In early 2015, a wave of xenophobic unrest and violence shook South African Cities and regions. Durban was affected as well and within a short time, thousands of residents from African countries (mostly from Zimbabwe and Malawi but also from Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and others) who were living in and around Durban were driven from their homes, jobs or other residences with nowhere to go. The city of Durban responded quickly, setting up tents and organising food, blankets and other necessities. The Chatsworth Camp was one of the most populated temporary shelters and open for several weeks.
The TRE Initiative
Liza Kimble was able to secure access to the Chatsworth Camp and found a donor for a big tent to be used as a safe space for TRE on the premises. The situation was challenging when Liza and Su Thomas arrived at the camp, with people having to stand in line for hours – for food and registration. In all likelihood it was impossible to see individual people more than once or twice because the majority of them were waiting for buses to take them home to their native countries. The Zimbawean and Malawi Government sent fleets of buses while the registration tried to make sure that women and children were the first ones to go home. People were able to decide whether to stay or leave – although the Home Affairs registration procedure would obviously focus on whether people were staying in South Africa legally or not.
Liza and Su put the tent up and invited members of the Medical Personnel next door for a session while finding out how to best go about offering TRE to as many people as possible. It did not prove too difficult, once the first group of people were found – those who had experienced a short time of rest and a sense of safety in the tent – which was closed off from any outside disturbance as much as possible – would eventually bring others along. The next day however brought big changes – all women and children being relocated away from the tents and many buses arriving and leaving all day. Nevertheless – a rotating group of Providers were able to take about 200 people, mostly young to middle age men – through a session.
The basics of TRE were explained to every new group and time was provided for them to share their experiences, wishes and hopes. TRE was received very well with many people saying that they know or have heard of the benefits of shaking – maybe surprising for us but especially the Malawian men said that the benefits of shaking are known to the local midwifes and indigeneous healers.
Sadly there was no chance to follow up since most people left Durban in the course of the following weeks. But those who were involved in the initiative trust that some of the people introduced to TRE will share their knowledge and continue use it. If you would like to get in contact with the people involved in the initiative, please do so. Liza Kimble, Susanne Thomas, Linda Lazarczykova and Helga Lapke’s contact details can be found on this page: TRE PROVIDERS – DURBAN