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Mantis Weekend | PANEL DISCUSSION Parts 1 & 2 – Conscripted Poet Documentary: Trauma and socially constructed silence

October 8, 2022 @ 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

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Trigger Warning: Breaking the silence and starting to peel away at the multiple layers of trauma in our country’s history, is a painful confrontation for each of us in a uniquely different way. The price we pay for holding up the constructed silence is reflected in our country’s grim statistics of substance abuse, violence and in particular gender-based violence. Our avoidance to engage with the deep wounds of historical trauma, stops us from acknowledging what happened and how it broke us as individuals and as a society. Since we cannot grieve and heal, our pain becomes our legacy to the next generation.   We advise audience discretion as it is possible that the subject matter, embedded in the background of South Africa’s apartheid system and the violence of war, could be disturbing, triggering physical and mental reactions, including emotional distress.  No one in the world knows how to open this dialogue in a sophisticated smooth way. We dare to try, imperfect and incomplete, with the faith that it will move us in the direction of healing through more dialogue and sharing.

saaja-mantis-weekend-panel-discussionConscripted Poet Documentary: Trauma and socially constructed silence

Moderator:     Marita de Wet

Panelists:         Renee Ramsden, Charlotte Hoffman, Kris Marais, Maura Talbot, Tauriq Jenkins, Matthew Robinson, John Gosling.

The militarization of half a million of young white men who were conscripted into the South African Defense Force between 1967 and 1992 remains an untold story of trauma and dehumanization. The young men’s soul destroying experiences were silenced, firstly by the Defence Act and further compelled by church, family, and political developments. Civilians were comfortable joining the pretence and maintain the silence, yet many, now middle aged men, lived lives of a quiet desperation, which insidiously destroyed the relationship fibre holding families and societies together. The resultant intergenerational transfer of trauma threatens the social fibre of our future. The morbid legacy of all the unresolved trauma in South Africa is too much for the next generation to bear and resolve. We cannot do much, but each has to gather courage and do what they can.

The possibility of starting a wider inclusive conversation about this socially constructed silence and its traumatic consequences is the objective which Kris, Maura and Tauriq set out to investigate.

While history books reflect the facts, the lived history of devastation, has not been told.

A ubiquitous story of the dark matter of wars and its effect on ordinary people is told in the anthology, Africa Ablaze!, where Kris Marais and others contributed poems called “graphic, unflinching and honest” by book reviewers.

Will it be poetry that may one day become our tool for peace?

PANEL part 1

09h00 to 10h30

Panel moderated by Marita de Wet

Conscripted Poet Documentary: Trauma and socially constructed silence


Documentary film

Poetry reading



Kris Marais

Maura Talbot

Tauriq Jenkins

Matthew Robinson

Charlotte Hoffman

Renee Ramsden

John Gosling

10h30 – 11h00 BREAK  
PANEL part 2

11h00 to 12h30

Panel moderated by Marita de Wet (continued)

Conscripted Poet  Documentary: Trauma and socially constructed silence

Poetry Reading


Kris Marais

Maura Talbot

Tauriq Jenkins

Matthew Robinson

Charlotte Hoffman

Renee Ramsden

John Gosling

More About the Panelists

Charlotte Hoffman is a Clinical Psychologist and Jungian Analyst practicing in Green Point, Cape Town. She has been in private practice for the past twenty-seven years and works extensively with trauma and intergenerational trauma, among other mental health issues. She remains deeply concerned about the intergenerational trauma caused by South Africa’s troubled history of colonialism and Apartheid and the need for South Africans to heal past and present psychological damage, and work towards creating an equal and non-racist society. She is a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) and the Southern African Association of Jungian Analysts (SAAJA), serves on SAAJA’s Media and Executive Committees, and is a Diversity Group participant.

Renee Ramsden has been working in private practice in Cape Town for almost 40 years. She is a founder member of the Southern African Association for Jungian Analysts (SAAJA) and a training analyst. She specializes in dream-analysis and has been teaching alchemy and psychology as presented by C.G. Jung to SAAJA candidates, the wider professional group and interested members of the public for 28 years. She is part of a group of Jungian analysts in dialogue with South African Indigenous Healers since 2016. She is currently serving on SAAJA’s Executive Committee as Vice-President. She is also co-facilitator of SAAJA’s Jung and Film events, and chair of SAAJA’s Media Committee.

Marita de Wet is a Jungian Analyst practicing in Paarl. She started her career in 1980 as a Systems Engineer in IBM and qualified as a Psychologist in 1992. She is currently in private practice in Paarl. She is chair of SAAJA’s Public Programme and Curriculum committees and serves on the Library committee.

