Social Work
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News and Events

​​​​​​​​SOTL Conference 2018 


Dr Zibonele Zimba and Mrs Priscalia Khosa with Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel (Vice Rector for Teaching and Learning) at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference (SOTL). They were awarded a certificate of​ merit for their abstract on a research-based paper entitled: Using Blended Learning in S​ocial Work Education: An Uncomfortable Shift. 

Best Practice Education ​Supervisor 2018​


Mrs Belinda Mostert who has been with the Department for many years was awarded the certificate for the best supervisor 2018. Two students were awarded the Orton-Howard and Van Enter Krynauw scholarship respectively to complete their Master's degree in 2019.

Best Practice Educator 2018


Ms Annica Potgieter form House Horizon was awarded the certificate for best practice educator 2018. She is also an alumni from the Stellenbosch University.

​Social Work Class of 2018 

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Department of Social Work 4th year students. They came as students and leave as thought leaders. We wish them well!​

Visiting Professor

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Staff of the Department with Prof Charlotte Williams OBE from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies in RMIT University, Australia. ​

Women's month celebration 2018

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Mrs Priscalia Khosa one of the Department staff member attended a Women's Celebratory Event hosted by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University, organized by Prof Solosh Pillay (Vice Dean: Social Impact and Transformation) under the theme “YES I CAN". Amongst the guest speakers on the left picture, was Prof Thuli Madonsela who is the Social Justice Chair in the Law Faculty at Stellenbosch University. Prof Madonsela recently completed her term as South Africa's Public Protector. Another esteemed guest speaker on the right picture, was Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi. She was the Minister of Welfare and Population Development in South Africa's first democratic government and she steer-headed the tabling of the White Paper on Social Welfare (1997) in Parliament; which is the cornerstone policy on welfare services in South Africa. ​

Collaboration function between Social Work Departments: SU, UWC and UCT 

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Department of Social Work Stellenbosch University hosted the first ever collaborative function between the three Social Work Departments in the Western Cape Province (UWC, UCT and SU). Various inter-university academic collaborations may result from this function. A total of 32 combined staff members attended. Here is the picture of the attendees.​

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Prof Robert L. Miller, Director of the US-Africa Partnerships to Build Stronger Communities at the School of Social Welfare,

Albany, New York and a group of students collaborated with the Department​

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On the left: Dr Abena Ampomah from the Department of Social Work, University of Ghana. She is a The PANGeA Early Career Fellow who visited our department.

Visiting Professor

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Prof Melinda Kavanaugh from the Department of Social Work at the University of Winconsin visited us. She collaborated with Dr Ilze Slabbert regarding her research on child caregivers of motor neuron disease (MND) patients.​​

SWSD Conference 2018

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Staff of the Department presented 7 papers (+2 by PhD students) at the International Social Work Education and Social Development Conference in Dublin, Ireland on the​ 4th-7th July 2018.  Here from left: Dr Ilza Slabert; Dr Zibonele Zimba; Dr Marianne Strydom; Professor Lambert Engelbrecht and Mrs Priscalia Khosa. ​

Staff achievements

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Dr Abigail Ornellas, who is a postdoctoral fellow of the Department, was the lead author of an article “Mapping social work across 10 countries: Structure, intervention, identity and challenges", which was recently published in the International Social Work Journal: The article is based on an European Union (EU)-funded International Research Scheme (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES), and is the result of research contributions by 14 established academics from 10 countries.  

Prof Lambert Engelbrecht has been recently awarded a B-rating (Internationally acclaimed researcher) by the National Research Foundation (NRF). This rating by the NRF serves as benchmarking of South African researchers against researchers in the world.  NRF-ratings are allocated based on a researcher's recent research outputs and impact as perceived by international peer reviewers. Prof Engelbrecht is the first and only full-time Social Work academic in South Africa to achieve a B rating.​

Practice Education Portfolio Preparations

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Most of our students are preparing and submitting their portfolios for the first semester for the academic year 2018. Here are some of the second year Social Work students working on their portfolios. 

Staff Colloquium 


As part of the centenary commemoration of the university, the Department of Social Work had a staff colloquiu​m with the Centre for Student Counselling and Development (CSCD). The presentations of the colloquium focused on services and resources available for students and staff at the Centre and reflected on how academic staff members can identify, support and refer students on issues related to Equality, Psychotherapeutic and Support Services, Graduand Career Services, Disability and Academic Counselling and Development. 

Visit from Professor Adrian Van Breda 

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Prof Adrian Van Breda recently visited our Department. He is the president of the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions (ASASWEI) and Professor at Johannesburg University. 

Departmental Staff and Practice Education Supervisors​


Third year practice education supervisors and departmental staff having coffee with little Noah in the arms of his grandmother (Mrs Anne-Marie Peyper), a baby of one of the third year supervisors (Mrs Inge-Marie Veldsman).

First Year Practice Education Group Supervision 

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The first year students had their first group supervision session. Here is practice education supervisor Ms Nomonde Shozi with her group.

World Social Work day


The department celebrated World Social Work Day with a lecture presented by Dr Abigail Ornellas entitled 'These clothes don't fit us anymore!' – Expanding Your Idea of Social Work.                 


