Vishanthie Sewpaul

Vishanthie Sewpaul

Honorary Professor

Discipline Social Work
Contact Number 031-260-1241
Campus Howard College Campus
Last Updated 6 months ago

Degrees Held

  • B.A. (SW);
  • M.Medical
    Sc. (SW);
  • PhD

Research Interests:

  • Globalisation; social justice; human rights; vulnerable groups; community work; international social work

Teaching Interests

  • Emancipatory/critical/radical social work; social justice; human rights; social work ethics and values; international social work

Publications / Selected Publications – 85 publications to date


  • Larsen, A. K.; Sewpaul, V. and Oline, G. (Eds.) (2014). Participation in Community Work: International Perspectives, London: Routledge.
  • Sewpaul, V. and Holscher, D. (2004). Social Work in Times of Neoliberalism: A Postmodern Discourse. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

Journal Articles since 2004

  • Gilbert, I. & Sewpaul. V. (2014). Challenging dominant discourses on abortion from a radical feminist perspective. Affilia, The Journal of Women and Social Work (accepted)
  • Osthus, I. S. & Sewpaul, V (2014). Gender, power and sexuality among youth on the streets of Durban. International Social Work, 57(4): 325-336
  • Naidoo, L. & Sewpaul, V. (2014). The life experiences of adolescent sexual offenders: Factors that contribute to offending behaviours, Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 50(1): 84-98
  • Sewpaul, V. (2013). Editorial, Review of the international definition of social work. Social work/Maatskaplike Werk, 49(2): x-iv
  • Sewpaul, V. (2013). Neoliberalism and social work in South Africa, Critical and Radical Social Work, 1 (1) 15-30.
  • Produced a special edition on: Child Rights in Africa with my colleague, Professor Carmel Matthias for the journal International Social Work – published January 2013 (Editorial)
  • Sewpaul (2013) Inscribed in our blood: Confronting and challenging the ideology of sexism and racism. Affilia, The Journal of Women and Social Work 28 (2): 116-125.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2012) et al. Life on the streets of Durban: No millionaire ending. Social work/Maatskaplike Werk, 48 (3): 241-254.
  • Sewpaul, V.; Osthus, I. & Mhone, C. (2011). Emancipatory pedagogy and community work: The teaching-practice nexus. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk 47 (4): 391-404
  • Sewpaul, V and Pillay, A (2011) Household and family structure: A baseline study among primary school learners in Chatsworth, South Africa. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk 47 (3): 287-300
  • Sewpaul, V. (2010) Professionalism, postmodern ethics and global standards for social work education and training. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk 46(3): 253-262
  • Sewpaul V. (2010). Adoption: A story of telling and of healing. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 46(2): 249-252
  • Sewpaul, V. (2009). Transforming gender relationships: Rural women in Africa. Agenda.
  • Sakaguchi, H. and Sewpaul, V. (2009 ). Comparison of social work education across South Africa and Japan in relation to the Global Standards. International Journal of social Welfare. Vol. 18
  • Sewpaul, V. (2009). National identity, national consciousness and soccer 2010: Should social work be concerned. International Social Work
  • Sewpaul, V. (2008). Social work education in the era of globalization. Caribbean Journal of Social Work, Vol. 6/7: 16-35
  • Johansson, I.; Sewpaul, V; Horverak, S.; Schjelderup, L.; More, C. and Bornholdt, L. (2008). Innovations in social welfare: Empowerment and globalisation in a Nordic social work education context. International Journal of Social Welfare, 17: 260-286
