Decolonising social work fieldwork education in Africa
Bhangyi, Venesio Bwambale
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Social work is widely acknowledged as a practice-based profession and the decolonisation of its fieldwork education element would enhance its practical relevance in many global South countries. In recent years, there has been growing interest and effort to shift social work scholarship in Africa towards an indigenous, decolonial and contextual theory and practice. This chapter therefore engages with this debate by examining the approaches, challenges and prospects of decolonising social work fieldwork education on continental Africa. Using a systematic qualitative literature review epistemology, the chapter starts with a narration of the origins and status of social work and fieldwork education in Africa. The authors draw on the forces driving the decolonisation debate in social work, and the ubuntu principles of learning as the theoretical frames for the discussion. They further articulate the approaches, challenges and prospects of a decolonial social work fieldwork education in Africa. They conclude by drawing implications for social work fieldwork education rooted in the Ubuntu philosophies of community, culture, multiple/shared knowledge and continuous learning.