“The theme of World Social Work Day is promoting community and environment sustainability – these are big topics that social workers can at times shy away from, or limit themselves to certain areas with the belief that this is as far as their impact or reach can go," said Ornellas, who has just completed her doctoral degree in Social Work at Stellenbosch University (SU). (Read her full story click: ​

Practice education in action


The first individual supervision session of a first year student Jeaniedean Eloff by practice education supervisor Ms Emari Ho​ffman.

Visiting professors from Howard University, Washington DC

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Some staff of the Department with visiting professors Cudore Snell and Tamarah Moss from the Department of Social Work, Howard University, Washington DC.

Prof Lambert Engelbrecht is a guest co-editor of a themed issue of the European Journal of Social Work


Prof Lambert Engelbrecht, Chair of the Department, was a guest co-editor of a themed issue of the European Journal of Social Work together with Prof Trish Hafford-Letchfield of the Department of Mental Health and Social Work, Middlesex University, London. Prof Hafford-Letchfield  is also a research fellow of the Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University. The themed issue was on Contemporary practices in social work supervision: Time for new paradigms? (European Journal of Social Work, 2018, 21[3]:329-332).

See the journal on:

Dr Marianne Strydom is a guest co-editor of a special issue of  Child Abuse Review

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Dr Marianne Strydom, senior lecturer at the Department, was a guest co-editor of a special issue of Child Abuse Review  together with Dr Louise Brown of the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK, and Dr Jie Lei, School of Sociology and Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, China. The special issue was on Comparing International Approaches to Safeguarding Children (Child Abuse Review, 2017, 26[4]: 247-251).  

See the journal on:

Social Work First Year Students' Declaration


Social Work first year students' declaration to recognise the uniqueness of each client; maintain a professional relationship with clients; acknowledge the right of self-determination of clients and respect clients' right to confidentiality.​

Departmental Centenary Commemoration of the University ​


Some staff of the Department celebrating the centenary commemoration of the University.

SU Open Day


Stellenbosch University open day. Proud future social workers of the Department of Social Work!


Social Work Colloquium delivered by Prof​essor ​Eileen Munro


Professor Eileen Munro participated at a colloquium of the Department of Social Work, which was part of the Department’s centenary commemoration of the University. She delivered a talk on child protection in the United Kingdom, a talk in which she shared her thoughts on the role of social work in child protection and how social workers can develop their skills in the field. During her talk Professor Munro discussed child abuse and neglect, how child protection services fit into wider cultural relationships between children, parents, community and the State, and on how to develop expertise in social work. For a full article on the colloquium click the link:

Social Work Students' Welcoming Evening


The department welcomed all social work students in the academic year of 2018. The departmental chair (Professor Lambert Engelbrecht) encouraged every student to play their part in commemorating the centenary of the University. South African social work students shared dance moves with exchange students from Taiwan and Germany.












Social Work First Year Class


Social Work first year students started their first social work class with Professor Lambert Engelbrecht (middle centre). The first years of 2018 start their four years of study in the centenary commemoration year of Stellenbosch University.  Best wishes to the future thought leaders!


Postgraduate intake of 2018


Masters' and Doctoral students' intake for 2018 successfully finished their postgraduate research workshop and started their research journey in different parts of the country and across the continent. The workshop was held in the Erika Theron Reading Room. Interesting - see the photo of Prof Erika Theron looking over the students (in the right corner). She was the first Chair of the Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University in 1957. The legacy of cultivating thought leaders continue!


Prof Lambert Engelbrecht has been awarded the Stals Prize


Prof Lambert Engelbrecht, Chair of the Department of Social Work, has been awarded the Stals prize by the South African Academy of Science and Arts. This prize has been awarded annually since 1947 in recognition of significant scientific publications. Prof Engelbrecht is only the third scholar within the social work discipline to receive the Prize. Prof Sulina Green was a previous recipient of the award.

Visiting Professor from St Petersburg State University, Russia


Prof Irina Pervova from the Department of Theory and Practice of Social Work, St Petersburg State University in Russia spent four weeks at the Department, working on a joint research project on “Neoliberal influences on social policy dynamics and development of national welfare state systems in developing countries (Russian Federation, RSA and India)." Prof Lambert Engelbrecht and Dr Marianne Strydom of the Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University, have both been appointed as research fellows of St Petersburg State University for the duration of the project.​


Scholarship donation


Dr Dianne Orton and Mr Gordon Howard donated a postgraduate scholarship to a deserving Masters student. Dr Orton is a retired clinical assistant Professor of the School of Social Work, University of Missouri. She is also an alumnus of the Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University and graduated with a PhD topic on “The use of visual imagery and reflective writing as a measure of social work students' capstone experience."  The first recipient of this scholarship is Ms Netsayi Mwoyounazvo.  



PhD conferred upon Dr Zibonele Zimba


A PhD degree was conferred on 12 May 2017 upon Dr Zibonele Zimba at Fort Hare University. The title of his thesis is: “The impact of Family Preservation services on Families in South Africa: A case study of Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province."  Dr Zimba has been lecturing at the Department since 2016.

Graduation on March 2017



At the March graduation ceremony of the University, seven Master's students graduated. Five students passed their degrees Cum Laude. A PhD degree was also conferred upon Dr Lorien Parker. The title of her thesis is: “Essential professional competencies of social work supervisors in a non-profit welfare organisation". Prof Lambert Engelbrecht was the promotor.


Postgraduate intake of 2017


 A postgraduate research workshop was attended by 33 Master's and Doctoral students in January. Students hail from all over South Africa and Africa. Applications for the 2018 intake start in April 2017 and close at the end of August.