  • Sewpaul, V and Holscher, D. (2008). Editorial. International Social Work, 51(3): 293-296.
  • Produced special edition of ISW on “Focus on Africa” with D. Holscher
  • Kabeera, B. and Sewpaul, V. (2008). Genocide and its aftermath: The case of Rwanda. International Social Work, 51(3): 324-336
  • Sewpaul, V. (2008). Globalization, western hegemony and Chinese particularism: Implications for social work and social policy, Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk
  • Sewpaul, V. (2008). Editorial. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk.
  • Sewpaul, (2007). Editorial: Lessons from Rwanda. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk,
  • Sewpaul, V. (2007). Challenging East-West value dichotomies and essentialising discourse on culture and social work. International Journal of Social Welfare. 16: 398-407
  • Sewpaul, V. (2007). Power, discourse and ideology: Challenging essentialist notions of race and identity in institutions of higher learning in South Africa. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 43(1): 16- 27
  • Sewpaul, V. (2006). Focus on Africa: The African Union plan of action for the family in Africa. International Social Work. 49(1): 129-136.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2006). The global-local dialectic: Challenges for African scholarship and social work in a post- colonial world. British Journal of Social Work. 36:419-434.
  • Lyons, K. and Sewpaul, V. (2006). Editorial. International Social Work.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2006). The power of biography: Shifting the boundaries of knowledge through emancipatory pedagogy and critical consciousness. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 42 (2): 101-116
  • Sewpaul, V. (2005). Editoral. International Social Work. 48(2): 123-125
  • Sewpaul, V. (2005) Globalisation, African Governance and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Relevance for Social Work. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk. 41(2): 109-122
  • Sewpaul, V. & Jones, D. (2005). Global standards for the Education and Training of the Social Work Profession. International Journal of Social Welfare. 14(2): 218-230
  • Sewpaul, V. (2005). Global Standards: Possibilities and Pitfalls for Re-inscribing Social Work into Civil Society. International Journal of Social Welfare. 14(2): 210-217
  • Sewpaul, V. (2005). Feminism and Globalisation: The promise of Beijing and neoliberal capitalism in Africa. Agenda 64: 104-113
  • Sewpaul, V. (2005). A structural social justice approach to family policy: A critique of the Draft South African Family Policy. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk. 41(4):310-322
  • Sewpaul, V. and Preston-Shoot (2004). Editorial. Social Work Education 23( 5): 491-492.
  • Sewpaul, V. and Jones, D. (2004). Global standards for social work education and training. Social Work Education. 23 (5): 493-513.
  • Sewpaul, V. and Lombard, A. (2004). Social work education and training in Africa. Social Work Education. 23 (5): 537-554
  • Sewpaul, V. and Williams, L. (2004). Modernism, postmodernism and global standards setting. Social Work Education. 23 (5): 555-565.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2004). Emancipatory citizen education in action: Discourse ethics and deconstruction. (Part 1). Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk. 40 (4): 336-343.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2004). Emancipatory citizen education in action: Creative teaching/learning options (Part 11). Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk. 40 (4): 336-343.

