HEALTH AND HEALING

HEALTH AND HEALING

Afrika Ikalafe defines health as a harmonious relationship with our Higher Being and the rest of creation. Health is therefore not limited to restoring physical wellness. Instead, it is about healing fractured relationships within, between and amongst people. This expansive view of health and healing was destroyed by colonialism with its undue focus on western science.

It is true that the advent of modern medicine has been instrumental in finding a cure for diseases that threatened to wipe out all of humanity. However, it failed to heal afflictions of the soul of indigenous people. Afrika Ikalafe responds to this gap in health. In its endeavour to heal the fractured soul of the nation, Afrika Ikalafe facilitates healing circles for women, men, and young people.

Healing circles have always existed as a communication and healing tool for indigenous communities. The significance of a circle in African cosmology is reflected in various practices such as: we dance in a circle, we perform rituals in a circle, and our indigenous homes and gathering spaces such as lekgotla are also round. The symbolic meaning of a circle is one of interdependence and collectivism i.e., all beings are interrelated. One common thread that runs through all our programmers and projects is the integration of ancient indigenous knowledge with modern innovation.

Current Projects

Marumo Fatshe: A search for an indigenous healing justice framework to address sexual violence in South Africa.

The concept of Marumo Fatshe is borrowed from the indigenous ritual of cleansing of spears during the aftermath of a bloody battle. Specifically, Marumo Fatshe project recognises that on their own, tough jail sentences have failed to un-harden the hearts of people who are numbed by multigenerational trauma of a violent society. Unlike the Western justice system, the African indigenous justice system is founded on a circle of healing whose goal is to heal and reconcile those affected by a specific crime. Within this context, justice must also heal the fractured soul of the nation.

One of the key tools we use is technology in a form of a digital healing hut. Inspired by the wisdom and healing power of fireside gatherings, the project aims to restore indigenous and healing codes of behaviour by means of digital content.
It is envisaged that the digital healing hut will become a safe space where men can reflect on their conditioning as well as envision their role of serving as part of the solution to gender-based violence. In so doing, men will support one another as they work through what it means to be an African man in the 21st century.

Afrika Ikgolole

According to the Department of Correctional Services, a high percentage of offenders return to prison after having been released. Factors such as unemployment, poverty, lack of skills, stigmatisation and inadequate rehabilitation initiatives in communities are some of the factors that contribute to the high rate of recidivism.

Effective reintegration depends on individual and societal change of behaviour. However, change in behaviour cannot be sustained in an environment which is characterised by high levels of poverty and unemployment.

To respond to challenges described above, Afrika Ikalafe proposes a holistic model which will combine narrative therapy, family and community healing as well as introducing a model of social enterprise which will improve ex-offenders business and entrepreneurial skills.

Research has revealed that without employment, ex-convicts are three to five times more likely to commit a crime than those who gain employment after leaving prison. Employment is therefore one of the key factors in reducing the rate of recidivism. In our initial pilot project, we managed to save a few ex-offenders from returning to jail.