Hélène Opperman Lewis, MSc (Psych) is a licensed Counselling Psychologist in private practice in Cape Town and Swellendam. In 2001 she enrolled for a doctorate at the University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The intended thesis was titled: ‘The Development of a Social Conscience amongst Afrikaners’.
While doing research into Kohlberg and Gilligan’s theories of moral reasoning, she discovered the field of psycho-history. She connected with the Psychohistory Association in New York and Lloyd DeMause invited her to attend the annual IPA convention in 2001. She then completed a course in psychogenics. By now she had come to realise there was much more to moral reasoning than engaging in a narrow theoretical spat with the subject; a decision was taken to abandon her formal studies and rather research the 300-year history of the Afrikaners within a psychohistorical framework. Only this, she felt, would enlighten her initial question of ‘social conscience’. And so indeed it has. Encouraged by Psycho-analyst/Clinical Psychologist and Psychohistorian Dr David Lotto, the decision to write a book fol-lowed. The urgency to share with fellow South Africans that, which is truly relevant, became paramount: the disastrous historical consequences of humiliation and loss followed by trans-generational trauma, and how it played out in South Africa’s history.
This research took 15 years to complete. This book Apartheid – Britain’s Bastard Child completes this journey.
In 2001 Hélène wrote an article, ‘Racism as projection: how early childhood can help it take root’ published in the Rhodes Journalism Review. She presented a piece on the Anglo-Boer War as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (TRC), at the annual IPA convention in 2002 in New York. She is also a member of the International Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (Human DHS). In April 2013 she convened the annual DHS conference in Stellenbosch. In June 2015, she presented a paper on Humiliation & Trauma at the DHS convention in Rwanda.