As a systemised and institutionalised structure of discrimination, exploitation, and oppression, apartheid left a legacy of extremely and deeply wounded and traumatized societies throughout South Africa. In fact, I extend these sentiments to say that the collective trauma experienced as a result of this brutal regime have not been effectively and actively addressed and that many have not been unshackled from the traumatic experiences, which I believe has renders South Africa’s so-called democracy extremely fragile for many people.
On 03 May 2017, we were given an extremely important session on generational trauma by Mrs. Allengary Naicker. She reminded us that we always need to take cognisant of the fact that trauma and the experiences thereof do not only have an excruciating impact on those who have personally experienced violence and conflict, but also on current and future generations which we currently see happening in South Africa today.
Today, in our communities we vividly witness this trauma in the form of anxiety, pain, anger, and a confusion of belonging amongst many victims, as well as their family members. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an issue which is greatly ignored in our country. In many of our communities past traumas are transmitted intergenerationally which I believe is a result of a series of personal issues, the past and history of victims of the apartheid regime, as well disastrous cultural and societal transformations.
We need to understand that victims of apartheid are not merely those who appealed for gross human rights petitions with Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but the millions of South Africans who were forcefully removed from their homes, who were forced to carry pass books, who witnessed the murders of their loved ones, lived with poverty and unemployment, and ultimately who were deeply undermined as a result of their biological appearances.
I strongly think that as South Africans we need to seriously look into the dire consequences of all this dehumanization, humiliation, and loss of dignity of people of colour in South Africa as they have profoundly contributed to the generational trauma which persists throughout our country.