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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Wilderness therapy with militarised youths in traumatised communities
Authors:Robertson, Gavin
De Kiewit, Steven
Periodical:The Community Development Journal: An International Journal for Community Workers
Geographic term:South Africa
child soldiers
External link:http://cdj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/33/2/139
Abstract:In South Africa, the combination of State repression and insurrectionary struggle has resulted in high levels of militarization, particularly of the youth. In clashes in the Kathorus region (comprising the townships of Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus) in the East Rand of Gauteng Province, thousands of people died. The early 1990s saw the formation of self-defence units by the ANC and self-protection units by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). The teenage soldier-members were viewed as heroes by the community. By early 1994, however, the extreme conflict had begun to subside and the militarized youths became marginalized, rejected and often criminalized. As a result, they were no longer seen as heroes but as enemies of the community. The attempts made to work with these youths were often abandoned and traditional types of therapeutic intervention appeared unsuccessful. The idea that a more robust therapeutic intervention was required prompted the establishment in 1996 of the Wilderness Therapy Project of Kathorus, sponsored by the National Peace Accord Trust, and conceived of and conducted in the light of the work of C.G. Jung. The project brings together young men who were formerly enemies, and the therapeutic intervention comprises a seven-day trail in the Drakensberg, conducted by a psychologist experienced in wilderness therapy and an assistant, a former self-defence unit commander, during which the youths 'learn to fight the beast within'. Bibliogr., ref. (Published simultaneously in: Journal of Social Development in Africa, vol. 13, no. 1 (1998), p. 53-58.)