In 2020 Ububele's Baby Mat Project won the IPA (International Psychoanalytic Association) President's Award. The President's Award is noted as the best overall project from all community areas. The following blog is the speech given by Ububele's Katharine Frost at the IPA awards ceremony last month.
Very warm greetings from Johannesburg South Africa in these tumultuous times. Ububele was started by 2 psychoanalytic psychotherapists, Tony and Hillary Hamburger over 20 years ago. They have both contributed to the start of Johannesburg’s and South Africa’s journey into Psychoanalytic work and with Mark Solmes, Sue Levy and others, the establishment of the South African Psychoanalytic Association.
This award recognizes their and our work. It also represents some of our attempts to address the terrible struggles of South Africa’s past. How the echoes of our past resonate in the present, and how our present calls on us to address what was left unacknowledged and unprocessed in the past.
Our parent infant interventions have as our central focus the power of early intervention work, of interrupting inter-generational transmission of trauma, that is so endemic in our complex country. The Baby Mat project is the anchor of this parent-infant work where our teams sit on the floor, on a mat, at busy primary health care clinics where a space for thinking and observing and processing is provided.
In a sense the mat is an adjunct to the traditional practice of Umdlezane where the post-natal period is recognized as a time of vulnerability, a time of providing support and where the centrality of attachment is recognized.
This award is a fitting celebration of what has been achieved at Ububele, it is an actualization of what Tony and Hillary Hamburger dreamed of in the early 1990s, an organization that makes psychoanalytically informed work accessible in community settings, and where the damage of our past can be addressed.
Thank you once again for recognizing the value of our work!
If you'd like to support the work Ububele does in the community you can go to https://www.ububele.org/support-us to make a donation
Katharine Frost is an Ububele Psychologist with over 17 years of experience in the NGO sector. She also has a private practice with a special interest in Parent-Infant Psychotherapy, training and working therapeutically with parents and children.