Engaging with the ‘soil and soul’ of a community: Rethinking development, healing and transformation in South Africa . PhD thesis Phia van der Watt, University of the Free State, Febr 2016
This study was inspired by my community development praxis over the past 25 years in South Africa.
Critical losses, hardship, oppression and frustrated dreams over generations left our country fragile.
These wounds remained largely unprocessed in the democratic dispensation (since 1994) as poor
policy decisions/implementation and disillusionment added to the complex layers of woundedness. Is
the field of community development deliberately seeking to engage with this complexity – with what I
call the ‘soil and soul’ of our communities? The main aim of this study was thus:
To investigate if and how mainstream community development can engage with the complexity of
woundedness in our communities; and to search for key elements of a healing approach that
mainstream community development practitioners/workers can implement..