Flocking Together: An Indigenous Psychology Theory of Resilience in Southern Africa

  • Liesel Ebersöhn

About this book


This book describes how those individuals who are often most marginalised in postcolonial societies draw on age-old, non-western knowledge systems to adapt to the hardships characteristic of unequal societies in transformation. It highlights robust indigenous pathways and resilience responses used by elders and young people in urban and rural settings in challenging Southern African settings (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland) to explain an Indigenous Psychology theory. Flocking (rather than fighting, fleeing, freezing or fainting) is explained as a default collectivist, collaborative and pragmatic social innovation to provide communal care and support when resources are constrained, and needs are par for the course. Flocking is used to address, amongst others, climate change (drought and energy use in particular), lack of household income and securing livelihoods, food and nutrition, chronic disease (specifically HIV / AIDS and tuberculosis), barriers to access services (education, healthcare, social welfare support), as well as leisure and wellbeing. The book further deliberates whether the continued use of such an entrenched socio-cultural response mollifies citizens and decision-makers into accepting inequality, or whether it could also be used to spark citizen agency and disrupt longstanding structural disparities.


Relationship Resourced Resilience Settings of Hardship and Abundance Indigenous Psychology Theory Power and Flocking Processes Resilience and Southern Africa Global South Risks Pathways of Resilience Responses Flocking and Climate Change Flocking and Lack of Household Income Flocking and Nutrition Flocking and Chronic Disease Flocking and Well-Being Social Support in South Africa

Authors and affiliations

  • Liesel Ebersöhn
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Study of ResilienceUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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