Chapters in Books

  • Sewpaul, V. (2014). Social work and human rights: An African perspective, In (Ed.). S. Hessle, Human Rights and Social Equality: Challenges Ashgate: Surrey.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2014). Social work education: Current trends and future directions. In (Eds). C. Noble; Strauss, H. & B. Littlechild, Global Social Work: Crossing borders, blurring boundaries, Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2014). Neoliberalism: Conceptualization, history and consequences, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences (accepted)
  • Sewpaul, V. (2014). Poverty and social work in Africa: The indelible reality. In (Ed). H. Spitzer, Professional social work in East Africa. (accepted)
  • Sewpaul, V. (2014). Emancipatory education: Towards engaged citizenship, democratic practices and active community engagement, In (Eds.) L. Dominelli & Moosa-Mitha, M. Reconfiguring citizenship: Social exclusion and diversity within inclusive citizenship practices, Hampshire: Ashgate.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2014). Community work and the challenges of neoliberalism and new managerialism: resistance, the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring In (eds.) Larsen, A.K; Sewpaul, V. and Oline, G. Participation in Community Work: International Perspectives, London: Routledge.
  • Larsen, A. K.; Sewpaul, V. and Oline, G. (2014 ). Introduction: A participatory approach to community work, In (eds.) Larsen, A.K; Sewpaul, V. and Oline, G. Participation in Community Work: International Perspectives, London: Routledge.
  • Sewpaul, V. and Larsen, A.K. (2014). Community development: Towards an integrated emancipatory framework, In (eds.) Larsen, A.K; Sewpaul, V. and Oline, G. Participation in Community Work: International Perspectives, London: Routledge.
  • Sewpaul, V.; Osthus, I. and Mhone, C. (2014) Power and participation in community work research and practice, In (eds.) Larsen, A.K; Sewpaul, V. and Oline, G. Participation in Community Work: International Perspectives, London: Routledge
  • Sewpaul, V. and Osthus I. (2009), Critical Action research: Transferring lessons from the streets of New Delhi, India to the streets of Durban, South Africa In [Eds.] Zavirsek, D and Ramon, S. Critical Edge Issues in Social Work and Social Policy. Ljubljana: Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana
  • Sewpaul,V. (2008). Community intervention and social activism. In (Eds). Barnard, A.; Horner, N. and Wild, J. (Eds.). The value base of social work and social care. Berkshire: Open University Press.
  • Sewpaul, V. & Holscher, D. (2007). Against the odds: Community based interventions for children in difficult circumstances. In Dominelli, L.D. (Ed.). Revitalising Communities, Hampshire: Ashgate.
  • Holscher, D. & Sewpaul, V. (2006). Ethics as a site of resistance: The tensions between social control and reflection. In Hall, N. (Ed.). Social Work around the World IV, Berne: IFSW Press.
  • Sewpaul, V. and Raniga, T. (2005). Producing results: Researching social work interventions on HIV/AIDS in the context of the school. In Adams, R.; Dominelli, L.D. and Payne, M. (Eds.). Social Work Futures: Crossing Boundaries, Transforming Practice. Hampshire: Palgrave
  • Sewpaul, V. (2004). Globalisation, African governance and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). In Ngoh-Tiong, T. and Rowlands, A. (Eds.). Social Work around the World III, Berne, IFSW Press.
  • Sewpaul, V. (2003). Reframing epistemologies and practice through international exchanges: Global and local discourses in the development of critical consciousness. In Dominelli, L.D. and Moore, W.T. (Eds). Broadening Horizons: International Exchanges in Social Work. Aldershot, Ashgate.

Community Involvement

  • President: Association of Schools of Social work in Africa
  • Vice-President: International Association of Schools of Social Work
  • Task team for the re-writing of national social work education and training standards with the Council on Higher Education (CHE)
  • Writing the National Review Report on the national review of the BSW programme
  • Global consultations to produce the Global Standards for Social Work Education and Training and the Global Definition for the Social Work Profession
  • Reviews for several international journals
  • External examiner for several national and international universities
  • Keynote conference addresses and invited lectures in 26 countries
  • Extensive work with children and youth living on the streets incorporating field supervision; research; capacity building and training and primary preventive efforts, informed by participatory, emancipatory methodologies.
  • Schools based work informed by emancipatory approaches, adopting a whole school framework – current focus on a “Suicide is not an option” campaign, responding to immediate identified need + several other efforts to prevent school drop out and enhance functioning.
  • Organised and hosted national and international conferences; currently organizing an international conference for 2015
  • In recognition of contribution to international social work, social justice and human rights awarded an Honorary doctoral degree from Mid-Sweden University (2014)
  • Eileen Younghusband Award for distinguished service (2014)
  • First runner up for a Distinguished Women In Science Award (Social Sciences and Humanities) awarded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (2013) for “outstanding contribution to building South Africa’s scientific and research knowledge base”

Teaching Expertise

  • Emancipatory/critical/radical theories
  • Qualitative research
  • Participatory research methodologies
  • Values and ethics

Student Supervision (Honours, Master, PhD …)

