In his lecture at the 27th Annual South African Psychology Congress, hosted by the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA), Francis B. Nyamnjoh emphasizes the urgent need for convivial scholarship in the field of healing. He argues that despite the independence of most African countries since the 1960s, colonial education, culture, and attitudes still persist, overshadowing indigenous healing traditions that have remained resilient yet largely unrecognized in the 21st century. Nyamnjoh advocates for a framework of decolonized healing practices that promote conversations and collaborations across various disciplines and organizations. He stresses the importance of integrating marginalized epistemologies rooted in popular universes and ideas of reality into the academic discourse. Central to his argument is the recognition and accommodation of incompleteness in individuals, disciplines, organizations, and knowledge-making traditions, challenging the illusion of completeness often perpetuated by zero-sum games of violence and violation. Instead, he calls for embracing compositeness and conviviality in healing practices while rejecting the outsourcing of debt and indebtedness to victims.
27th Annual South African Psychology Congress: Invited Panel: Therapies for Healing Justice: Redressing Systemic Oppression and Intergenerational Trauma
Therapies for Healing Justice: Redressing Systemic Oppression and Intergenerational Trauma
Panelists: Dr Sipho Dlamini, Ms Rejane Williams, Ms Thembelihle Mashigo & Ms Berenice Meintjes
Chair: Dr Jude Clark
In alignment with the conference theme, this panel asks what a decolonial, healing justice can look like in relation to therapeutic practice. The conversation between practitioners explores the implications of systemic oppression, both historical and contemporary and the possibilities for collective healing. It considers the multifaceted issue of language and/in therapy, modalities of indigenous healing as therapeutic resource and the successes and challenges of community-based interventions for collective trauma recovery and healing. Rejane Williams invites interrogation of the limitations of Northwestern-centric models of psychological intervention and explores the kinds of approaches needed to tend to the historical and ongoing wounds of generational alienation and trauma, including racial trauma. Dr Sipho Dlamini considers the value of indigenous language in the therapeutic context and what becomes possible in moving beyond the dominance of English towards a more socially just encounter in the therapy space. Drawing from experience of working at the interface of indigenous healing and psychotherapeutic practice, Gogo Thembelihle Mashigo explores how therapies of Umoya (Spirit) offer a process based on a multiplicity of being, beyond the individual. Berenice Meintjies shares vignettes from the work of Sinani, an organisation engaged with psychosocial interventions for recovery from violence, to describe the dilemmas of decolonizing and contextualizing healing approaches in community-based trauma interventions.
27th Annual South African Psychology Congress: Plenary Panel: Global Indigenous Psychologies: movement toward healing historical harms
Global Indigenous Psychologies: Movement toward healing historical harms
Panelists: Prof Malose Langa, Dr Mmatshilo Motsei and Mr Anele Siswana
Chair: Prof Peace Kiguwa
There is an imperative for a psychology of healing and self-determination that considers the ubiquitous nature of trauma today. The marginalization of Indigenous approaches to trauma and healing remains a critical site to interrogate disconnections to rich traditions and practices of healing. In this panel dialogue, three speakers engage these dis/connections, with a view to reimagining healing, trauma’s complex hold on communities, and imaginations for a healing psychology. There is a recognition that healing is itself a complex process of renewal, recovery, and refusal; that addressing psycho-social effects of neoliberal economies that are complicit in the erosion of communities remains fundamental to wellbeing, and that trauma as disconnection is political in form. The question of how we engage these entanglements is the concern of the speakers in the panel. Speaking from their respective practices as practitioners, activists and scholars, the speakers address themselves to the questions of trauma, community building, and healing. In turning to indigenous psychologies, they also address alternate rich traditions and approaches to healing that psychology as profession may do well to attend to.
Incompleteness as a Framework for Convivial Scholarship and Practice in Healing
Professor Francis B. Byamnjoh
Professor of Social Anthropology
This lecture draws on an argument I have made over the years for a convivial scholarship to stress the need for such an approach in the practice of healing. In view of the resilience of colonial education, the lecture proposes a framework of decolonised healing practices that draw attention to equally resilient endogenous traditions of healing that are barely recognised and grossly underrepresented even in the 21st Century, despite the independence of most African country since the 1960s. The lecture argues for convivial approaches to healing that promote conversations and collaborations across disciplines and organisations and the integration in the academy of marginalised epistemologies informed by popular universes and ideas of reality. Convivial scholarship is predicated upon the recognition and provision for incompleteness – in persons, disciplines, organisations, and traditions of knowing and knowledge making. Critical to convivial scholarship is the extent to which we recognise and provide for incompleteness and mobility as universals and are ready to disabuse ourselves of the illusion of completeness championed by zero-sum games of violence and violation in which debt and indebtedness are outsourced to victims, while compositeness and conviviality are downplayed or caricatured.
