South Africa: The Social Work Sector Speaks Out - a Radical Response Is Urgently Needed

analysis

The idea of a Social Work Action Network (SWAN) evolved recently when some in social work questioned the sector's silence in the face of the Covid-19 crisis in South Africa. It was felt that there was a need for leadership and for a voice, both of which have largely been absent.

Aware of the critical and radical social work movement, SWAN-International, three practitioners and academics initiated a SWAN-SA WhatsApp group on 8 May, inviting people from the social work sector to join. Within a few hours, about 120 social work practitioners, students, and academics had joined.

On 18 May, we held a live webinar with about 80 participants, where the consensus was that there is a need for a radical/critical movement in the social work sector. We do not accept the status quo, we challenge structural causes of social problems and, being committed to social justice, we need to speak out against ongoing oppression, racism, exploitation and dehumanisation of South Africans. Instead of pathologising victims of these problems, we blame the system that creates these conditions. We therefore recognise the need to collaborate and campaign with other social movements such as the C19 People's Coalition, the Food Sovereignty Campaign and...

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