The trauma and beyond trauma of political displacement: An exploratory case study of one white Zimbabwean farmer

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The world is witnessing a mass movement of between 15 to 20 million displaced persons and refugees. This speaks to the global political instability of many nations. Zimbabwe is one of those nations, with its lack of democratic principles and freedoms as well as gross human rights abuses. It is within this context that many Zimbabweans have been politically displaced. Three phases of displacement have been identified in the literature but these lack a psychological developmental process. Not much has been documented regarding the experience of displaced persons in Zimbabwe, especially of individuals of European descent. The focus of this article is to describe and understand the experience of one white Zimbabwean farmer in the aftermath of being politically displaced. To this end, an attempt is made to describe the psychological developmental process of the experience of displacement. A phenomenological - interpretative approach was adopted, with qualitative methods of data collection and data analysis used. An in-depth investigation of a single case study was selected. The notion of psychological growth in the aftermath of trauma is often overlooked, and this participant displayed a remarkable ability for self-determination and personal growth. Conclusions reached are a) it is possible to experience psychological growth in the aftermath of the trauma of political displacement, and b) this case points to the possible mapping out of a psychological developmental process of displacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-56
Number of pages24
JournalAustralasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aftermath
  • Displacement
  • Farmers
  • Political
  • Psychologica
  • Trauma
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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