Current PhDs

  • Linda Naidoo: Understanding child sex offenders: Implications for protection of children in South Africa
  • Mildred Tambudzai Mushunje: The gender dimensions of the utilisation of agricultural inputs for food and income security: A case study of subsistence farming in Goromonzi District, Zimbabwe.
  • Boitumelo Khothatso Tshabalala: Parenting from a distance: The views of domestic helpers, their partners and key stakeholders

Graduated PhDs

  • Gilbert, I. (2014). Narratives on abortion: Feminist, ethical and religious considerations
  • Grinion, P. (2008). A phenomenological study of infertility: The US and Jamaica compared
  • Raniga, T. (2006). The Implementation of the National Life-skills and HIV/AIDS School Policy and Programme in the Ethekwini region
  • Demmer, C. (2005). Aids-related bereavement in the South African context: A study of KwaZulu Natal, Durban
  • Bhagwan, R. (2002). The role of religion and spirituality in social work practice: Guidelines for curricula development at S.A. School of Social Work.
  • Simpson. B. (2002). Social work in informal settlements.
  • Veeran, D. L. (1999) Perceptions of policy makers, service providers and children from the streets: Policy guidelines and intervention strategies.


  • Currently supervising four Masters students undertaking research in the areas of domestic violence; international students experiences; neoliberalism and its impact on social work; and substance abuse prevention.

Graduated Masters since 2002

  • Chirkoot, C. (2014). Discharge planning in a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu Natal
  • Hlatshwayo, S. (2014). An investigation into the administration of the Orphan and Vulnerable Children’s Grant in Swaziland
  • Vahed, R. (2013) Coping with ischemic heart disease: Views and experiences of key participants, their partners and medical practitioners.
  • Ncube, S. (2013). Women and contraceptive use: A case study of a modern South African informal settlement
  • Osthus, I. S. (2012). Sexuality, parenthood and identity: Relationships among female and male youth living on the streets of Durban CBD. (Passed summa cum laude)
  • Mhone, C. (2012). Intra and inter-organisational factors that facilitate or hamper services to children and youth living on the streets of Durban CBD (passed with distinction)
  • Naicker, M. (2011). Factors that influence adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART]
  • Pillay, A (2009). The influence of household and family structure on children in the Chatsworth area
  • Ramsuran, S. (2009). The life experiences of children orphaned on account of HIV/AIDS
  • Zungu, Z. (2007). Factors contributing to the success or failure of income-generation projects in Nongoma, KwaZulu Natal (passed with distinction)
  • Govender M. (2007). An investigation into the phenomena of bullying and violence in secondary schools in Durban (Merebank and Umlazi) (Passed with distinction)
  • Gordhan, H. (2007).The responses of Child Welfare Organisations in KwaZulu Natal to the challenges of HIV/AIDS
  • Kabeera, B. (2006). The experiences and needs of returning refugees to Kigali, Rwanda and the role of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in their repatriation (Passed with distinction).
  • Shozi, P. (2005). The development of evaluative strategies for harm reduction programmes for street children in Durban: A PAR approach
  • Reddy, P. (2005). The Development of Evaluation Strategies for Girl Street Children in Durban: A Participatory Action Research Approach
  • Mathe. B. (2004). The responsiveness of sexual offenders to a therapeutic group work programme at Westville Medium B Prison.
  • Sheik F. (2003). Women’s experiences and expectations of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1988
  • Maqutu, S. (2003). A descriptive study of racial identity amongst UND students in post-apartheid South Africa.
  • Howard, A. (2002). An investigation into the reliability of disclosure of sexual abuse by preschool children (under 7 years of age).
  • Petty, A. (2002). Adapting a Western model of filial therapy to a locally specific form through a participatory process with kinship carers (Passed with distinction).
  • Dhabicharan, L. (2002). Experiences of juvenile sex offenders. (Passed with distinction).
  • Holscher, D. (2002). The self-conceptualisation of social work in South Africa. A discourse analysis of managerialism and the marketisation of welfare in South Africa. (Passed with distinction).