Annual Report:




Steering Committee

Contact with Other Groups and Organisations

Seminar Programme

Research and Publications

Presentations, Seminars and Conference Contributions

Training, Consultations and Supervision

Trauma Clinic




This report of the Project for the Study of Violence covers the 1990 period. It outlines the developments and undertakings of the Project over the past year.

The most significant development in the period under review, has been the rapid expansion of the Project. This expansion is reflected in the increased staff compliment within the Project. The employment of a new researcher, a field-worker and a part time administrative assistant, has been a response to greatly expanded interest in our work and demand for research, reports and data on the violence which is becoming a central focus of all concerned parties in South Africa - both political and non-political. This growing interest is reflected in the fact that by the beginning of next year our staff compliment will again have increased substantially (see staffing section).

In the political realm, the relevance of the Project has become central in the wake of the State President's February 2nd speech. The subsequent period, especially after July, has been dominated by violence which caused shock both inside and outside South Africa's borders. Not only have these developments depressed and confused South Africans at a time when negotiations rather than confrontation is the order of the day, but they have resulted in a demand for explanation, analysis and solutions. The thrust has been towards a search for non-violent alternatives - a quest for peace and reconciliation.

The violence cannot simply be reduced to political or ideological causation. High levels of crime, sexual abuse, gang formation, family killings, violence in industrial conflict etc., all demand greater understanding and solutions if a future South Africa is to shed its "culture of violence" and move towards substantial economic and social development.

It is in this broad social context that we believe the Project for the Study of Violence, offering an interdisciplinary approach, has a vital contribution to make to both the present and a future South Africa. Our concern with the wider society demands not only rigorous empirical research, but an attempt to develop education programmes focussed on the causes and solutions to the violence which seems endemic in the country.


As the work of the Project for the Study of Violence has grown, so the administrative burden has increased. Although the system established by the end of 1989 was efficient, it was not possible for the two initial employees to cope with the expanding demands for seminar papers, information packages and general administrative demands placed on them.

To this end Ellen Nkuta was employed on 25th of June 1990 as a part-time administrator. She is being replaced by Jill Huber from February 1991.

The administration of the project is kept in check through weekly staff meetings, the organisation of which are also the responsibility of the part-time administrator. Minutes are kept for these meetings. Suffice it to say at this point, that the success of the Project has, to some extent at least, been the product of efficient organization and effective administration.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee established last year continues to operate, meeting three times per annum. The Steering Committee has overseen the running and strategic decision making within the Project effectively and we are grateful for the continued work of all the members of the committee.

Contact with Other Groups and Organisations

In the course of 1989, the Project established contact and working relationships with a wide range of organisations and other research groupings. This has remained essential to our attempt to generate inter-disciplinary research as well as to our concern to generate information within other organisations in relation to the issue of violence in South Africa.

Contact has been developed with a range of community organisations, trade unions, women's organisations, youth structures and student bodies. Extensive contact is maintained with academics from both Wits and universities around South Africa and the world. We have ongoing relationships with a number of law firms, para-legal organisations as well as with various service organisations. The Project is also serving the commercial media and the press extensively.

One further exciting development is the apparent interest in our work being shown by certain businesses or businessmen. Particularly our work on industrial relations and violence has attracted some interest in the business community.

In this respect, we believe that our attempts to publicise the work of the Project and its goals has been highly successful and has enabled us to begin to achieve our aim of offering the Project as a conduit for research and education. We have felt however, that at times the resources of the Project have been stretched beyond our capacity and that expansion of the Project is essential to ensure the quality of our endeavours.

In addition to those organisations mentioned in the preceding annual report, we have provided a service and have been doing ongoing work with or for the following organisations this year:

Most of these organisations are on our regular seminar and research mailing list.

Seminar Programme

The seminar programme has continued to be one of the most successful initiatives of the Project. The spiral of violence in South African has become a prime focus in the press, amongst political organisations, and within the various affected communities. It is against this backdrop that the importance of the seminar programme should be seen. It has come to serve two main functions.

Firstly, the seminars have brought together various key people working in the area of violence and have allowed for the exchange of expert ideas and opinions. Secondly, the seminars have allowed for a broader grouping of people, who are not directly involved in the study of violence, to both learn from, and contribute to the specific topic of the seminar. The seminars have been both dynamic and creative as a result of this cross-pollination of ideas, and have hopefully gone some way to analysing and explaining the violence in our country. The press has systematically taken up many of the issues raised through the papers thereby successfully highlighting important areas of concern.

