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About Us

“The respect and encouragement that the staff gives the children makes us feel safe and loved.” 
– Lefika La Phodiso child
Lefika La Phodiso is Africa’s first organisation offering community art counselling training. Aptly named, Lefika La Phodiso means the rock of holding and healing. It is just this to the many children and adults who use this safe space as part of their recovery and growth. Lefika La Phodiso’s core areas of work, namely counselling and training, happen under the same roof, allowing for a meaningful symbiosis. Paper, paints, clay and recycled objects become transformative tools of creative expression, both joyous and cathartic. It is an equally pivotal place for the practitioners who are trained at the organisation with a view to offering accessible mental health services for children, in under-resourced communities. Based at the Children's Memorial Institute in Johannesburg, this optimum inner-city location is the ideal venue as it is accessible and secure. It’s also home to many important health-based organisations.

Our Vision

“The respect and encouragement that the staff gives the children makes us feel safe and loved.” 
– Lefika La Phodiso child
To provide safe spaces in which creativity and containment nourish emotional development and strengthen relationships.
Access to health care should be a right not a privilege. For children who have been subjected to trauma, a healing space is essential to their recovery and well-being. We hope, in turn, this will also stop the negative cycle of abuse. Pre-pandemic we had envisioned rolling out centres across South Africa. However, while this will still be our long-term goal our immediate concern is to consolidate and adapt our current model. As the world shifts away from physical spaces to Zoom rooms, Lefika La Phodiso has adapted accordingly. For every trained community art counsellor who goes back into their community, pollination takes place!

Our Mission

“The respect and encouragement that the staff gives the children makes us feel safe and loved.” 
– Lefika La Phodiso child
To build capacity for empathy through Community Art Counselling training, programmes and research dedicated to psychosocial transformation
Our mission is to build capacity for empathy by training groups of community art counsellors dedicated to psycho-social transformation. While the focus is primarily on the modality of art, Lefika’s integrated arts offering has expanded to include drama, movement and music. These creative modalities all facilitate the outlet and processing of emotions. The paradox is that we have to be strong to access that part of ourselves that feels weak. Creative self-expression connects to a strong part of ourselves enabling self-reflection and self-awareness.

The Team

Boitumelo Happy Bapela

Operations Manager
“I was surprised at how emotions can inspire creativity that something that you feel on the inside can come out beautifully on paper.”

Happy has a diploma in Business Administration majoring in public management. She loves working with people and assisting the team to run a successful NGO. As the health and safety representative at Lefika she has also taken part in an online training course which explored Covid-19 in the workplace. She believes that the work at Lefika La Phodiso feels like a calling. She gets great job satisfaction watching the Lefika children using art to communicate! Happy is grateful to be part of this amazing experience.

Rozanne Myburgh

Managing Director and Drama Therapist
“I love working in communities with groups and individuals and believe in the creative arts therapies as an important healing tool.”

After completing her MA in Drama Therapy with distinction, Rozanne spent a year at Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust in Alexandra, Johannesburg. Rozanne heads up the communication committee for South African National Arts Therapies Association (SANATA). Rozanne is an expressive movement facilitator and an accredited circle of security parenting facilitator. Rozanne joined Lefika in 2016.

She is a clinical supervisor at the University of Witwatersrand‘s Drama For Life department and lectures community practice at the University of Johannesburg’s art therapy programme.

Kate Shand

Communications and special projects
“I am passionate about working with clay and its ability to heal.”

Kate is a certified creative grief support practitioner and community arts counsellor. She is part of the first cohort of students in South Africa to study art therapy at University of Johannesburg and intends to practice as an art therapist once she has completed her master's degree in art therapy. She has facilitated many arts-based workshops over the years. Her job at Lefika entails responding to calls for funding proposals, producing a monthly newsletter, regular social media updates, assessor and moderator training and creating a library. Kate is a published author.

Sinazo Konza

Financial Manager
“Lefika is about changing lives and working positively towards societal development.”

Sinazo has a diploma in accounting and is currently studying accounting science at UNISA. She believes that working for an NGO is better than dreaming about an ideal society that you want to live in. She is committed to youth development and mindful that a huge proportion of our population, under the age of 25, have little hope at present of ever being gainfully employed due to lack of support. Sinazo derives enormous work satisfaction from working at Lefka La Phodiso, where hungry children are fed and nourished. She is also meticulous about balancing her accounting books.

