"Do not Worry Your Head": The Impossibility of Indigenising Social Work Education and Practice in Africa


  • Kwaku Osei-Hwedie Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Accra
  • Doris Akyere Boateng Department of Social Work, University of Ghana, Legon http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7939-6164




indigenisation, social work in Africa, culture, culturally relevant


As the discussions and debates rage on about the content and direction of social work in Africa, the challenges associated with weaning the profession off its Western and North American roots become apparent. The desire to indigenise or make the profession culturally relevant is well articulated in the literature. Some efforts have been undertaken toward achieving this desire. However, it is evident that despite the numerous discussions and publications, it appears that efforts at indigenising, localising, or making social work culturally relevant have not made much progress. While what must be achieved is somewhat clear; how to achieve it and by what process remain a conundrum. The article, therefore, revisits the issue of making social work culturally relevant in Africa and its associated challenges. Despite the indictment of current social work education and practice in Africa, it appears that many academics and professionals have accepted that what is Western is global, fashionable, and functional, if not perfect. Given this, perhaps, “we should not worry our heads†about changing it. Instead, social work educators and practitioners in Africa should go back to the drawing board to determine how current social work education and practice can be blended with a traditional African knowledge base, approaches and models to reflect and align with the critical principles and ideals within the African context. This is with the hope of making the profession more relevant to the needs of the people of Africa.


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How to Cite

Osei-Hwedie, Kwaku, and Doris Akyere Boateng. 2018. “‘Do Not Worry Your Head’: The Impossibility of Indigenising Social Work Education and Practice in Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 30 (3):12 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2415-5829/3978.



Received 2018-02-22
Accepted 2018-05-24
Published 2018-10-15