Working together to uplift the community

Rhodes University Psychology Department staff members who helped establish the Joza Assumption Development Centre
Rhodes University Psychology Department staff members who helped establish the Joza Assumption Development Centre

By Lindokuhle Mnqayi


On the evening of 9 May 2023, Rhodes University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs, Professor ‘Mabokang Monnapula-Mapesela, introduced the 2022 Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Community Engagement award winners at Amazwi South African Museum of Literature in Makhanda. The winners’ lecture formed part of a three-day Community Engagement Learning Symposium hosted by Rhodes University.

The Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Community Engagement Award was jointly awarded to Professor Megan Campbell, Ms Nqobile Msomi, Dr Duane Booysen, Christine Lewis, and Mandisa Ndabula from the Rhodes University Psychology Department for their work to establish the Joza Assumption Development Centre (ADC) Counselling Hub in Makhanda East.

The Hub provides counselling and psychological support beyond the university space and develops key skills for university students and academics.

The winners’ lecture, titled ‘The ADC Counselling Hub: A community-based service learning case study’, was jointly presented by the academics and community partners and delved into the challenges and achievements of the project.  Prof Campbell introduced the goals and outcomes of the ADC Counselling hub, Ms Msomi discussed the background of the project and explained its partnerships, Dr Booysen gave an introduction to professional programmes in counselling psychology and clinical psychology used in the project, Ms Lewis explained the involvement of the Rhodes University student counselling centre in the project, and Ms Ndabula discussed the intern supervision at the ADC.

Two interns involved in the project, Buncwanekazi Mankantsu and Babalwa Zokoza, reflected on their experience. "Working within the South African context, which I didn’t truly appreciate or understand from the classroom, I learned how important it is to be flexible and to adapt to the unique needs of any given space,” said Zokoza.

Prof Campbell concluded the lecture by explaining that the programme has mutual benefits. Firstly the broader Joza community enjoys free psycho-social support through counselling and workshops while the Rhodes University psychology graduates gain rich real-world learning. This exciting initiative has enriched the teaching and learning of the students while also informing the Masters programme curriculum.

In closing, Dean of Humanities Prof Enocent Msindo thanked the award winners for their lecture and handed each one a token of appreciation.