Critical Reflexivity beyond the Classroom: Social Work Students' Perspectives of Communities in Kwazulu-Natal


  • Tanusha Raniga UKZN Howard College
  • Boitumelo Khothatso Seepamore F217 Memorial Tower Building Howard college Campus UKZN Durban



reflexive practice, community work, social justice


Social work students are expected to adopt a critical reflexive approach in dealing with the development challenges facing communities in contemporary South Africa. As an epistemological position that merges postmodernist thinking with the radical humanist goals of structural social work theory, the concept of critical reflexivity is often conflated with critical reflective competencies in the application of learning. Using qualitative methodology, the authors present 74 students’ experiences of profiling communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Three themes emerged from the data distilled through profile reports and interviews: reflexivity and conceptualising community in practice, reflexivity in community profiling, and reflexivity and community needs. The authors conclude that a critically reflexive stance is fundamental for students to adopt in community work practice, and to recognise how their own social and cultural influences contribute to the process of knowledge creation and the promotion of social justice and human rights in communities.


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How to Cite

Raniga, Tanusha, and Boitumelo Khothatso Seepamore. 2017. “Critical Reflexivity Beyond the Classroom: Social Work Students’ Perspectives of Communities in Kwazulu-Natal”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 29 (1):34–48.



Received 2016-11-18
Accepted 2017-03-08
Published 2017-07-17