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Using African ubuntu theory in social work with children in Zimbabwe

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Using indigenous knowledge systems such as Ubuntu in social work with children empowers them, their families, communities and

    workers. Yet, the potential of using frames that draw on indigenous ways of knowing, in children’s work, remain unrealised since

    social workers prefer Western models and theories. Ubuntu inspired models of social work view children from family, community,

    environmental and spiritual perspectives. In contrast, Western models are inspired by individualitic values, governmental policies

    and professional viewpoints. However, as will be shown in this article, foreign models have failed to live up to expectations because

    they tend to disempower and diminish the strengths of everyone involved in case situations. For example, the social worker has to

    administer a model that they are not fully familiar with or which contradicts their own values. The family is forced to adopt values

    that they do not know let alone believe in. The community becomes powerless in the process. This article discusses the use of

    Ubuntu theory in social work with children in Africa. The discussion includes five frameworks of Ubuntu: the orature, scholarly,

    liberation, practice and integrated. The Ubuntu inspired Zera model of child growth and development was used to aid the

    discussion. We conclude that, given social work’s emphasis on using strengths perspectives, i.e., those broader frames that

    deliberately look for and build on the strengths of clients and client systems, social work practice with children in Africa should

    engage with Ubuntu, as a matter of principle..

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Mugumbate, J. & Chereni, A. (2019). Using African ubuntu theory in social work with children in Zimbabwe. African Journal of Social Work, 9 (1), 27-34.

Number Of Pages


  • 7

Start Page


  • 27

End Page


  • 34

Volume


  • 9

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • Zimbabwe

Abstract


  • Using indigenous knowledge systems such as Ubuntu in social work with children empowers them, their families, communities and

    workers. Yet, the potential of using frames that draw on indigenous ways of knowing, in children’s work, remain unrealised since

    social workers prefer Western models and theories. Ubuntu inspired models of social work view children from family, community,

    environmental and spiritual perspectives. In contrast, Western models are inspired by individualitic values, governmental policies

    and professional viewpoints. However, as will be shown in this article, foreign models have failed to live up to expectations because

    they tend to disempower and diminish the strengths of everyone involved in case situations. For example, the social worker has to

    administer a model that they are not fully familiar with or which contradicts their own values. The family is forced to adopt values

    that they do not know let alone believe in. The community becomes powerless in the process. This article discusses the use of

    Ubuntu theory in social work with children in Africa. The discussion includes five frameworks of Ubuntu: the orature, scholarly,

    liberation, practice and integrated. The Ubuntu inspired Zera model of child growth and development was used to aid the

    discussion. We conclude that, given social work’s emphasis on using strengths perspectives, i.e., those broader frames that

    deliberately look for and build on the strengths of clients and client systems, social work practice with children in Africa should

    engage with Ubuntu, as a matter of principle..

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Mugumbate, J. & Chereni, A. (2019). Using African ubuntu theory in social work with children in Zimbabwe. African Journal of Social Work, 9 (1), 27-34.

Number Of Pages


  • 7

Start Page


  • 27

End Page


  • 34

Volume


  • 9

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • Zimbabwe