There has continued to be a regular attendance of 40 to 50 people at the seminars, which makes the programme one of the largest of its kind. It is also unique in that the attendance is never restricted to academics from the university. Trade unionists, community activists, lawyers and business people are regular attendants of the programme. They are informed of the seminars by way of a leaflet that goes out each month, two weeks prior to the seminar. They are asked to request the paper if they intend coming to the seminar. Papers are sent out free of charge. The regular mailing list has increased from 150 people to over 200. Likewise, the circulation of papers has increased from 50 copies for each seminar, to 80 copies.

The ANC's new bookshop, Phambili Books, requested an entire set of seminar papers to be reproduced for sale over the counter. Each seminar paper will be sold for approximately R1,00. This opens an exciting new avenue for distribution of our seminar papers. It will hopefully ensure the information they contain is disseminated to the broadest possible range of people.

Another avenue for distribution of the papers which is presently being investigated is the publication of a number of them in the form of a book. Several of the papers relate to the theme of violence in the industrial sphere and this may be a logical collection to publish. The other alternative is to publish a variety of papers which are not directly linked to any particular theme.

Below is a full list of seminar papers for 1990. There is a copy of each of these papers in this package. Seminar papers for the last year and a half are to be housed in the William Cullen Library.

Date Title Author
No. 1
The Unofficial War in Natal: Pietermaritzburg under the knife Matthew Kentridge
No. 2
Off the Rails: Violence and the law in the 1989 railway strike Jonathan Joffe
No. 3
Crossing the Picket Line: Violence in Industrial Conflict - the Case of the Afcol Strike Eddie Webster & Graeme Simpson
No. 4
From Partisanship to Neutrality? Changing perspectives on the role of the South African security forces during transition Mark Phillips
No. 5
"The Best Kept Secret": Violence against domestic workers Mmatshilo Kedijang
No. 6
State Violence: A study in repression Max Coleman
No. 7
A Brutal Harvest: The roots and legitimation of violence on farms in South Africa Lauren Segal
No. 8
Explaining Violence in South Africa: Some psychoanalytic considerations Sue Van Zyl

Research and Publications

Areas of Research

Most of the research initiated within the Project during 1989 has been further developed in the course of the last year. Obviously, as priorities have shifted, so the emphasis has changed and more or less time spent on particular areas. The research and education programmes described below vary in their intensity and depth, depending on the long or short term commitment to the differing areas. It is obviously not possible to go into every area in the same degree of detail. In all spheres, however, we attempt to introduce an inter-disciplinary approach - political, psychological, historical, sociological, legal, etc.

Township Violence - The recent developments in the East Rand townships have focussed considerable attention on the issue of township violence. As a result, considerable energy has been invested in attempting to understand the dynamics of this violence. The proposal for an in depth study on single sex hostels and their role in violence has arisen directly out of these attempts. (See separate section). Recent events also threw up a range of issues relating to ethnicity as a product of the legacy of apartheid and its role in violent conflict in both the present and future South Africa. Several seminars have been given on all these dimensions of township violence and some newspaper articles have been published.

Crowd Violence - At a political level, a study of mass group violence and political killings will provide more informed material for progressive political and civic organisations in their attempts to deal with central political questions. Research has, is or will focus on:

Youth and Violence - Work on this area has been approached from a psychological, sociological and criminological perspective. A paper was presented to the National Council for Mental Health on the role of the youth in social and political violence. In the coming year, the trainee's specific project will be to continue to investigate youth gangs and crime in South Africa.

Violence in Natal - The leapfrog of the war in Natal into the Transvaal has further emphasised the need for dialogue, research and education in this sphere. In the period under review, we consolidated some of our previous work in the area and began to draw some comparisons between the violence in the two regions. The Project convened and chaired a session at the Association of Sociologists of South Africa (ASSA) July conference on the Natal violence. We also convened and chaired the session on violence at the recent Five Freedoms Forum which was focussed on the current violence in the Transvaal. At the sessions at both conferences, Inkatha and ANC representatives were present and engaged in fruitful, if somewhat hostile, dialogue.

