About this workshop:

The primary consideration in this workshop is thinking through a decolonial praxis and multi-modal response to collective trauma or psychological distress caused by racism. 

South Africa’s history of slavery, colonialism and apartheid has had severe psychosocial consequences alongside economic and political impacts. While we have made legislative progress towards a democracy, we are still faced with socio-political-economic injustices and inequities that affect most of the population in South Africa. Forms of violence – material (poverty), physical, psychological, sexual, and racial – are pervasive. It is within this context that this workshop engages the following issues:

  1. Apartheid, much like experiences in other global genocides (Latin America, Germany, Rwanda), is regarded as a crime against humanity with generational consequences. What has been psychology’s response to this?
  2. How do the concepts of trauma, psychological distress, racialisation and racial healing articulate with a framework for addressing the psychosocial consequences of racism?
  3. Presently, an individual-based therapy model pervades the discipline. Given the scale and nature of challenges, a collective response to a collective psycho-social experience is needed? How can a decolonial psychology respond to this?
  4. In thinking about a decolonial praxis in response to racism and racialisation of black collectives, how do we engage traditional healing, indigenous practices, and other modalities as efficacious and integrated responses to generational trauma and healing?

PsySSA Workshop Series 2023: Workshop 4: Racialisation and Decolonial Praxis

Meet our Presenters

I am an independent consultant and practitioner within the social justice and development arena, a clinical psychologist and African feminist with expertise in the area of trauma, gender and group process. I spent 14 years as an academic before moving into ‘full-time practice’, facilitating group processes on issues of social justice, transformation, diversity, inclusion and healing in community, academic and corporate domains. I have journeyed with NGO leadership both within South Africa and internationally, from community-based organisations to collectives of Human Rights Defenders and climate justice activists, to United Nations agencies. I am deeply invested in exploring and expanding what a decolonised therapy/ collective healing process/ feminist politic and ethic of love and care might look like, particularly for NGOs and in activist and social movement spaces. I am the founder of ‘Deep Wellness’, an initiative and social enterprise invested in unpacking what it means to be truly, fundamentally well as Black womxn and Black people. More and more this has meant engaging racial trauma, interrogating and overcoming those things – outside and inside of ourselves – that diminish us, and as part of a collective healing journey, accessing more deeply, our wells of power and joy.

Over the years, my practice has gravitated towards a focus on individual, collective and organisational change concerning racism, diversity, racial healing, transformation, and social justice. I have been involved in organisation-wide transformation-related interventions in the corporate, public, educational, and not-for-profit sectors. In this context, South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, demands that organisational practitioners find new, non-formulaic, and context-specific solutions for greater social justice.

This has spurned my search for and commitment to relevant and innovative theory-driven praxis for social justice in organisations. In keeping with this, my academic pursuits have been directed at interrogating the psychosocial impact of “race”, gender, class, marginalisation and non-belonging on collectives. At the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies, I had the opportunity to integrate practice and theory to address transformation-related issues and developed a three and a five-day accredited short course titled “Race, diversity, social justice and transformation in organisations”.

I am currently pursuing a PhD which explores senior professionals’ experiences of mediating the psychosocial impact of past and on-going racialisation. Recently I revived my organisational psychology practice, Soul@Work, that focuses on racial healing and trauma.

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