awareness of those who suffer from it, so it . . . [is] a gradual realization that the community no longer exists as an effective source of support and that an important part of the self has disappeared . . . “We” no longer exist as a connected pair or as linked cells in a larger communal body.”

This program should establish our communities again in the spirit of Ubuntu – “I am because you are”. As Msila states “Ubuntu: shaping the current workplace with (African) wisdom” – “Sacrificing for others selflessly; caring for and protecting fellow human beings.”  

We have created a program for all South Africans, young and old, with whatever colour, race, ethnicity, religion- or sexual orientation or gender – this is for all.

This highly interactive and engaging experience learning includes:

  1. Being confronted with symptoms of the collective trauma that is present in South Africa
  2. Becoming aware of your trust profile and how you judge others
  3. Starting with a small act of giving, rather than receiving

This program is a model that is developed, owned by no one, and open to be implemented by anyone interested – we would like to start a movement addressing violence in South Africa.

The intent of the program is that:

  1. The individual might start thinking about others and lower their aggression
  2. The organizations might want to address the topic with their employees as integration and understanding of the new economics
  3. The community will have a better binding internally and therefore people would start looking after each other instead of fighting each other.

We presented the program once at an Ubuntu Café session in April 2021, and we believe that this program is a living journey. It can also render as a sample for other countries in the Ubuntu family to mirror and address the same issues in their country.

Flooris van der Walt Sister Letta