About the project
The identity of our nation…
… is embedded in our historical journey. Similarly, as individuals we find the roots of our identity in our personal histories. Psychology in South Africa has developed an identity through the systematic building of theories, models, insights, experiences and research over many decades. To ignore our past as psychologists would be to ignore the evolution of our professional identity.
The inspiration behind this website and book lies in the realisation that a generation of well-respected psychologists played a significant role in establishing psychology as a science in Southern Africa. Their stories are unique and richly textured – something to be appreciated and treasured by future generations.
In 2010, JvR Psychometrics began filming conversations with prominent psychologists over the age of 70. Their stories cover a wide range of topics, such as their reasons for choosing Psychology as a career, national and international influences on their work, or how they had to seek practical solutions to complex problems. The need to innovate, do research, and ensure academic excellence, are themes often heard in their stories. Tests and apparatus used in the early years of psychological assessment also form a consistent theme in these stories.
We were able to track down and photograph some of the tests, tools and apparatus that were developed and used by psychologists in the early days. In the Histories book, we share the photographic journey of assessments through time with you.
The information in the book goes hand-in-hand with this website, where you will find the collection of video interviews with the well-known, albeit older psychologists.
Our Histories Project is on-going and specifically designed to add richness to understanding our psychological roots. The book is intended as the first in a series of presentations on the history of psychology in South Africa and we will continuously be adding more interviews to our histories website.
We hope you find this website and the video interviews as interesting and enjoyable as we found the making thereof.
Dr. Jopie de Beer