Boas Mabiza and the long walk to freedom : the diary of an abused and neglected boy as a 'potential space' - implications for therapeutic practice

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Tina Sideris


Psycho-analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa, Volume 12, p.72-86 (2004)



This article discusses the use a South African abused boy makes of his diary as a 'potential space', in Winnicott's terms. His entries negotiate fantasy and reality, life history and political context. Extracts from other texts punctuate his diary. Notes on the life of Mr. Mandela from the Long Walk to Freedom represent his suffering. A poem 'I Feel' expresses his pain, and discourses of freedom and rights communicate his anticipation. That he has access to these discourses makes the historical contingency of the 'potential space' significant. This raises ethical questions about practice in the 'potential space'.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.