Displaced bodies – Active witnessing

This book explores the context of the xenophobic attacks and the attack on foreignness in South Africa; the psychosocial support that was offered by Lefika La Phodiso to victims of the xenophobic attacks as well as the interventions that were done with refugees and victims of xenophobic attacks. These included art therapy sessions with adolescents and adults; recording expressions of anger, frustration and grief, and exhibiting the expressions of refugees in a public space.

Collated by: Maren Bodenstein
Featured Artist: Dr Kim Berman



Through a partnership with the National Arts Council of South Africa, Lefika La Phodiso has established a publication division – Lefika Publications. The first project to fall under this new division, Lefika Publications, is The Working Body of Knowledge series. This series comprises eight books which are written and presented in such a way that they function as a synopsis and resource book containing the key concepts of Lefika’s methodology and practice in the psycho-social arena. The books creatively address psychoanalytically informed ways of responding to societies and communities that are at risk or impacted by trauma.

The process of making this series mirrors the participatory model of practice developed by Dr Hayley Berman. Through the art of conversation and collaboration these books distil the work done by Lefika La Phodiso. They capture the collective voices and processes over two decades that have created a ‘rock of holding’ and healing spaces. The books serve as a reflection of work done, as well as the beginnings of new work and have been created by a collective of psychoanalytic psychotherapists, Community Art Counsellors, artists, photographers, designers and writers.

South African artists are core to this project, as each book is paired with a South African artist who speaks to the issue we are addressing. Further to this, relevant community artworks (created in Lefika groups) are also integrated into each publication.


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