Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Ubuntu: Caring for people and community in South Africa— Elmarie Kotzé et al.



    Since the first hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in April 1996, South Africans over the next two years heard the revelations about the nation’s traumatic past. The TRC received 20,000 statements from victims, 2,000 of these were heard in public hearings (Krog 1998, p.vii). Through the TRC we came face-to-face with this country’s volatile history and began to grasp an understanding of the human cost of apartheid.

    Different options were available regarding amnesty for perpetrators who testified before the TRC. Negotiators decided against the sort of trials held at Nuremberg after WWII, and they also decided against offering a blanket amnesty. A third way, granting individuals amnesty in exchange for full disclosure of the crimes for which amnesty was sought, was a preferred way of dealing with perpetrators. This way of conditional amnesty has often been described within a framework of Christian forgiveness, but it was also consistent with ubuntu, an African worldview (Tutu 1999, p.34). In this paper, we will be describing the significance of ubuntu in our work in South Africa.


  1. “Narrative therapy doesn’t believe in a ‘whole self’ which needs to be integrated but rather that our identities are made up of many stories, and that these stories are constantly changing.”

    I like this, I find it very compatible with my beliefs as a Buddhist. In Buddhism, as I understand it, mistaken beliefs about a solid, fixed “self” are the source of our suffering.

    I work with couples using EFT for couples, and in that approach, there is a big emphasis on externalising the problem as “the cycle that you get trapped in”, and encouraging couples to come up with their own name for it.

  2. Thank you for this. I am a counsellor, and trying to make as much as possible of my notes “in quotes”, that is, writing down things that the clients said. And not my own opinions.

  3. Thank you for this overview of Narrative Therapy. I am returning to practice after some time away, and these reminders are timely and appreciated.

  4. Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed watching your video about Narrative Walks. My project is based in Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, Uk. I’m wondering whether I might use such an approach in my work with our Youth Service, who support young people between the ages of 11 and 25. Have you any thoughts on this? Are there any resources available, either free or to purchase?

    Best wishes


    • Hi Paul, m

      Much of my early attempts of the program were with the 15-20 year old age bracket and I found it worked really well. When I recently had an opportunity to run the program again with this age bracket – I extended the finish time so that could spend more time at the stop points and have a fire at the last resting place to talk about our intentions after the walk. This meant that we used head torches for the 2km which added a bit of a sense of theatre to the day. It was pretty cool.

      If you email me on hello@embarkpsych.com I can send you the manual. Or ask any other questions via this page so others might share in the answers.


  5. Thank you for sharing your insights. This has been very enlightening as a student studying post-grad social work. Recently my tutorial group was discussing how professionals often use their interpretation and that clients may not get to see how some professionals interpret their stories, in this way many things can be missed especially what the client sees as being important.