Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Creators of Peace process addressing childhood trauma in South Africa, Cape town

“I don’t know what it is like to have a family because mine was never there for me,” said Bukeka, one of the participants during the 17 to 19th March 2022 when Creators of Peace Circle team (CoPC) facilitated a Peace Circle (PC) to 12 participants (one man and 11 women) aged between 20- 55yrs.

The PC dynamic was more mature, unlike the previous two workshops where the majority of the participants were younger.  They were inquisitive and eager to know what CoPC is all about and how they will benefit from the space.  “I have been to more than one-on-one counselling so it will be interesting for me to see how the inner healing group setting unfolds,” commented Busisiwe. The participant's expectations were to know more about inner healing and learn from each other’s experiences, gain a family and friends and also draw strength from one another. 

As with other PCs the participants have come to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape, looking for a better life for themselves and their families.  Many are unemployed. “After all the abuse I have endured in my life I decided to come to Cape Town to look for work and change my situation and that of my family,” shared Zodwa. The psychosocial challenges of the group derive from hatred amongst siblings, lack of forgiveness, being undermined because of your financial status, rejection by parents and sexual abuse.  

Some comments shared from the whole experience were: “What I have learnt from this particular workshop is that consistency is very important and that knowing your triggers is also vital.’ Another expressed, “I have realized that it does not matter the age but as long as you have not dealt with your past trauma it will come back to haunt you sooner or later. Childhood trauma is very real.” 

When they were self-evaluating their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder survey, they realized then the need to heal so as to stop, as parents today, transferring hurt on their own children. The sad statistics from the department of Social Development in South Africa reveal that over 60% of adults are trauma victims.  As adults they experience feelings of shame and guilt, feeling disconnected and unable to relate to others, trouble controlling emotions, heightened anxiety, depression and anger.

Nompendulo Mathe, one of the CoP facilitators, said, “It was so heart-warming to see participants sharing their past traumas effortlessly and seeing other participant’s engagement around those experiences.”  Some indicated that they would like their loved ones, organizations, communities and partners to be in this space and experience the PC. 

Participants agreed on attending follow-up sessions with the aim of supporting each other.  They have set goals of reaching out to the families, mending broken friendships and relationships and practising self-love and self-care. Some were embarking on a journey of forgiveness as well as setting clear boundaries with their loved ones.

                                                                                                 Report by Nomonde Qondiso and Nompendulo Mathe