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Guest Lecture: Awaken Our Humanity. Vusani Ubuntu Bethu

About this Event

We often divorce social work from politics and governance, but the time is now, for us to awaken our humanity.
“Ubuntu bethu bulahlekile, izandla zethu zigcwel’igazi…”- sings a South African artist named Nathi as he paints a haunting picture about how we’ve lost our humanity. Perhaps a bit too dramatic and conclusive for an anecdote, but could we argue that we’ve retained UBUNTU as part of our being?


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the gross inequality that it has exposed globally, could we lodge a defense for our humanity? With the vaccine nationalism that is evidently pervading the global community while thousands of lives are being lost, does Ubuntu have a place in global politics? What is the contemporary role of Social Work in a world governed less from the heart and more from a computer screen and a connection tower?


Zolani Metu is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar with a passion for promoting Mental health & Well-being. He holds APA accredited certificates in Psychodynamics of Childhood Trauma & Abuse and Personality Disorders from a Psychoanalytic Perspective from the Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies in USA. He also holds a certificate in Clifton Strengths Coaching, from the Strengths Institute. He currently works as a Senior Program Officer within the Jakes Gerwel Fellowship where he uses his counseling and coaching skills to provide psychosocial support to university students. From working in a Public Health Consultancy in the USA in 2016 to developing a maternal mental health program as a mental health consultant in Kigutu, Burundi in 2018- Zolani remains committed to improving mental health outcomes within the African continent.

In 2017, he worked as a Research & Teaching Assistant at the University of Cape Town and had the privilege of partaking in a study tour around Germany and Poland which explored how these post-holocaust societies navigate issues of trauma, memorialization, justice and nation-building. In 2018, Zolani worked as a Junior Researcher at the WITS School of public health and has published a systematic review on Strategies to Strengthen the Provision of Mental Healthcare at Primary Care Settings. In 2019, Zolani delivered a keynote address at Georgetown University’s Africa Forum, with a focus on shifting wellness ideologies globally. Moreover, last year Zolani presented his research which looked at Reintegrating Institutionalized forensic psychiatric patients into communities in the Western Cape at the 4th World Congress on Public Health, Epidemiology & Nutrition in Miami, Florida, USA. The aspiring academic is currently working on a paper which looks at Biomedical Dominance and the Auxiliarization of Mental Health within South Africa’s Public Health response to the COVID-19 Epidemic.​