Love letter from the Chair, November 2020

Oct 11, 2020
Love letter from the chair February 2021
Feb 9, 2021

Love letter from the Chair, November 2020


Journey towards an
African Relational Summit

Last month I announced that, after much deliberation, the Conference Planning Committee decided to postpone the 2021 International  Conference and plan a smaller, mostly local African Relationship Summit (Khanyi Thwala’s suggestion), on 1-3 October 2021 instead. At this stage, the planned theme is “Exploring Human Connectedness – an African Perspective.”

This month we are giving you a bit more background about the whole Conference Journey, as we would love your help, questions, participation, and input going forward.

Imago Africa has long been wanting to host the Imago International conference. Over the years we have made numerous requests, but every time something got in the way of it happening.

In an attempt to give Imago Africa a presence and a voice so that our requests could be heard, Johanri Engelbrecht joined the International Conference Planning Circle in 2018. Last year both Imago Africa and Imago South Korea expressed interest in hosting the 2021 international conference. South Korea very kindly and graciously stepped back,  supported our bid and we were successful. We were over the moon! Finally, Imago Worldwide would experience our vibrant community and exquisite country!

We jumped in right away and started organizing – got the venue (Lord Charles in Somerset West), lined up the keynote speakers (Stephen Porges and Sue Carter, as well as Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt), worked out different conference fees – from Best Kept Secret to Last-Minute registrations, etc. We were on a roll, especially since we had learnt many invaluable lessons at the conference in Vienna last year.

And. Then. Covid-19. Happened.

The whole world was turned upside down. Hugging, such an essential part of human connecting, and such an integral part of the Imago Community fabric suddenly became a potentially life-threatening gesture. The world experienced (and continues to experience) collective grief. Covid-19 changed the texture of what we knew in the most fundamental way.
Imago, though, doesn’t let a virus stand in the way of connecting. Imago Relationships North America changed its planned 2020 conference in Nashville into a Virtual Conference.

The virtual conference did as good a job as is possible through technology – the 2020 conference planning committee did magnificently, especially at such short notice! Thank heavens for technology, otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to learn, have fun, meet with old and new friends. Alongside these, there were many challenges. Once again, we learned invaluable lessons.

The reality became clear – Virtual just cannot fully replace Face to Face. It offers many other benefits, but nothing matches in-person connecting. This became the final motivation not to do a virtual conference.

There is a possibility that Imago Relationship North America (IRNA) could host their conference in Nashville in 2021 and not lose their substantial deposit. South Korea is hosting the International  Conference in 2022, and we are hoping that we would be able to host a proper face to face International  Conference in 2023.

Winston Churchill is said to have remarked, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.

In hosting a mostly local face to face African Relational Summit in 2021 a wonderful new horizon has opened up. Our vision is to use the time to transform this “good Covid-19 crisis” into healing and growth in our community, our country, and ultimately the world.

In order for this transformation to happen our deepest aspirations are:

  • to build our community and create a momentum of curiosity and interest in what we do, and what we do differently
  • to work within our own community around relational and racial healing and develop processes that could impact collective healing for our country
  • to build our own community processes and projects instead of adopting Western and European-centric methodology as an appropriate relational paradigm for Africa
  • to look at what is already being done in Africa on a relational level, create our own processes, coin our own terms and produce journal articles and academic research in line with our uniquely African flavor
  • to strengthen our ties with North West University and Optentia, and to provide a forum for current Ph.D. students to present their research
  • to host regular webinars and local conferences to grow our brand, build our community, and create hype.

Our planning for the Summit includes finding a new venue, as our original venue The Lord Charles has closed its doors. Even though the original venue was in the Cape, we are open to venues in other provinces as well.  We were thinking of between 250 and 350 delegates (although current COVID-19 rules restrict this to 250).

Below please find the link to a quick survey monkey about the Summit. This survey is to include the community in our decision making with regards to a new venue.

Click here for Monkey survey 

We would love more members to further participate in and join this planning task group.  Contact Carol ( or myself ( if you would like to answer this call.  As always, we hold the balance of attention between work and play!

Together we shall reach the African Relational Summit!

October and November News

14 October 2020

Elaine Fourie presented on “The Alchemy of the heart: what happens in the space between at the KZN Diggers October Chapter Meeting.

15 – 18 October 2020

Carol Dixon, Johanri Engelbrecht, and I attended the IRNA (Imago Relationships North America) online conference. This experience confirmed for us that a virtual Imago conference – no matter how well organized and run – can never replace a face to face one! We shall be giving some feedback about it at the next chapter, so please attend!

16 October 2020

On 16 October, the Gauteng Chapter made history by being the first Face to Face meeting after the strict lockdown. There were altogether ten participants.  Missing each other and longing for connection, the group used a containment circle to connect and share.  A hearty thank you to Kobus for generously sharing his venue for the occasion.

29 October 2020

Once again Imago Africa hosts presenter Marilet Kotze for a Part 2 Webinar. Theme: Everybody likes Vanilla – Normal Sexual Function and Dysfunction.  Despite fewer attendees at this webinar, it was a huge success. Marilet has done a brilliant job of integrating Sex Therapy and Imago in a seamless way.

11 November 2020

The KZN Chapter Group (Diggers, who dig for gold in relationships) met for the last official meeting of 2020 on Wednesday 11th November. Since lockdown,  we have been having online meetings which have been well attended, and have worked well. We follow a flexible format where we first receive feedback from Imago Worldwide and from Imago Africa; then we check in with each other; and following a grounding exercise, we have a talk and discussion, and often an experiential exercise, and finally closure. At our November meeting, Michele Naude explained the developmental stages in couples, and the discussion focused on how and why couples have similar childhood wounding. Michele gave examples of phrases that couples use that will indicate the particular stage of wounding which the Imago therapists can use to determine the type and depth of the dialogue to use. We all commented on how interesting and stimulating these meetings are!

We will be having our special end of year lunch outside at a plant nursery this year at the beginning of December.  We have various rituals that have grown over the years. We all elect a charity, and the destination of our donation is chosen by drawing a name from a hat. A special ritual is instead of gifts, we flood each person with a quote or phrase that resonates for them. And finally, Carol and Michele and the other extroverts always bring in an element of fun. Last year Michele brought a bag of funny hats for everyone to wear. We are still deciding what fun to have this year.

The Diggers wish all our Imago colleagues a supportive, caring, and fun ending to this difficult year, and we look forward to building relationships in the new year!  – Cathy Haselau,  Durban. 

Save The Date 

25 November 2020

Group as Expert:  Please join Michele Naude and me for the next opportunity to ask all your burning clinical questions.

27 – 29 November 2020

Imago Africa Board Face to Face Meeting

3 December 2020

Fourth National Online Chapter meeting:

  • Imago Relationships North America (IRNA) Virtual Conference Feedback by Carol, Sonia, and Johanri
  • Sharing our Hero’s Journey from 2020

4 – 6 December 2020 

Face to Face English Getting the Love you Want workshop with Kobus van der Merwe
To register, contact El’Marie @

11 December 2020

Online Group Supervision with Kobus van der Merwe
To register, contact El’Marie @

Much love,

Sonia Kruger
Sonia Kruger
Tel: +27 76 313 7597 Email: