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Social work academic to receive international award

Professor Johannes John-Langba, a social work lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has been selected by Howard University in the US to be the 2019 recipient of the Dr Inabel Burns Lindsay Social Work Education Leadership Award.

Lindsay was the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work doctoral programme.

John-Langba obtained his PhD in social work from the University of Pittsburgh and his master's degree from Howard University. He is the first African to receive this prestigious acknowledgement and the eighth recipient of the award, which honours Howard University social work graduates who exemplify the educational leadership of Lindsay, the university's founding dean.

Said John-Langba: "It means a lot to me as a social work academic and is an affirmation of the quality of my academic leadership in social work education. I think I was selected because of my leadership in social work education on the African continent as well as for my contribution to promoting Howard University's School of Social Work's historic social justice mission."

Professor Sandra Edmonds Crew, dean of the School of Social Work at Howard University, said: "Professor John-Langba's commitment to research, teaching and community service is clearly evident. We are excited to honour him for his demonstration of truth and service to his alma mater and the profession of social work."

John-Langba has over 15 years' work experience at national and international levels in research, teaching and programme management related to social work, public health and social development.

He has worked and conducted research in many countries, including Australia, Botswana, Ethiopia, East Jerusalem, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Tanzania, the United States, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

His current research interests include the social aspects of HIV/Aids, migrant health, sexual and gender-based violence, community influences on antibiotic resistance, climate change and development, resilience and xenophobic violence, mental health, and recidivism among youth offenders.

John-Langba has received various other awards and fellowships, including the Population Policy Communication Fellowship (Population Reference Bureau, USA), Rand Institute Summer Fellowship (Rand Corporation, USA), Cairns Institute Fellow (James Cook University, Australia), African Peacebuilding Network research award (Social Science Research Council, USA), and was the 1999-2000 William H and Camille Cosby Fellow at Howard University in the USA for outstanding scholarship and achievement.

He is vice-president and mental health ambassador of Cape Mental Health, the oldest community-based mental health agency in SA.

Words: Melissa Mungroo