Violence on the Mines - In furtherance of our work in this area in the past, two novel dimensions to the research were initiated. Firstly, a case study of an incidence of extreme violence at a Welkom gold mine was conducted. This was eventually written up in the form of a report to accompany a petition for clemency on behalf of a shaft-steward who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death arising from the incident. Some of the arguments presented in this document were subsequently published in article form (translated into German) in a report by Medico International. This project fed into the second innovative aspect of our work on the mines, in that the incident involved a clash between mine security officials and mineworkers, which eventually left ten people dead. This has stimulated research into the role of private security establishments in local level policing.

Violence on the Railways - Developing previous research done by us on the violence in the SATS strikes of 1987 and 1989, we wrote up some of this research in the form of a paper presented to the July ASSA conference. This paper entailed an analysis of the psychological profiles of eight of the accused in the resulting murder trial. The analysis was an attempt to provide a personal perspective of the SATS strike, so as to blend the theory around the reasons for industrial conflict with the actual experiences of strikers themselves. The personal perspectives presented in the paper went some way in corroborating the theory of how strike violence breaks out.

Violence Against Farmworkers - The initiative to develop this as a vital field of research came towards the end of 1989. Our motivation included the fact that the desperate plight of farmworkers in South Africa is largely unknown. Only the most brutal cases of violence against these people are exposed by the media. The daily beatings, and the appalling working and living conditions, the use of child and prison labour are largely hidden from the public eye. Under these circumstances, the exposure of the wide range of violence on the farms is essential if changes are to occur.

Our research into this area is therefore partly seen as an educative process. To this end, the Project in conjunction with the Black Sash, has published a booklet on the findings of this research. This booklet is being sent to embassies and government departments as a way of raising awareness around the plight of these farmworkers. We believe that a lobby around the issue of conditions on the farms may be one way to ensure that farmworkers are brought under the scope of the Labour Relations Act and that they may thereby be better protected from the abuses which are so evident. This is particularly important given the abolition of the Land Act and the extensive changes that can be expected to take place on the farms.

The research on farmworkers has also led to articles in newspapers and there has been a report on its findings in the magazine Learn and Teach.

The work around farmworkers entailed ongoing contact with the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), the Orange Vaal General Workers Union (OGVWU) and the State and Municipal Workers Union. It has also begun to facilitate contact with the South African Council of Churches (SACC), which is currently involved in the setting up of advice offices in the rural areas. The farmworkers project also entailed ongoing contact with several service organisations. The Transvaal Rural Action Committee (TRAC) provided support and information around the plight of farmworkers. TRADAP, an organisation integral to the running of advice centres in the Western Transvaal, was another source of information.

The Johannesburg Legal Resource Centre (LRC) provided the project with many testimonials by farmworkers, telling of their brutal treatment on the farms. The LRC run legal clinics in the Piet Retief and Amsterdam districts, which our researcher has attended on two occasions. The Lawyers for Human Rights and the Wits Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) also provided important resources. The Wits African Studies Institute has provided us with oral interview material with farmworkers in the Transvaal.

This research on violence on the farms has tended to eclipse other aspects of rural violence which we were pursuing in the last year.

Violence against Domestic Workers - Many of the conditions faced by domestic workers are significantly similar to those experienced by farmworkers. They are workers who, because they work and live in the private backyards of white South Africa, are hidden from public attention. In the context of a highly traumatised and disrupted society, characterised by dramatic levels of displaced aggression, especially in the domestic arena (family killings, child abuse, marital rape etc.), it should come as little surprise that domestic workers have become amongst the least protected victims of racial and sexual violence. Through approaches from the South African Domestic Workers' Union (SADWU), it became apparent to us that this was an area of research which warranted detailed attention.

To this end we employed Mmatshilo Kedijang who, as a black woman, was particularly suited to conducting a study into this dimension of our society. Her first paper on the subject was aptly titled: "The Best Kept Secret: Violence Against Domestic Workers in South Africa." The paper was presented at the Project's Seminar Programme and was exceptionally well attended. The subsequent interest shown by legal service organisations, the press and human rights organisations positively affirmed our commitment to this as an ongoing project. Many of the contacts referred to in the report on the farmworkers project have been duplicated, providing a more than useful intersection of these two areas of work. In addition, structured contact has been developed with SADWU in the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Vaal regions. The work is currently being edited into a information booklet which will be made available to domestic workers at various accessible outlets.

Militarisation - The Project's Research Officer co-convened the session on militarisation at the ASSA conference at Stellenbosch University in July 1990. However, the focus of the work in this sphere has changed somewhat, and has become much more generalised. The issue of militarisation in the current political climate is by no means resolved. The central question which presents itself at present is of how to demilitarise a future, post-apartheid society.

One of the most exciting prospects in this regard emanates from a request from IDASA who have commissioned and offered to fund a 6-9 month research project on future policing in South Africa. This study will be launched towards the end of this year and will focus on all the factors related to the building of an integrated and better trained police force for the future. The research will span the whole range of policing issues, from conditions of service, through criminal procedures, to questions relating to civilian control over policing and comparisons with other countries.

Violence and the Law - The seminal work of Lloyd Vogelman on capital punishment has been continued and developed upon in the last six months. The State President's announcement of the reconsideration of the death penalty in South Africa has brought with it the hope that many death row prisoners will be granted a reprieve by the State President. The article written by Vogelman and Segal (the Project researcher) about Menzi Tafeni, a man released from Death Row last year, points to the possible hardships that people leaving Death Row could face. It illustrates the point that while we believe the release of these prisoners is an important step towards reconciliation in South Africa, they do not necessarily leave Pretoria Central as free men. The hardships that they encounter as a result of their trauma on Death Row, whether in a normal prison setting or back in society, are difficult to overcome and demand ongoing consideration.

Namibia - The current phase in South African history is one which understandably focusses attention on the questions and insecurities of reconciliation in the wake of decades of conflict and confrontation. In essence, this is one of the most important tasks of the Project for the Study of Violence, in that it amounts to a quest for developing solutions to endemic violence, rather than merely analysing it. Indeed, we attempt to evolve solutions to the problems which we explore in every aspect of our work. One of the central concerns then, must be research into the socio-psychological variables raised by the question of national reconciliation. Although somewhat tangential, Namibia offers a recent African example of the quest for national reconciliation in a country emerging from a war of liberation. Although this work is very much in its formative stages, Namibia offers us a case study on our doorstep which could be educational in the broadest possible sense. Rather than merely extracting intellectual resources from that country, we hope also, in conjunction with other organisations, to offer some expertise in an attempt to assist these processes.

Hostels - The hostel project emerged out of the fact that much of the violence that swept across the townships in the Transvaal in August and September of this year involved hostel dwellers. The hostels themselves started to resemble military barracks from which attacks were launched. The centrality of the hostels in the current violence has created the urgent need to investigate and understand the way that hostels operate. Our understanding of hostels has relied heavily on press reports which are generally superficial and at times, sensationalist.

Some of the areas that this research project aims to acquire a deeper understanding of, are the genesis of hostels in South Africa, the nature of the hostel population, ethnic considerations, and the ways in which hostels are open to being organised by political groupings such as Inkatha and the ANC.

The initial stages of research have shown that the hostel community, particularly at this point in time, is an extremely defensive and hostile community. The aims of this project may have to be limited according to the type of material that becomes available to us.

Published Material

The following articles have been completed for publication by various members of the Project in the past year:


Simpson, G., "Mord am Arbeitsplatz", Medico International Report, Vol. 8, (1990) pp. 15-9.

Segal, L., Simpson. and Vogelman, L., "Why the Townships Turned into War Zones", Sunday Star, August 19, 1990.

Vogelman, L., "Die Lebenden Toten", Medico International Report, Vol. 8, (1990) pp. 8-13.

Vogelman, L., "Debunking Some Myths of the 'Sex Monster' Syndrome", Weekly Mail, Vol. 6, No. 2, January 26th to February 1st 1990.

Vogelman, L. and Simpson, G., "Apartheid's Violent Legacy", Sunday Star Review, June 17, 1990.

Vogelman, L., "Tribute: Remembering David Webster", Psychology in Society, Vol. 13, (1990) pp. 42-44.

Vogelman, L., "Psychology, Mental Health Care and the Future: Is appropriate transformation in post-apartheid South Africa possible?", Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 31, No. 4, (1990) pp. 501-505.

