The ravages that the 2020 pandemic lockdown caused in South Africa severely impacted the country’s economy and job market but even more so our psychological health. Many South Africans experienced feeling ‘out of control’. In mid-July 2021, the country found itself in a state of civil unrest with riots and looting. This transgressional period exacerbated the displacement and safety issues already evident in our country.
Baratang Initiatives was approached by an organization that provides employment to South African youth. The protest action, violence, and looting found many of these youths suddenly without jobs. Doing a psycho-educational intervention during the acute phase of this traumatic incident gave us the opportunity to see if the principles and techniques we teach were applicable to young adults. Could arts methodology and trauma principles provide some stability to the young adults and support their own self-healing?
Upon reaching a recreation hall located in Soweto we got orientated and started the session with an embodied opening circle. We proceeded to share the psycho-educational content around trauma, which acted as the foundational understanding to the practical techniques we taught them, to help regulate and calm themselves. We shared how trauma affects us and how to employ simple techniques that can regulate, balance, and stabilize us. Despite how insurmountable their situation appeared, providing a communal platform to voice their concerns, worries and issues seemed to provide some relief. Feelings of uncertainty, the burden of responsibility, frustration, and stress, fear, and anxiety were mostly expressed. This platform gave them a chance to be heard, but we all benefited from the shared empathic community space.
About the author
A dynamic non-profit organisation responding to the crises in South African schools. Our mission is to positively change the face of education by supporting the growth of healthy school communities; addressing trauma and supporting learners to become healthy, caring and capable human beings.