The Southern African Association of Jungian Analysts (SAAJA) began with the vision of Dr. Vera Buhrman in the mid 1980’s. Her journey to understand the conflicting opposites in South African society during the dark years under the Apartheid regime led her to Jung, and eventually to the formation of SAAJA. A graduate of the medical school at Cape Town University in 1935, she devoted herself to child welfare services, where she became a pioneer in South Africa in promoting structures that specifically addressed mother/child relationship issues. She went to London in the 1950's to train both as a child psychotherapist in the Public Health Services, and as a Jungian Analyst with Michael Fordham's group. She returned to South Africa and was able to realize her vision of establishing a training centre for Jungian analysts in Cape Town, the first of its kind in Africa.
Her immersion in the complexities of South African culture led her to undertake extensive transcultural research in !Xhosa traditional healing methods during the 1970's and l980's. This resulted in over twenty publications and her seminal book "Living in Two Worlds" published in 1984 (Human and Rousseau, Cape Town).
The training of the first group of candidates under, at times, very challenging conditions culminated in 1992 with eight candidates graduating as members of the International Association of Jungian Analysts (IAAP) in Chicago. At the IAAP conference in Zurich in 1995, SAAJA was granted the status of a training institute. SAAJA currently has thirty two members and runs a four-year training programme.