oa Journal of Psychology in Africa - The role of mental health NGOs in South Africa: before; during and after political transition

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1433-0237



The role played by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in South Africa is dedicated by the prevailing socio-political conditions which inform the funding policies of donar agencies. NGOs have played a significant role in contributing to the transformation of South Africa to a democratic dispensation, particularly during the 1980s when resistance against the repressive apartheid government increased dramatically. With the dawn of a new era and the move towards a democratic government, many NGOs are being forced to question their role in the post-apartheid South Africa and more specifically their role in relationship to the state. This paper is a response to the growing need for new directives and formulations for NGOs with a specific focus on mental health NGOs. The first part of the paper defines NGOs and provides a contextual framework for understanding the role played by NGOs. The second part examines the role played by mental health NGOs in South Africa before, during and after political transition. Finally, given the current crisis facing mental health care in South Africa and the likely trajectory for the future, new directives and formulations for mental health NGOs are suggested.

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