Students mini-march for World Social Work Day. PHOTO: Tendai Dube

Social work students participated in a mini-march through Wits for World Social Work Day.  Photo: Tendai Dube 

Witsies celebrated social workers earlier this week with a mini-march on campus and an inspirational talk from a former student.

Around 35 students and staff members joined the march on campus from the Great Hall to the Emthonjeni Auditorium for a presentation by guest speaker Shamona Kandia.

Tuesday March 17 was designated World Social Work Day to acknowledge the contribution of social workers in communities.

A die-hard social service professional, Kandia returned to her Wits roots to “inspire others and to move them towards realising their potential and achieving greatness”.

“It just takes one person to bring about change”

She took to the podium to share her experience and expertise. “It just takes one person to bring about change,” said Kandia, a senior manager handling the health portfolio at Transnet.

Kandia says, “The passion energy and drive I had, emanated from the people who taught me in university. I still keep in touch with my lecturers … I just feel there’s so much value a social worker can add to the community.”

Kandia holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and various other qualifications in community development and management. She started as social worker for an NGO and worked in government for 16 years before moving to Transnet in 2012.

She is best known for her passion for community development and has spent her career as an advocate for child justice and the transformation of the child justice system in South Africa.

“Across the globe there is no social worker as unique as the African social worker. African, South Africa, truly has a heartbeat of its own and cannot be compared the world over,” she said.

Social Work is an important profession

Social work is a field that is devoted to helping people function at their best in their environment. The field includes services such as community development, child protection and health, among others.

Social workers are at the heart of the social protection system, Kandia said. She acknowledged the challenges and highlights of the profession and made it very clear that “social workers do more than just ‘feel good work’, we do more than just promote charities —we truly are advocates for change”.

The celebration was part of professional social work month, an initiative by the International Federation of Social Workers, the International Association of Schools of Social Work and the International Council on Social Welfare.

Witsies dressed in white and blue to represent the second pillar of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development and the theme of “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples”.