The History of LifeLine South Africa

Historically LifeLine started in 1963 in Australia as an extension of the pastoral work of a Methodist Minister. The vision was that a telephone network will be like a mantle of care covering the whole city. The Association was brought to Cape Town, South Africa in 1968 and developed a proud network of telephone counselling centres and other services offering support to those experiencing emotional distress.

LifeLine South Africa was a service organisation, responding to emotional trauma and individual crises, with a view to providing emotional support. Our range of services focused on supporting and/or developing individuals, enabling them to cope more effectively with the emotional effects of trauma. These services were primarily counselling and personal growth training and development. A diverse range of projects have been initiated and are run by our centres around the region.

As much as these services are still required in communities all around South Africa, we can bring about far more sustainable, effective societal change through a more engaging, proactive approach that focuses on groups of people rather than individuals.

Hence the transformation of the organisation, as reflected in the newly defined vision and mission. Fulfilling this purpose requires an innovative, passionate, diverse group of people with integrity, commitment and a desire to bring about social change.

Ubuntu is a traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation with the world. According to Ubuntu, there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities. Or as the Zulus would say, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu”, which means that a person is a person through other persons. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others.

The emotional well person can cope with life’s occurrences in an appropriate way, and by being able to maintain emotional balance, function within diverse cultural societies and live a fully engaged life whilst maintaining meaningful connections with all other beings and the world at large.

  • The adult who can cope in a non- destructive manner with their inevitable fear, anger and sadness in the situations of today displays emotional wellness.
  • To be emotionally well is to be able to accept and be aware of a wide range of feelings that are evident in oneself, humanity and non- human nature.
  • Emotional well-being can involve appropriately discharged expressions of fear, anxiety, anger, resentment and/or sadness.