Buhle Duda

Operations Assistant
"I feel passionate about childrens’ rights – specifically the right to safety."

Buhle has a certificate in adult basic education from UNISA and is currently studying BED intermediate phase at UNISA. She started working at Lefika La Phodiso in 2019. She loves working with children and is interested in childhood development. Buhle coordinates the feeding scheme at Lefika for our open studio programme, stock management and studio management.

The Board

Hayley Berman

“I wanted to make art therapy accessible to as many people as possible to help facilitate change.”

Hayley Berman is an art psychotherapist with specialist expertise in contexts of trauma and social and political upheaval. She has a PhD in psycho-social studies and is an artist and social entrepreneur. Hayley has worked with individuals and groups in the UK, South Africa and several other countries. Hayley is also a supervisor and examiner for Public Health, Psychosocial Studies and Visual Arts doctoral students. She is a senior lecturer at Hertfordshire University, and a visiting professor at UJ. Hayley has exhibited her work collaboratively. She has published a series of books through Lefika Publications.

Khayelihle S Sithole – Chairperson

“We tried in our simple way to lead our life in a manner that may make a difference to those of others.” – Nelson Mandela

Khaya is an accountant, academic, activist and writer. He studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and completed his CA articles with the FirstRand Group. He has served as a mentor on the Shanduka Black Umbrellas Incubation Programme. Khaya has worked as an editor of various textbooks in Financial Reporting and Taxation. He serves as a resident political and financial analyst, writer and talk show host for many media platforms. In March 2019 he completed his postgraduate studies at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, UK. He is currently studying towards an LLB through UNISA. 

Mervyn Croft

“Society grows great when old people plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” - Unknown

Mervyn holds a BSc degree from the University of KwaZulu Natal. He worked in the IT industry for 17 years and was head of a corporate IT department when he left to pursue his interest in Buddhism. He was the manager at the Buddhist Retreat Centre near Ixopo for 13 years, before leaving to found the Emoyeni Retreat Centre, a non-profit organisation, in 2000. Mervyn lives at Emoyeni where he teaches meditation and is one of the managers of the retreat centre.

“Working in groups with creativity made sense on every level. The art therapy group space provided spaces for different cultures to come together and heal the abhorrent splits in society, to speak a language of collaboration, democracy and transformation. Using art as a medium to come together and train, modelled the capacity for participants to offer that space for those they worked with” 
– Hayley Berman (founder)

Our history

In 1994, the year of South Africa’s first democratic elections, The Art Therapy Centre was established by Hayley Berman. Art therapy was yet to be recognised by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
One of the biggest challenges was getting the support of colleagues and the Health Professions Council to support the training programme, to enable Lefika La Phodiso to re-dress the lack of access to tertiary education and enable the training of community workers to offer psychosocial services.

This still proves to be an enormous challenge to accredit and recognise the need for non-formal education as an essential and valuable way to re-dress the levels of trauma in South Africa. Another challenge that remains is acquiring consistent and sustainable financial partnership with government and corporates to grow and sustain the work.
In 1996 Hayley started art therapy groups with teachers from schools in Katlehong. The efficacy of these workshops evolved from therapy groups to training community leaders to become art counsellors. In 2004 the Art Therapy Centre became an NGO. The centre’s name changed to Lefika La Phodiso and this coincided with its move to the Children’s Memorial Institute in Parktownin 2007.

Lefika La Phodiso is still in this inner-city venue and over and above its community art counsellors have worked with refugees and facilitated national dialogues on the impact of service delivery on gender-based violence in four provinces in partnership with the Department of Women.
During lockdown Lefika La Phodiso conducted online workshops. We also developed activity packs for the children to work with at home. Covid-19 has presented a global challenge for all of us. Yet, we are confident that with our dedicated team, loyal supporters and willing participants, both children and trainers, Lefika La Phodiso will overcome
“Working in groups with creativity made sense on every level. The art therapy group space provided spaces for different cultures to come together and heal the abhorrent splits in society, to speak a language of collaboration, democracy and transformation. Using art as a medium to come together and train, modelled the capacity for participants to offer that space for those they worked with” 
– Hayley Berman (founder)

Annual Reports

At Lefika La Phodiso every pot of paint, roll of paper and lump of clay can be accounted for. As always, we are grateful to our sponsors and volunteers, without them, there would be no us.
2018 - 2019
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2019 - 2020
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2017 - 2018
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2016 - 2017
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2015 - 2016
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2014 - 2015
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Funders & Donors

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