Decolonising the Curriculum that Underpins Social Work Education in South Africa




Afrocentric social work, coloniality, decolonisation, decoloniality, epistemology, pedagogy


The current social work knowledge that is characterised by colonial domination in South Africa demands new visions. These visions should be aimed at producing an epistemic revolution that would see the re-emergence of previously silenced knowledges. The continued Eurocentric hegemony reflected in the content and form of the social work curriculum and pedagogical practices creates an epistemic scandal that requires decolonial intervention and redress. Following an examination of the decolonisation discourse from textual archives on coloniality, decoloniality, social work and its history, several tenets and principles were identified to guide the process of decolonising social work education in South Africa. These include focusing the curriculum and pedagogy of social work on the African world view (Afrocentric social work), adopting cultural relativity as an approach in social work education, and promoting dialogue between diverse cultural orientations and knowledges found in South Africa, including Western knowledge without harmonising the knowledges and/or creating a hierarchy.


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How to Cite

Mathebane, Mbazima Simeon, and Johanna Sekudu. 2018. “Decolonising the Curriculum That Underpins Social Work Education in South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 30 (1):19 pages.
Received 2017-03-27
Accepted 2017-12-01
Published 2018-07-30