Kris Marais was conscripted in the 1970s. An interest in aspects of masculinity took him into the mythopoetic strand of the international men’s movement for a period in the early 2000’s. His research and engagement with military conscription and its consequences in South Africa begun in 2010 is a continuing project. It became evident how ubiquitous unresolved trauma in South Africa is and how inescapable the unconscious intergenerational transfer is. The devastating influence on many lives and insidious damage to the fibre of our society, motivated Kris to search for an avenue of healing and he intuitively turned to soul. He has interviewed, gathered personal stories and read poetry to assist ex conscripts and interested and affected parties to broach an old (socially constructed) silence. Kris has contributed as a volunteer and paid worker to the efforts of several NGO’s dedicated to youth, community and restoration and is active in international sales & marketing. His poetry has been published in various anthologies, for example Africa Ablaze!

Maura Talbot personally experienced the inner war military conscripts bring home. With her husband, Kris Marais, she is a collaborator in the ‘Conscripts’ project, participating in presentations of the poetry and compiling the script and book that is in the making. A university student in South Africa in the 1980s, she was deeply involved in the anti-apartheid student movement and was present for the birth of the ‘End Conscription Campaign’. Maura’s first marriage of more than 20 years was to a Para bat conscript who never spoke about his experiences. She witnessed her sister’s long-term relationship with an ex-conscript with severe PTSD resulting from the war. Maura has collected some stories from women who had relationships with conscripts and is deeply concerned about the inter-generational transfer of trauma from conscripts to their children, families and others they have engaged with.  She writes confessional poetry and is working on a memoir about recovery from her own experience of family dysfunction. She has a Masters’ Degree in Human Geography and 20+ years of professional experience working as a socio-economic and environmental activist, researcher, lecturer and consultant in South Africa.

Matthew Robinson is a documentary filmmaker based in Muizenberg, Cape Town. After graduating from the University of Cape Town with a BCom PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics), he studied film directing at City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts. He now produces nonfiction and promotional content under the banner of his production company, Trevendy Films. Matthew’s interest in developing local stories for the screen led to his introduction to Kris Marais at an ‘Off the Wall’ poetry club evening in Observatory. As a member of a family with several former conscripts, Matthew is aware of the silenced narrative around military conscription during apartheid. He was therefore enthralled by the openness and sincerity with which Kris delved into the latent trauma associated with SADF conscripts. In 2019 Matthew began developing a documentary with Kris around his process, which later became Conscripted Poet.

Tauriq Jenkins, a human rights defender and active member of South Africa’s civil society, works on matters related to Heritage and Environment Protection, Indigenous (San and Khoi) Rights, Anti-Repression and Art Activism. His broad involvement with entities ranges from chairing the A|XARRA Restorative Justice Forum, to convening the C19 People’s Coalition (an umbrella body of over 400 organisations). He convened the Anti-Repression Working Group dealing with state violence, police/military human rights violations, and municipal law enforcement violations. Tauriq is an accredited South African Human Rights Commission section 11 monitor, and High Commissioner of the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council. He founded the Independent Theatre Movement of South Africa and is involved with the Two Rivers Urban Park Association, Observatory Civic Association and Oude Molen Eco Village. He was awarded the International Davis Peace Prize for groundbreaking theatre and rehabilitation work in South African prisons, and received the Mayoral Award for Community Bravery. He holds an MFA from Columbia University, is a Mafeje PhD Scholar at the UCT Centre for African Studies, a San and Khoi Centre researcher, and a member of the UCT Senate.

John Gosling is a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst. After completing his medical and psychiatric training in South Africa, he trained as a Jungian analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute of New York and returned to Cape Town in 2004. He is a past-president of SAAJA and is also a training analyst. He has a special interest in trauma and its impact on the body/psyche. He has trained in EMDR and Flash Technique that facilitates processing of trauma. He is interested in how psychoneurobiology informs the work with trauma. He is also interested in exploring ways of helping children in traumatised communities and spearheads the SAAJA Expressive Sandwork project in Hanover Park.



Booking Information | Advanced Booking Essential

We are in the process of resolving the ticket booking function issue. We ask that you please book your virtual seat by emailing saaja@mweb.co.za.

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Bookings close at 12:00 on Friday, 7 October 2022. The Zoom link will be distributed on Friday, 7 October prior to the event.

In the event of the tickets being sold out or sales closed, a recording of the lecture will be available for purchase. Please send enquiries in this regards to saaja@mweb.co.za

For more information contact SAAJA at (021) 689-6090 or Email saaja@mweb.co.za

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