Prof Megan Campbell, Ms Nqobile Msomi, Dr Duane Booysen, Christine
Lewis and Mandisa Ndabula from the
In the Faculty of Humanities
for the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for Community
Since university spaces are still among the most privileged spaces in our
society, the Education White Paper 3 of 1997 urges higher education
institutions to fulfil both the moral and political imperative to contribute to
social and epistemic justice and equality by forming partnerships with
communities outside of the university.
One of the core functions of higher education institutions plays a
critical role in promoting this change.
In fulfilling this imperative to promote and practice community
engagement, universities move away from what has been their
traditional role as disengaged ‘ivory tower’ institutions and become
more socially-responsive institutions, championing the struggle against
race, gender and class oppression.
The winners of the 2022 Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for
Community Engagement; Prof Megan Campbell, Ms Nqobile Msomi, Dr
Duane Booysen, Christine Lewis and Mandisa Ndabula have engaged
with community leadership to establish a much needed facility, the Joza
ADC Counselling Hub in Makhanda East.
The work of the Hub was made possible through partnership building
and collaboration between the Assumption Development Centre,
Rhodes Psychology Clinic and the Rhodes Student Counselling Centre
(SCC). The history of the Hub is also manifold and involves strong
partnership building. Several years ago, Prof. Jacqui Akhurst founded a
smaller counselling service for pupils at Nombulelo Secondary and Joza
Youth Hub. During the COVID pandemic, Ms. Nqobile Msomi offered
school leaders, teachers and pupils online counselling support sessions.
Out of these various efforts and partnerships, the ADC Counselling Hub
was built. Therefore, it is not surprising that an outstanding feature of
this organic project was the team members’ in-depth understanding of
partnership building, as a key component in the application of
community engagement in higher education.
The application highlighted that “an intervention focused on addressing
the needs as identified by the community partner, within their particular
context. It challenges the psychologist to work in collaboration with their
community partner to bring about interventions that meet these needs
and in so doing the psychologist respects and promotes the community
partner’s agency for change. One of the most practical, concretely
visible ways in which this approach is applied, is by taking psychology to
the community partner, in their physical setting. While most South
African professional training programmes offer a community psychology
component, few currently integrate this with a service-learning
component. However, Service Learning is a very effective vehicle for
teaching the principles and practice of community psychology to our
student psychologists. It is also a revolutionary way of understanding
how psychology could, and should be practiced in South Africa”.
The Hub has transformed the Rhodes University space by building on
the principles of community psychology and community-based service
learning within the Masters in Counselling and Clinical Psychology
programmes, as well as in the internship year completed by Counselling
Psychologist Interns at the Rhodes Student Counselling Centre. In this
way, it has responded timeously, effectively and collaboratively to fulfil a
moral and political imperative by addressing social and epistemic
injustices. The Hub provides counselling and psychological support
beyond the university space, whilst developing key skills of university
students and academics.
Over the past eighteen months, the Hub has implemented and
succeeded in its aims of:
1) Providing mental health resources in the form of individual counselling
and psychoeducational groups/workshops for people living in Joza and
accessing services at the ADC, particularly Makhanda youth.
2) Facilitating a community based service-learning training opportunity in
community psychology for the Masters in Counselling and Clinical
Psychology students at the Rhodes Psychology Clinic, and the
Counselling Psychology Interns at the Rhodes Student Counselling
The project is commended for its specific understanding and
implementation of community engagement and service learning to
facilitate the teaching and learning of community psychology at Rhodes
University through a collaborative partnership. Modules of community
psychology in the Masters in Counselling and Clinical Psychology
programmes provide students with a theoretical lens, framework and
orientation towards psychological intervention that challenges many of
the typical western hegemonic biomedical conceptions of how to bring
about health and wellbeing. With a specific focus on partnerships, this
theoretical approach promotes understanding of mental health needs
and priorities within a cultural context of social action/social liberation
model that recognizes and emphasizes the impact of social and
structural inequalities. More importantly, the university team members
are immensely applauded for their imagination and courage as they
work towards transforming curriculum to be contextually relevant in
Community Psychology and building a sense of place with their
community partner, the ADC.
The selection committee strongly believes that the inclusive,
participatory partnership development process of the Hub, the trust and
commitment that exists between the diverse partners and the existing
impact of the Hub on the youth of Makhanda are significant indicators of
a sustainable, purposeful community engagement programme.
The Hub team is comprised of a wide-range of individuals not mentioned
above and whom were critical to its success. These include the ADC
Centre Manager, Maso Nduna and Madoda Mkalipi and Prof Jacqui
Akhurst who won the award in 2018. Congratulations to the entire team!
Last Modified: Fri, 02 Jun 2023 12:24:37 SAST