A well known South African Professor of Social Work has been honoured in the South African awards for Distinguished Women in the Social Sciences and Humanities.
Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul was the first runner-up in the awards announced in August 2013. She is senior professor in the college of humanities, school of applied human sciences (in social work) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Vishanthie Sewpaul has held many national and international roles. She was elected the first President of the National Association of Social Workers – South Africa in 2007 and again in 2009. She is vice-president of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), president of the Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa and the former -president of the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions.
She chaired the IASSW committee responsible for producing the global standards for social work education and training, working closely with the IFSW lead David N Jones. These IASSW/IFSW standards, which were translated into several languages and published in three international journals, are used globally to benchmark social work educational standards internationally.
Vishanthie currently chairs the international social work definition committee of IASSW, working closely with IFSW lead Rory Truell.
Vishanthie has served in several positions on the cutting edge of social work education and practice in post-apartheid South Africa. Throughout her teaching career, Vishanthie maintained active practice links in several areas. An HIV project that she managed was regarded as a best practice model and was filmed and screened on national television.
A community-based, participatory project on children and youth living on the streets of Durban culminated in the production of a film used for schools-based education to prevent children from migrating to the streets. Some of these young people addressed the IASSW world conference in Durban in 2008, in one of the most powerful presentations of the whole conference.
‘IFSW is pleased to recognise and endorse this honour for one of the world’s leading social workers’, said IFSW Secretary General Rory Truell.
The winner of the award was Professor Kholeka Constance Moloi, professor of education in the faculty of human sciences at the Vaal University of Technology, where she is responsible for the establishment of a new department of education for teacher training.
Read about all those honoured in the Mail and Guardian.