Vogelman, L., "Workers Affected by Violence Need Business's Aid", Business Day, November 9, 1990.

Vogelman, L., "The Psychology of Living on Death Row", OASSSA Fourth National Conference Proceedings, Johannesburg, 1990.

Webster, E., and Simpson, G., "Crossing the Picket Line: Violence in Industrial Conflict", Industrial Relations Journal of South Africa, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 15-32.


Vogelman, L., The Sexual Face of Violence: Rapists on rape, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1990.

Vogelman, L., The Sharpeville Six, Contributing Author. Book authored by P. Diar. New York: Random Press. December, 1990.

Vogelman, L., "Violent Crime: Rape". In McKendrick, B. and Hoffman, W.C., People and Violence in South Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Articles under Review

Simpson, G., and Vogelman, L., "Strikes and Social Stress: Some Effects on the Domestic Arena."

Vogelman, L., and Segal, L., "Life After Death Row in South Africa: The Story of Menzi Tafeni".

Segal, L., "A Brutal Harvest: The Roots and Legitimation of Violence on Farms in South Africa".

Much of the research done within the Project in the past year has not yet been taken to the logical endpoint of publication. There is much material which should be submitted for publication in the next six months based on work done in the first half of the year.

Research Packages and Dossiers

Much of our work has been distributed and disseminated even prior to publication. This has taken the form of provision of research dossiers and information packages which have been provided to interested parties on request. The following list is by way of illustration rather than being an exhaustive account of our activity in this respect.

Material has also been provided to:

The Independent Mediation Services of South Africa; The Institute for a Democratic Alternative in South Africa (Natal); The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Caper Town and the Psychology Department at the University of Durban Westville. Work done by the Project on the SATS strikes (see above) was used extensively in the play "Township Fever" (written by Ngema) which deals with the strike of 1987.

Legal Work

The practical application of the work done in the Project is probably best illustrated by our ongoing legal work. The legal cases in which we have been involved are described briefly here.

Presentations, Seminars and Conference Contributions

Staff members have been involved in the delivery of papers and presentations to a variety of audiences. Some of these presentation are listed here:

Kedijang, M., "The Best Kept Secret: Violence Against Domestic Workers in South Africa", Paper presented to the Project for the Study of Violence Seminar Paper. Also presented at FAMSA seminar, Soweto College of Education.

Segal, L., and Simpson, G., "Off the Rails: Violence in the Railway Workers' Strike of 1987", Paper presented at the ASSA conference, July 1990.

Simpson, G., "Power and Violence in South Africa - Yesterday and Today", Seminar presented to Wits SRC Labour Committee.

Simpson, G., Lecture to Industrial Sociology III class on violence in industrial relations: some psychological and sociological explanations.

Simpson, G., "Violence in Industrial Conflict in South Africa in the 1980s", guest lecture to Friends of Law Students (FOLS).

Simpson, G., "Rationality or Irrationality? Sociological v Psychological Explanations of Violence in Strikes", Lecture presented to Independent Mediation Services of South Africa (IMSSA).

Simpson, G., "Explaining the Current Violence on the East Rand", Address to National Union of South African Students meeting at the University of Cape Town.

Simpson, G., "Violence on the Mines and the Welkom Experience" Seminar for Wits SRC Labour Committee.

Simpson, G., "Explaining Violence in South Africa in the 1990s: Victims and Perpetrators in the Era of Negotiations", paper presented to the Social Workers Collective of the Johannesburg Mental Health Society.

Simpson, G,. "Violence, Political Conflict and Transition in South Africa: The Prospects for Peace and Development", lecture delivered to History of Art III class, University of the Witwatersrand.

Simpson, G., "Some Explanations of Violence in Strikes and on the Factory Floor", presentation to the South African Breweries Industrial Relations Department Annual Conference.

Simpson, G., "The State of The Nation - Violence, Negotiations and Political Power in South Africa in 1990", Seminar given to the Wits NUSAS Labour Committee.

Simpson, G., "Some Problems in the Process of Transition and Development in South Africa", presentation and seminar for the East Rand Returnees Counselling Group.

Simpson, G., and Vogelman, L., "Strikes and Social Stress", paper presented at the Education Conference of the Association of Professional Black Occupational Health Workers.

