Decolonising the Rural-Urban Dichotomy in South Africa: An Asset-Based Approach




decoloniality; rural-urban migration; rural development; asset-based approach


The rural-urban migration syndrome has eaten deep into the fabric of rural development in South Africa, thereby denying rural dwellers equitable access to social and economic amenities and social empowerment. This study, therefore, seeks to emancipate rural communities through an asset-based community development approach by forming university-community synergies for the purpose of decolonising these rural communities. The study attempted to provide a solution to the question of inequalities between rural and urban communities with a focus on how university engagement can be used to enhance community development in QwaQwa/Harismith Township and its environments. The study adopted a participatory action research design and the free attitude interview technique was used to collect data. The research participants consisted of one research assistant and 10 ordinary community members, members of NGOs and community leaders in QwaQwa/Harrismith Township in the Free State province of South Africa. Data collected were analysed through Laws, Harpes and Marcus’s seven-step model. The study revealed that rural dwellers face challenges of inequitable educational facilities and resources, and a lack of security in terms of their lives, properties, and means of travelling. Likewise, the study also showed a lack of access to health facilities in their communities. It was therefore concluded that community engagement through the asset-based approach and decoloniality would enable the university to empower rural dwellers with the freedom to attain their well-being by ensuring an environment that is sufficient and adequate for social investment.

Author Biographies

Bunmi Isaiah Omodan, University of the Free State

Lecturer, School of Education Studies

Cias T. Tsotetsi, University of the Free State

School of Education Studies, University of the Free State, Qwqwa Campus

Bekithemba Dube, University of the Free State

School of Education Studies, University of the Free State, Qwqwa Campus





Themed Section - Curriculum Transformation in Higher Education