21 April 2021 | Story Rulanzen Martin and Carel van Wyk | Photo Rulanzen Martin
Tashinga Mandeya, a third-year student hailing from Zimbabwe is optimistic about being an agent of change for her community.

“Connect with what pushed you to study Social Work.” With these words, Ms Langi Malamba, Registrar: South African Council for Social Service Professions, implored the second-year Social Work students at the University of the Free State (UFS) to do some self-introspection. More than seventy 2020 and current second-year students have recently taken their oath. 

The two-part ceremony took place on Wednesday 14 April.  In her remarks, Ms Malamba referred to the theme of Social Work Month, namely Ubuntu: I am because we are. Social Work Month is annually observed in March. “As a Social Work student, you have to apply your studies to always be responsive,” she said. It is also critical to “learn from and observe your community, because as a social worker you have to connect with everything”, Malamba continued. She based her speech largely on the principles of ubuntu and ethics. “Social work also provides grounding,” Ms Malamba concluded. 

Adding to Malamba’s words of encouragement, Prof Heidi Hudson, Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities, said this is an important milestone worth celebrating. Prof Hudson’s pledge of support to the students provided them with ‘three A’s’ to reflect on – advocacy, accountability, and (being an) ambassador. “The UFS espouses the value of ethics of care, and I think the social work profession is the embodiment of that. I hope you will share the values of the university with the rest of society,” Prof Hudson said. 

New head of department welcomed 

During the ceremony, Dr Mpumelelo Ncube was introduced as the new Academic Head of the Department of Social Work. In his brief remarks, he spoke about the need for students to continue reflecting on the importance of the oath in their everyday lives, as it is binding on their conscience. “This the only time you will take the pledge and it should be dear to you,” Dr Ncube said.

He takes over from Prof Sandra Ferreira who is retiring.

From the students

Neo Pule

“I decided to study Social Work based on my experience and the experiences of others back at home, because it is in my heart to help people and I am very resourceful. It gives me joy to help others.” Neo Pule, third-year student.



Tyla de Villiers

“A personal family matter inspired me to pursue a degree in Social Work. I have always wanted to make a change to how social workers handled my family matter. I love helping people. The pledge of the Oath means that I will always be professional and keep it close to my heart.”Tyla de Villiers, third-year student. 



Tashinga Mandeya 

“My decision to study Social Work is because we do not have the facilities such as rehabilitation centres and mental-health institutions. I hope to return to Zimbabwe to find out how I can be of assistance in getting these institutions to be more accessible.” Tashinga Mandeya, third-year student. 



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