Simpson, G., and Vogelman, L., "Redefining Stress in Strikes: Some Effects on the Domestic Arena", paper presented at the National Council for Mental Health Conference: 'Family Mental Health is Priceless.'

Vogelman, L., "Rape: The Sexual Face of Violence", paper presented at:

Vogelman, L., "South Africa Our Violent land", Keynote address to the Annual General Meeting at the National Institute of Crime Rehabilitation, Carlton Centre, Johannesburg.

Vogelman, L., "Doing Research on violence", Paper presented at the University of Durban Westville.

Vogelman, L., "Strikes, Crowds and Violence", Paper presented at:

Vogelman, L., "What can business do to help stop the violence in the Transvaal townships?", presented at:

Vogelman, L., "Youth and Violence", Paper presented at the National Council of Mental Health Conference: 'Modern Madness', Johannesburg.

Vogelman, L., "The importance of understanding the violence of Transvaal townships for counsellors", presented at Detainees Counselling Service Seminar for new counsellors.

Vogelman, L., "The violence of August, 1990", presented at:

Vogelman, L., "Psychotherapy with victims of Political Repression", paper presented at:

Vogelman, L., "Violence within the context of the current political scenario in South Africa", presented at:

Vogelman, L., "The Living Dead: Life on Death Row at Pretoria Central Prison", Presented at:

Vogelman, L., Causes, Effects and Solutions to the Violence in Transvaal in 1990. Presented at various conferences, workshops and seminars. These include:

Vogelman, L., The Effect of the Current Violence on Families, presented at:

Vogelman, L., The Transvaal War Zones: What can business do to help reduce violence. Presented to:

Vogelman, L., Violence in South Africa: Some solutions the churches can involve themselves in. Presented at:

Vogelman, L., Violence: Responding to Nadine Gordimer, presented at:

Vogelman, L., Rape and Violence in South Africa. Presented at:

Vogelman, L. and Eagle, G., Violence and Family Life in South Africa, presented at:

Vogelman, L., and Kedijang, M., "Violence Against Women", paper presented at Family Life of South Africa Conference on 'Violence in the Home', Soweto.

Vogelman, L., and Simpson. G., "The psychological impact of political violence", paper presented at: Women Against Repression conference: Violence: How can a women respond.

Vogelman, L., and Simpson, G., "Political Violence in 1990", paper presented at:

Vogelman, L., and Simpson, G., "Violence in Sport: the Phenomenon of Crowd Violence", presented to the National Soccer League (NSL), Riviera Hotel, Vereeniging.

Webster, E., and Simpson, G., "Crossing the Picket Line: Strike Violence in South Africa", presented at:


Graeme Simpson Co-convened the Session on Militarisation with Dr. Jackie Cock, for the ASSA Conference, July 1990.

The Project for the Study of Violence convened and chaired the session on Violence in Natal at the ASSA conference, July 1990. Papers presented by Gavin Woods of the Inkatha Institute, John Aitcheson of the University of Natal (Pmb) and Martin Bosman of the University of Natal (Durban).

We also convened and chaired the sessions on Violence and Reconciliation at the Five Freedoms Forum Conference in August this year. Speakers included: Heather Regenas (NICRO), Jay Naidoo (Cosatu), Dr. Mji (Namda), Mkuseli Jack (UDF), Jan Van Eck (Democratic Party) and Jackie Cock (Wits). Speakers from the National Party, the Boere Bevrydigings Beweging and the South African Police declined our invitations to speak. However, much discussion took place between the Inkatha representatives who attended and other members of the audience as well as the speakers.

Attended and provided input at the Conference on the Effect of Organised Violence in South Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe, convened by the International Red Cross and International Alert.

Attended and provided input at the International Briefing Session for the YMCA/YWCA in Repatriation, Gaborone, Botswana.

Assisted IDASA in the planning of a Conference on Post-apartheid policing, scheduled for late in 1991. The Project has been commissioned to do back-up research to assist with the policy issues to be discussed at this conference. It is hoped that the conference will be attended by high ranking officials of the South African Police, international policing experts and the various political interest groups in the country. This work is ongoing.

