Exploring ways to protect and promote the psychosocial wellbeing of the San community living at Platfontein in the Northern Cape
Louw, Angela Kedisaletsi
MetadataShow full item record
The focus of this research was an exploration of the psychosocial wellbeing of the San people in Platfontein in the Northern Cape. This San community consists of mainly two groups of San people, namely the the !Xun and the Khwe who are living close to Kimberley. They are viewed as a first generation of Africans who previously lived nomadically as members of small communities in some of the most isolated areas of Southern Africa (Tempelhoff, 2014). They are struggling with urbanisation in a rapidly modernising and changing South Africa. Since 1993, the San experienced many challenges and changes related to their background of dispossession, relocation, mass destruction, and war. Furthermore, their psychosocial wellbeing is negative influenced by unemployment and poverty. While there are some studies available about the many risk factors and problems linked to the San community’s psychosocial wellbeing, there is a lack of information about the resources pertaining to their psychosocial wellbeing. A qualitative approach and a case study design were used. Data were collected by conducting individual interviews with younger and older members of this community. A focus group discussion was also conducted with community leaders according to the San’s cultural practices, seeing that the San people’s abilities of story-telling and connecting in groups are widely regarded as part of their cultural heritage. Thematic data analysis was used. Three main themes and some sub-themes emerged to reveal the main findings. The first theme indicates the recognition of the strengths inherent to the San in the Platfontein community (their wealth of cultural strengths). This theme speaks about their cultural heritage and their intimate knowledge of nature/animals; the knowledge of animals being part of the San people’s practices; the knowledge of animals and hunting linked to the San’s survival; the San’s awareness of limitations regarding hunting nowadays; and their indigenous languages as an integral aspect of their identity and collective self-esteem. The second main theme covers the San’s perspectives about the constructive and destructive factors as to their psychosocial wellbeing. Conflicting issues regarding the assets of the Platfontein community – with specific reference to education, medical services (clinic), law and order/policing, and the lack of community resources – are the content of the third and final main theme. This information is vital for the offering of guidelines for possible interventions in the South African context, taking into account indigenous knowledge. Although, at present, there are published guidelines on the practice of culturally competent intervening, there is still a lack of practical information about how to carry out appropriate interventions with 8 specific populations of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, such as the San people living in South Africa. Relevant literature and the findings of the empirical study (research article one) offers culture-sensitive information when intervening with ethnic minorities (indigenous people) in South Africa. Within an ecological stance, it is suggested to accommodate a strengths-based perspective to promote the psychosocial wellbeing of the San community. Also, the importance of the “collective” is underlined, particularly in communities such as the San community in Platfontein where realities are associated with “chronic risk” and population trauma. This point of departure negates passive dependence and opts for collective agency. The research contributes to scientific literature within the social work profession; it helps to provide a better understanding of the concept of the psychosocial wellbeing of the oldest inhabitants of South Africa, specifically focusing on the San people in Platfontein in the Northern Cape. This San community experience many challenges and this information can serve as a guideline for future government policies and the realisation of the Sustainable Developmental Goals for 2030.
- Health Sciences