A View From South Africa

      Solomon Oupa Makola, PhD

    Licensed Psychologist, Welkom Campus

    Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT)

South Africa is distinct for diverse cultures and languages. South Africa has the highest number of people of European origin, in Africa; and 79.5% of the South African population is of black African ancestry. For a very long time, the white minority was in control of the vastly larger black majority; they introduced a policy of segregation known as apartheid. After years of internal protests, activism and uprising by black South Africans and their allies, segregation policies were abolished and political movements were unbanned. Nelson Mandela was released from prison after serving 27 years incarceration on a sabotage sentence. Peaceful negotiations were held; subsequently the first democratic elections took place in 1994, which the ANC won by an overwhelming majority; it has been in power ever since. The country then rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations.

Despite the 17 years of democracy, the continued consequences of segregation are still clearly visible; consequently, it will take years for the country to reverse the damage done by apartheid. Besides the latter; poverty, crime, aids, and unemployment are some as the major challenges facing the country. Rape is a common problem in South Africa, in a 2009 survey one in four South African men admitted to raping someone. About a quarter of the population is unemployed.

Irrespective of challenges, to date South Africa has 10 Nobel Prize winners; which include Nelson Mandela. South Africa is a well-liked tourist destination; Dr. Frankl visited the country several times and he was awarded honorary doctoral degrees by a number of South African universities. Dr. Frankl visited this country when people where still divided and, irrespective of that, he preached a message of hope and restoration. The message, preached by Dr. Frankl to South African then, is still relevant today. His message teaches us that we do not suffer in vain and that everything happens for a reason; our responsibility is to find the meaning of the suffering.

The movie, Viktor and I, is a true testimony about what Dr. Frankl calls self –transcendence; that in life we don’t exist solely for ourselves but for others. Dr. Frankl lived his life for others; thus, in this movie South Africans and other people throughout the world will be able to learn, from the primary and secondary sources, how they can overcome challenges and lead meaningful lives. The movie is a fantastic educational tool for both logotherapists and people who are searching for meaning in their lives.

Solomon Oupa Makola, PhD Licensed Psychologist and Campus Manager: Central University of Technology, Free State (Welkom Campus).

27 comments (Add your own)

1. Mary Cimiluca wrote:
Thank you Solomon,

This is a beautiful post and makes my heart sing. I have always wanted to visit South Africa and now, I have a friend there! Since I have been working with the Frankl/Vesely families, I have noticed that wherever their hearts have touched, friends are born and become remarkably interconnected.


Mon, February 7, 2011 @ 9:11 AM

2. Paseka Maqaza wrote:
I am very impressed with the way Dr Makola articulate his knowledge about the sense of meaning. South Africa as a country can use a sense of meaning to achieve the real efforts of creating a rainbow nation.Thanks Dr Makola, personally I know that you always preach about a sense of meaning. You will be a guru of sense of meaning in South Africa.

Mon, February 7, 2011 @ 9:26 AM

3. Sarita wrote:
Thank you, Dr. Solomon! It was very nice to read your post and know a bit more about your lovely country, which I had the blessing to visit in 1980. May the hardships you're all going through awake the very best of South African people, aided by persons like you that surely do a great job in enlightening the path through a new discovery of meaning.

Sat, February 12, 2011 @ 3:54 PM

4. matsupa mabope wrote:
thank u dr makola to have u in our province. i study educational psychology as a subject at motheo and i received my educare diploma in 1999 and i further my studies in educational psychology at the university of free state, and in2008 i received my bed honours in eductional psychology. currently i'm lecturer at mphohadi teaching psychology n5& n6 in educare. i want to study masters but i need more guidance on how to write my thesis.

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