Retrieving the Voices of Black African Womanists and Feminists for Work Towards Decoloniality in Social Work




African feminisms, Africana womanisms, decoloniality, decolonisation, social work, education


The voices of Black African feminists and womanists are often excluded in debates about decoloniality and racism, despite their important scholarly contributions. In this article, we retrieve some of these voices with respect to research and scholarship about decoloniality generally and in work towards decoloniality in a social work programme specifically. During a previous critical and reflective participatory action research process, findings emerged that identified a number of thematic principles. These principles were deemed valuable for further work to disrupt coloniality and work towards decoloniality. These included positioning Afrika as the centre; analysing power dynamics at all levels; foregrounding race, class, and gender as interlocking forms of oppressions in the South African context; maintaining consciousness of structural issues; developing critical conscientisation; privileging the “voice” of those who are silenced; and embracing ubuntu without arrogating it. In this article, we revisit these emergent principles for work towards decoloniality, to recentre and situate Black African feminist and womanist perspectives more prominently. This is critical since Black African feminist and womanist voices are marginalised and elided while there is a critical imperative that they be brought to bear on these principles. These voices not only develop the work towards disrupting the coloniality of gender and patriarchy, but also provide greater depth and criticality to the set of principles.


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How to Cite

Rasool, Shahana, and Linda Harms-Smith. 2022. “Retrieving the Voices of Black African Womanists and Feminists for Work Towards Decoloniality in Social Work”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (1):30 pages.
Received 2021-01-25
Accepted 2022-04-19
Published 2022-08-10