Training, Consultations and Supervision

Student Supervision and Assistance

Students from the following departments were assisted with research and projects relating to some aspects of violence in South Africa:

Fine Art

Some examples of the work with which we assisted are given below by way of illustration:

In addition to this, we have maintained our training programme with Khanya College, whereby we train two of their post-matric students in basic research and administration skills in preparation for their future attendance at university. Whilst this programme worked well last year, the two students allocated to the Project this year have proved unreliable. They have failed to attend our seminar programme, which is part of the education process, and rarely arrive on the afternoon each week which we set aside for them. If this continues to the end of the year, then we shall have to reconsider this programme.

Other Consultations

There are few days that go by when the Project or its individual members are not approached for assistance or consulted. We service a wide range of individuals and organisations, and the extent of our assistance varies from meeting in-depth requests for research, to the preparation of information dossiers and telephonic interviews. Once again a few examples are provided:

Press Consultations

This aspect of the Project's work has increased dramatically as the Project has received increased publicity. Interviews and resources have been provided for the following newspapers - in some cases, on several occasions:

Various members of the Project staff have also given numerous interviews and consultations with radio and television journalists. We have appeared on television and featured in radio programmes numerous times in the past six months.

Radio and Television Talk Programmes on Sexual Violence: The programmes include 702, Capital Radio and Antennae (SABC TV). Interviews have been given to, and aired by, amongst others:

Psychological Supervision

Supervision of those counselling inmates on death row has continued. This supervision is particularly being provided for some ANC inmates as well as for the Upington 14.

Internal Training

All members of staff attended a crash course in the use of the Word Perfect Word Processing Programme, so as to standardise our use of programmes and to ensure a minimum level of computer literacy.

Trauma Clinic

The Wits Trauma Clinic has evolved in response to an original request from the wider community (via the South African Council of Churches) and was initially intended to deal with displaced black youth (The Sanctuaries Project 1984).

Since that time the clinic has existed as a treatment centre addressing the problems of psychological trauma in the community as a resource for those to whom psychological intervention is financially inaccessible. A sample of our clients since January 1990 have been:

In addition we have been approached by institutions such as The Sowetan, The Yeoville Community Centre, Radio 702 to help with some of their referrals. We have also seen a few family members of high profile activists in the community, who have experienced personal trauma due to repression in the past years.

Despite growing requests as a result of ongoing and increasing violence directed against both individuals and communities, our current resources only enable us to offer our free counseling service once a week. It is our wish and intention to expand our service so that the Wits Trauma Clinic can answer more effectively to emerging issues in psychological service to the community.

Beyond being able to offer a clinical service, the returns for both the Project and the wider community are enhanced by the research opportunities which this service offers. In an ever changing society, the Trauma Clinic offers the potential for hands-on development of new and alternative treatment modalities which are tailored to the needs of those people that it serves most directly. In this way, the Trauma Clinic offers a fundamental reinvestment in the future of the community which it serves.


There have been a number of staff changes since the beginning of 1990, most of which have already been referred to above in the context of the Project's expansion. We have employed three new staff members. Mmatshilo Kedijang has been employed as a Field Worker/Researcher. Lauren Segal was employed in April as our Education and Research Officer. In late June 1990 we employed Ellen Nkuta as a Part-Time Administrator for a trial six month period. Finally, we still obtain research and administrative assistance from Jill Huber, a Psychology Honours student.

From 1991, our staff will consist of approximately twelve people.


Despite the expansion in the staff compliment, the workload encountered by all the staff members remains formidable. We believe that this is only partly due to the increased levels of social and political violence. More importantly, we believe that the centrality of the issues of creating a non-violent culture are increasingly being recognised by all sectors of the South African community. The study of violence has become central to our collective future.

The Project has been receiving considerable positive feedback about our role and is increasingly regarded as one of the few sources of expertise in this field. It remains to be said, however, that our education programme still needs to be further developed. We are encountering some difficulties in translating innovative research into accessible educational material, beyond a reliance on the dissemination of information through our information dossiers. Although our seminar programme is one of the most successful dimensions of our work, we still feel the need to develop a broader readership if we are to educate the community around the issues of violence. Press publicity is a starting point, but the Project needs to extend beyond this.

In general, however, we have assessed the past six months as an important period of positive development and expansion in the project, in which we have managed to avoid outrunning our infrastructural capabilities. The Project is being well received, and we look forward to being able to make a significant contribution to the social, economic and political development of South Africa in the period that follows.

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