Among the issues highlighted in convivial scholarship is negotiated inclusivity in knowledge production and practice. This takes the form of collaboration and co-elaboration within and between disciplines, across departments and faculties within and between universities and research institutions, north, south, east and west. But it does much more. Convivial scholarship calls for similar collaboration, co-elaboration and co-production between academics and researchers in universities and research institutions with knowledge producers and practitioners outside of these formal institutions. Given the decolonial imperatives and especially in view of the silences and marginalisation of which Indigenous and endogenous traditions of knowing and knowledge production have been victims, convivial scholarship is particularly emphatic on the need for profound and sustained conversations across chasms between universities that remain colonial in curricula and practice, and with the wider population and society that continue to draw on the sidestepped traditions and practices by choice, reluctantly or both. I suggest that much remains to be done to promote research, teaching and practice across such chasms in the field of healing, despite some promising starts. I draw on two examples to illustrate both the promise of an early start, and the resilience of exclusionary colonial ideas of medicine and healing in Africa. I use a survey conducted in Cameroon by Daniel Noni Lantum, as a case for optimism and promise. And I draw on our experience under Covid-19 as a case of persistent coloniality and north-south asymmetries in healing practices and how much remains to be done in integrating the two systems.
The argument in the lecture is simple. If the need to recognise and represent Indigenous and endogenous traditions of healing has been highlighted before – in certain cases prior to or shortly after independence from European colonialism was proclaimed – how do we explain that necessary action has either not be taken at all or taken in an unsystematic and unsustainable fashion? Why have calls for valorisation and integration of medical systems original to Africa into the so-called modern medical systems of many an African state postcolony been met with resolute inaction and lip service? Why, if and when integration is considered and promoted, the expectations tend to be for endogenous medical systems to bend over backwards or genuflect in honour of the colonial medical system perceived as superior? Why does the colonial medical system continue to enjoy such dominance, yet falling short of rising to the occasion in terms of the health demands of the majority of the population in each and every country? This situation, within the framework of the convivial scholarship that I call for, requires a greater and sustained capacity for faculties of medicine or health sciences to listen out, not only within universities and across faculties, but also, and even more importantly, with stakeholders outside the academy (medical professionals, traditional healers where they are not formally considered health professionals, various state and private health services, ministries of health, and the health-seeking publics). I argue for curricula, healing systems and practices that are informed by these considerations and open to negotiated inclusivity as a permanent work in progress.
PsySSA Call for Nominations
The PsySSA Nominations Committee wishes to advise that the following positions on the PsySSA Executive Committee will become vacant at the forthcoming 28th AGM to be held at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa, on 04 October 2023.
- four Additional Members
Members in good standing may propose suitable candidates for consideration by the Nominations Committee, which will duly present appropriate candidates for election at the AGM.
Nominations Guidelines for all these positions are available here.
All nominations with supporting documentation should be emailed to the Chair of the Nominations Committee, Prof Garth Stevens, at firstname.lastname@example.org by 08 September 2023.
Please download the Call for Nominations and the Guideline Documents for each of the Executive Committee vacancies using the buttons below.
2023 CONGRESS CALL
Between Psychological Practice and Psychosocial Praxis: Southern Standpoints on Radical Hope and Healing
We are pleased to announce the upcoming conference on the theme Between Psychological Practice and Psychosocial Praxis: Southern Standpoints on Radical Hope and Healing.
Colonialism as a global system of suffering has meant that the vast majority of those in the Global South have endured unprecedented scales of psychic, material and cultural suffering. At the same time, those in the South have also practiced radical kinds of psychosocial healing that are attuned to the structural nature of colonial wounding. As such, in the context of the South, there is a rich history of radical thought and action that fuses together resistance and generativity. As central to this history, hope and healing have been interminably connected to broader social issues, contexts and processes. Today, we see the legacy of these radical iterations of hope and healing in the practices of social justice and transformative action that are attuned to the realities of the present while also striving towards and experimenting with future possibilities for emancipation.
Psychologies that root themselves in these histories of hope and healing commit to fostering the kinds of critical consciousness fundamental to catalysing transformative action from within Southern standpoints and realities. These psychologies acknowledge the socio-historical and cultural contexts of the collectives and individuals whom they endeavour to serve, and are thus in alignment with the decolonial shift that foregrounds indigenous ways of doing and knowing. It is, therefore, from within and in response to the interlocking structural crises of our moment that we find psychosocial praxes attuned to hope and healing; praxes that take seriously the inhumane histories that shape our structurally violent present and that move towards a yet-to-be realised future that recognises the flourishing of all humanity.
Deriving from the dialectics of historical and contemporary crises and apprehensions, the undeniable wounding that marks the social order, and current liberatory resurgences in Africa and elsewhere in the Global South, the 27th Annual South African Psychology Congress seeks to centre and inscribe critical and emancipatory movements, possibilities and imperatives within the science, practice and profession of psychology. The Congress Scientific Committee invites submissions from practitioners, scholars, researchers, educators, students, community organisers, activists and policymakers that engage and contribute to psychologies that are rooted in disciplinary critiques and directed towards Southern-centric articulations, applications, reflexivities and praxes. The Committee encourages both conventional and non-traditional submissions across the different areas of psychology.
The 27th Annual South African Psychology Congress will be held at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa from the 4th to 6th October 2023.
PsySSA looks forward to receiving your submissions and to your participation in this important annual event.