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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021


Parallel Papers Session 1
Friday 5 July 1.45pm-3.00 pm, EEST
Paper Code: PP25

CE Credits Available

Containment of discontent and clashes of civilizations – the South African Crucible.
Presenter: Rica Viljoen
Moderator: Steen Visholm

In 1990, F.W. de Klerk, the South African president at the time, addressed the world and announced the demolishment of the racial division systems that were in place within South Africa (SA). This was the beginning of The SA. This was done from a functional, systemic worldview value system that considered the bigger picture of the country’s health and survival of all ciitizens. Naturally, this caused defences of fight, flight, paring, one-ness and we-ness within the populace, in an attempt to deal with the anxt; as people were operating from different value systems.

Dr Don Beck, from Texas, was part of the masses that gathered in front of parliament in Cape Town that day. It was the first time since 1986 that international press were allowed to broadcast political events in Apartheid-South Africa. Don was probably the only person there who knew what was going to happen. Don remembers clearly how the crowd pushed him against the railings. The energy and tension were tangible. Don could hardly breathe when the black Mercedes Benz with de Klerk in the back seat turned around the corner. For a split second, he caught the pre-occupied eyes of the president. They both knew that the events of that day would change South Africa forever. De Klerk indicated thumbs up to Don. With a deep sense of understanding and support Don acknowledged the greeting in a similar manner.

History was in the making. Madiba was to be released from prison.

South Africa - a Transformational Case

In 1986 South Africa was torn apart by with racial tension. The Emergent Cyclical, Phenomenological, Existential Double-Helix Levels of Existence Conception of Adult Human Behavior (1978)1 together with psycho-analitical thought (Viljoen, 2016) were applied in the SA- context to ensure the adoptation of an inclusive constitution, the co-creation of bill of rights and the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, lead by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

A systems-psycho dynamics approach towards healing of a nation Complex facilitation sessions, underpinned by Jungian thought (Goren-Bar, 2022) and psycho-analytic principles (Bion, 1975) were conducted with groups that previously polorised on philosophical terms. Detail of these processes are shared.


Personal reflections of facilitators in the peace-process are shared in this paper. Autoethnographic notes (Sparkes, 2002) are used as data gathering methodology. Grounded theory-like coding will be used to analyse themes that emerge. Quality criteria of authenticity, modifyability, transferaility and fit will be applied. Insights on large scale geo-political transformation will be derived.

Thoughts provoked by the paper

In contrast with the despair, anger, trauma and hurt caused by Apartheid; reelings of hope, appreciation of differences and valuing of diversity will be evoced in the participants. Through sharing this inspirational case, simplicity at the opposite side of complexity are promoted.

In 1991 F.W De Klerk and Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

1 The theory was coined as Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck in 1991 in South Africa

Biographical Summary

Dr Rica Viljoen’s research on inclusivity, which was a significant aspect of her doctoral thesis, gained widespread recognition for its potential impact in the field of Management, Spirituality and Religion. In 2008, the Academy of Management acknowledged her model as one of the ten most promising contributions to the field. Since then, this approach, which emphasises listening to the voices of the entire social system, has been successfully implemented in 42 countries, engaging more than 100000 participants. Due to her contributions, Rica received the prestigious CEO award from the Institute of People Management (IPM), both nationally and internationally. She was further recognised by the South African Board of People Practices for her contribution to the field of study. She is an associate with the Da Vinci School for Business Leadership, Regenesys University and Meridian University – San Francisco. She supervised more than 100 PhDs and Masters Studies.
Apart from her academic endeavours, Rica was the founder member of Mandala Consulting a respected organisation dedicated to organisational development and research. She worked closely with the late dr Don Beck and dr Loraine Laubscher on geo-political trends and their impact on individuals and the organisations they belong too. She established the Centre of Human Emergence: Africa and has become an international recognised thought leader in spiral dynamics and integral research. Rica serves on the board of the SABPP as vice chair for the last two terms and was recently selected to the international board of the International Society for the Psycho-analytical studies in Organisations. She also joined the board of the Don Beck Spiral Dynamics Integral with the purpose to further the field of study and is a senior research member in a project to revisit the Graves archives. Rica published 9 books of which the book Spiral Dynamics In Action is translated in 9 languages. She consults to organisations in relation to Inclusivity, Culture and strategic HR issues. Rica is a sought after Jungian, systems psycho-analytically-informed consultant and Integral Executive Coach.
Her purpose in life is to listen to untold stories and facilitate healing.