Mmaphuti Dipela (University of South Africa)

(South Africa)

Topic: The need for Afrocentric model/methods of intervention in social work

Language: English 


Social case work is one of three primary social work methods that are used for intervention in social work. It has been noted that for social case work to be effective, it needs to be culturally sensitive and be relatable to clients and their problems especially in an African context, thus taking into consideration the experiences, traditions, cultures, race, and ethnicity of African people. Mostly, many countries structurers social work intervention models and methods as guided by their own cultures, conditions, behaviors, and experiences.

In South African context social work teaching and practices are based on Eurocentric approaches and models which result in them not fully aligning with the experiences and needs of clients. The above misalignment results in social work services that does not respond to the needs and challenges of African clients thus being culturally insensitive. Moreover, in an African context most clients believe in ancestors and hold a believe that some of the problems may be as result of punishment from the ancestors as a result, current models of intervention should acknowledge such realities.

Current theories, models, and Casework method, especially in the United States of America, has embraced Freudian psychoanalytic theory, which provides an explanation for many dimensions of human behavior which are acceptable and relatable paradigms and approaches in western circles, however, do not provide an adequate understanding of African people. The author conducted desktop research aided by focus mapping review and synthesis method (FMRS) and realized that the universal view of black behaviors is based on the Eurocentric conception of the definition of reality. The aim of this paper is to present and acknowledge the need for Afrocentric social casework method in assisting African clients.