Therapeutic communities have an important role in adult psychiatric care. Such a hospital unit is described within a Black psychiatric hospital in South Africa. However, owing to apartheid very few Black clinical psychologists have been trained. Translators frequently have to be used in the therapeutic context, which is an unorthodox approach. Nevertheless, various therapeutic groups are conducted. Demographic and clinical data for a 3 year period are presented, showing most of the patients to be male, unmarried and around 30 years of age. Schizophrenic conditions were the most common diagnoses, with problems of self-care and low self-esteem predominating. Although a readmission rate of 22.1% was noted the lack of adequate control measures in this study must be taken into consideration.