Feminist Community Psychology and the Advancement of Women in South Africa





decolonial feminist psychology, hope, embroideries, coloniality, social justice


In this presentation, I offer a brief personal reflection of my entry and introduction to psychology. I start from positionsing myself to highlight how we do not come into institutions of higher learning and our disciplines as empty vessels but with histories that shape how we view the world. Drawing from social justice scholars and my earlier work, I point to how psychology needs to shift from locating ‘problems’ within individuals but instead acknowledge the structural imbalances that contribute to individual and collective dis-eases facing society. I go on to call for a decolonial feminist psychology that acknowledges the multiple oppressions faced by people in many formely colonised nations such as South Africa, with a particular focus on women. I further show how visual methodologies such as embroideries offer the potential for epistemic justice and decolonial possibilities by centering community members as co-constrctors of knowledge. I conclude by highlighting how hope carries the potential for psychological healing.   

Author Biography

Puleng Segalo, University of South Africa

Puleng Segalo is a Fulbright Scholar and a Professor of Psychology currently holding the position of the Chief Albert Luthuli Research Chair at the University of South Africa. Her areas of specialization include community and social psychology, histocial trauma, and gender and feminism in psychology. Her research work analyzes South African women's narratives of survival and resistance pre, during, and post apartheid, contrasting testimonies offered by women to the truth and reconciliation commission, narratives spoken in interviews and focus groups, and embroidered stories that women stitch onto fabric to tell another tale of survival and resistance.

Her scholarship focuses on the post-apartheid struggles that women engage in - in freeing themselves now from the shackles of patriarchy. In addition to being a rated scholar by the South African National Research Foundation, Professor Segalo has won several performance awards at institutional, national and international levels. She has dedicated her work toward the advancement of women in South Africa at the level of economics, education, and also their deep psychological sense of purpose and community.




How to Cite

Segalo, P. (2023). Feminist Community Psychology and the Advancement of Women in South Africa. International Review of Theoretical Psychologies, 2(1), 36–45. https://doi.org/10.7146/irtp.v2i1.142789