About the Journal

Universities need to move towards a knowledge democracy, which embraces multiple epistemologies, knowledge created and represented in various ways, and the sharing of knowledge through open access channels, as we aim to decolonise and transform higher education in the 21st century (Hall and Tandon 2017: 13).

African Journal of Higher Education Community Engagement (AJHECE)  is an online open-access journal published by the Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) Division and hosted by Rhodes University Library and Information Services (RULIS), Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa.  It originated from a need for an African-based academic journal on Community Engagement, as such a journal could herald the significance of this core function in universities and (further) embed community engagement in learning, teaching and research activities.  While several community or civic engagement journals exist worldwide, most of these journals come from North America (and the West in general), and very few editions speak to the South African or African context and its developmental issues.

For the continent of Africa, the engagement of higher education institutions with communities is imperative if we are to address and challenge the horror of civil wars, the problems of social injustice, poverty, corruption, unemployment and epistemic injustice as examples of some of the almost insurmountable struggles confronting Africa. An African journal of higher education community engagement has a critical role in promoting a global South perspective of the scholarship of engagement, building community engagement as a discipline and highlighting the importance of community-university partnerships for addressing some of the issues of development that beset the continent.

There is a noteworthy gap in spaces where South African and African community-engaged researchers (both in the university and community) can publish and contribute to academic discourse on community engagement and community development issues.  Community engagement for the African continent needs to be established on philosophies and theories relevant to Africa's history and context, which resonates to varying degrees with other countries of the global South. An African Journal of Community Engagement has the potential to provide a space for African perspectives on the contribution of community engagement in higher education.

Therefore, this new journal on higher education community engagement could be a significant contribution to embedding community engagement in university functions, growing an African canon on community engagement and moving towards knowledge democracy.

Focus, Aim and Objectives of AJHECE

In comparison to teaching, learning and research in higher education, community engagement is a recently introduced and less-known core function of higher education in South Africa and other parts of the African continent. Community engagement is intended to advance the developmental role of higher education institutions and inculcate civic and social responsibilities in students. AJHECE focuses on community engagement and development research addressing social injustice, poverty, corruption, unemployment and epistemic injustice, among other social and economic issues.

The main aim of AJHECE is to contribute to building a body of knowledge on Community Engagement for the African continent. The journal aims to publish and report on a wide range of Community Engagement and Community Development aspects in Southern Africa, the region and elsewhere, with a strong focus on research and praxis. The journal’s publications will reflect the diversity of practice in Community Engagement and the diversity of voices that participate in co-creating knowledge for individual, community and societal well-being. The journal actively seeks international dialogue within the global South and partnerships between the global South and the global North that provide perspectives on and for Community Engagement in South Africa and the rest of the African region. By providing a forum for researchers, scholars, practitioners and policymakers, the key objectives of AJHECE are to: 

  • Contribute to the body of knowledge on Community Engagement produced in Africa; encourage the African voice and voices from the global South in general, which may aid in combating epistemicide and marginalising alternative knowledge paradigms at higher education institutions.
  • Grow community engagement as a discipline with philosophies, theories and praxis relevant to the African context and a practice that contributes to the various dimensions (social, economic, cultural, psychological, spiritual, and political) of human and community development.
  • Embed community engagement in all activities of the university, especially research, and signal the importance of scholarly work on community-university partnerships.
  • Advance collaborative research methodologies, especially community-based participatory research (CBPR), where communities and academics are knowledge co-creators and collaborators in research practice and knowledge dissemination. This kind of research, which values the input of and produces
    knowledge for and with local communities can contribute to the process of decolonisation of universities in Africa.
  • Provide a space for professional development, discourse and debate on community engagement and sharing knowledge through the scholarship of engagement in the African context, the global South and partnerships with the global North that provide perspectives on and for Community Engagement in South Africa and the rest of the African region.
  • Incorporate an author and young editorial board members support programme to encourage new authors in the field to establish themselves as scholarly writers and as a new generation of editorial board members

Frequency of Publication: Once a year in November. First publication in November 2023

Open Access Statement

The African Journal of Higher Education Community Engagement (AJHECE) is an online, open-access journal proudly hosted by Rhodes University Library. Our mission is to disseminate high-quality research and scholarship in higher education community engagement, making it accessible to a global audience.

Commitment to Open Access

AJHECE is committed to the principles of open access. We believe that free and unrestricted access to research promotes the sharing of knowledge, supports academic collaboration, and enhances the impact of scholarly work. As such, all articles published in AJHECE are freely available to readers immediately upon publication, without any subscription fees, access charges, or article processing charges (APCs).

Benefits of Open Access

  1. Accessibility: By removing financial barriers, we ensure that researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the general public can access the latest research findings and insights.

  2. Visibility: Open access increases the visibility and readership of published articles, which can lead to higher citation rates and greater academic and societal impact.

  3. Equity: Open access democratizes knowledge by providing equal opportunities for researchers from all regions and institutions, regardless of their financial resources.

Licensing and Copyright

All articles in AJHECE are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited; the result is not used for commercial purposes, and any contributions on this must be made accessible under the same licence as the original.

Author Benefits

Authors publishing with AJHECE retain the copyright of their work and grant the journal the right of first publication. They benefit from the journal's rigorous peer-review process, prompt publication, and wide dissemination through open access.

Institutional Support

As part of Rhodes University Library's commitment to supporting open scholarship, AJHECE benefits from the Rhodes University Library and Information Services' infrastructure, resources, and expertise in digital publishing. This partnership ensures that the journal operates sustainably and adheres to the highest standards of academic publishing.

Archiving and Preservation

The AJHECE is preserved through participation in the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) Preservation Network (PN).