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Principled path for social work students

- By Refilwe Mabula

Adherence to ethical conducts is a pivotal requirement within the social work profession. The Wits Department of Social Work held its annual oath taking ceremony for first year students at the Wits Emthonjeni Centre at the Braamfontein East Campus.

The students took an oath in the presence of family members, friends and academics to solemnly declare their commitment to the ethics of their careers and combat the social decay.

Key note speaker at the ceremony Langi Malamba, from the South African Council for Social Service Professions, highlighted to the students that the social work profession is a noble profession that should emanate from within and should not be characterised by financial gains or social status.

During her address, Malamba reprimanded students who were busy on their phones as an attempt to lay a foundation for their social conduct in their chosen careers. She described their behaviour as not only disruptive but disrespectful too. She emphasised the importance of paying attention to clients in the field and showing interest. “Social work is a noble profession. We give life where there is no hope. You cannot give people hope if you are self-centred and show disinterest,” she said.

Giving prominence to the value of knowledge in the social work profession, Malamba encouraged the students to be vigilant of social injustices and challenges in their field of study. “We search constantly for knowledge. We are integral to making the changes in peoples and we can do that if we are knowledgeable of our own issues,” Malamba

Shennen van As,  a first year student reflected on the significance of the event and said: “I felt very proud and it made it feel so real that I am in the profession”. Van As who was accompanied by her mother and father to witness the momentous occasion said she changed her studies from education to social work because her mind was never in the classroom and found that she was more concerned with the wellbeing and welfare of neglected children.

For second year student, James Mokoena, who had not taken an oath previously, the oath is a critical measure of his career and how he should live a principled life befitting a social worker.  He also delivered light enetertainment and a poem to inspire the new students. To listen to his poem titled I am a Social Worker, click click here.