Urban Volunteer Tourism: Orphanages in Johannesburg

Jayne M. Rogerson, David Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Volunteer tourism is one of the most vibrant forms of alternative tourism and a particular focus in Africa. Despite a growing stream of international volunteer tourists, African scholarship is undeveloped. South Africa offers the largest range of different volunteer tourism opportunities in Africa which includes work in community welfare projects such as orphanages. This research opens up debates around urban volunteer tourism in South Africa. The investigation is a case study of international volunteer tourists at orphanages in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. The aim was to understand the volunteer tourism channel to Johannesburg and reflect upon the impacts of this controversial form of volunteer tourism. The findings point to the strongly positive benefits of these volunteers for the orphanages and the children in Johannesburg. Among possible explanations is that ‘place matters’ and that volunteers choosing to work in the orphanages of South Africa’s business capital, a city that has a fearful reputation in respect of crime and safety of visitors, are committed to ‘making a difference’ in their volunteer work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-499
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Johannesburg
  • Orphanages
  • Urban tourism
  • Volunteer tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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