Prof Tholene Sodi

President: Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA)

Dear PsySSA Member

It is now about twelve months since I have been at the helm as President of the Psychological Society of South Africa. As I write this last issue of the President’s Corner, I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. Anyway, let me take this opportunity to share with you three important developments that have unfolded in the last few months:

First, I wish to report that that the leadership of PsySSA, more specifically Exco and the Past Presidents Forum (as an advisory body to the Society), held a Leadership Brainstorming Workshop on 20-21 July 2018 in Sandton, Johannesburg. The purpose of the workshop was to deal with some immediate/short-term matters that the Presidency felt needed attention as these had the potential to hinder a future strategic planning process that was due to be started.  The brainstorming session was conceived of as an inward-looking intervention with the following objectives:

  • To deal with immediate, pressing matters to pave the way for the development of a new strategy in the foreseeable future.
  • To consolidate internal priorities, so as to ground the emergence of the new strategy.
  • To begin identifying mid-term strategic priorities to bridge from the current to the future strategic plan.
  • To reach agreement on the next steps for the planning of the new strategy for the short- or medium-term (potentially a ‘Vision 2020).

It is my pleasure to inform you that the workshop resulted in an agreement on the next steps for the planning of a new strategy. In this regard, we agreed to pursue a short- to medium-term strategy known as Vision 2020. The details of this strategy will be shared with the membership shortly.

Second, the Society successfully organised and hosted a ICD-10 Coding Information Session at the Emthonjeni Auditorium Centre, University of Witwatersrand on the 30 July 2018. This informative session was well attended by professional psychologists.

Third, the Society is pleased to announce the successful provincial launch of the PsySSA LGBTI guidelines in KwaZulu Natal. The launch took place on 22 August 2018 at the University of Kwazulu Natal (Howard College).

Let me now turn to the Congress which is our annual event. The arrangements for the upcoming Congress on 12 to 14 September 2018 are at a very advanced stage. As you may be aware, this year’s Congress theme is Mamela Psychology which is a seSotho/seTswana word for listen. We consciously chose this term for the Congress to emphasise the need for psychology to listen with humility and act with integrity. The Congress aims to provide a platform for academics, researchers, practitioners and other experts to exchange ideas in the field of Psychology. I believe that the Congress will be a good opportunity to reconnect with old friends and to meet new ones. Also importantly, there will be 20 CEU points (i.e. 13 General and 7 Ethics points) for those who will be attending the Congress. In addition, there will be a number of exciting Pre-Congress Workshops. Prof Anthony Pillay’s workshop entitled “Forensic Psychology in Criminal Law”, will have 3 Ethics points whilst all the other Pre-Congress workshops will each have 3 CEU points.

This year’s Simphiwe Ngcobo Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Judge Edwin Cameron, one of the well-known judges of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. His presentation is entitled “Justice and Psychology: Conjunction at a time of peril”. There are also two roundtable discussions that I encourage you to attend. The first one entitled “Advancing public mental health care in South Africa”, will be chaired by Mr Daniel den Hollander – the chairperson of our Psychology in Public Service Division. The second roundtable, to be chaired by Garth Stevens (Professor in Department of Psychology, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand) is entitled “Who Has Time For African Psychology,…?”.

The PsySSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Wednesday 12 September 2018. I encourage you to attend this very important event during which a new President-Elect of our Society is elected. It is also during the AGM that we give awards to those special individuals and groups that have demonstrated commitment and excellence in each category of psychological work they undertake as part of their everyday lives. The following awards were invited for nomination this year:

  • Award for Science;
  • Award for Practice;
  • Award for Public Service;
  • Award for Fellowship;
  • Award for Mentoring and Development;
  • Award for World of Work;
  • Award for Community Service; and,
  • Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence and / or Graduate Teaching Excellence

We will also be giving two awards for our Divisions. These are: the Most Active Division, and the Most Improved Division.

Since this is my last piece, I wish to say thank you for allowing me to be of service to you. It was indeed a great honour and privilege for me to be your President. The next issue of the President’s Corner will be written by the new President, Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige. I wish her and the incoming Executive all the best.

Ke a leboga

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