Liesl Peters

Senior Lecturer



BSc (OccTher) UCT

MSc Occupational Therapy UCT


I graduated as an occupational therapist in 2002 and completed a year of compulsory post-qualification community service at a district level hospital in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Thereafter I worked as the primary occupational therapist at a residential facility for elderly individuals. Concurrently I offered my services voluntarily at a University of Cape Town practice demonstration site known as Facing Up, working with youth at risk in a disadvantaged community on the Cape Flats in Cape Town. In 2006 I joined the Occupational Therapy Division at UCT as a clinical educator. Later I took on a role as a lecturer in the Division. I was a contributor to the new community development practice curriculum at UCT as it was being co-developed. I have co-authored a framework for occupational therapy practice within community development settings (the Occupation-based Community Development framework), led by Prof. Roshan Galvaan. A key element in our work and in the development of this framework has been, and continues to be, a focus on the translation of occupational science knowledge into occupational therapy practice. At the heart of this work is a central commitment to and focus on equity and justice. I have always been intrigued and interested in human beings and what makes them think and act the way that they do, and how this relates to a deep human need for justice and equity. The belief that people are infinitely capable given the right circumstances, drives me to consider how I could contribute to developing the spaces and opportunities people need to develop to their full potential. Enacting and facilitating our creative potential as collectives is a key passion and driving force behind this work.

Areas of Interest

Community development practice, Youth, Equity and Justice

Current Research Projects

Pathways, through opportunity, towards social inclusion: A multicase study of marginalized young womxn in post-apartheid South Africa.

Occupational Therapy Curriculum and Socially-transformative practice

Exploring decolonial transdisciplinary practice

Research Gate


Peters, L, & Galvaan, R. (2020): A scoping review exploring ‘opportunity’ in occupational science: Possibilities for conceptual development, Journal of Occupational Science, DOI: 10.1080/14427591.2020.1832906

Aldrich, R, & Peters, L. (2019). Using occupational justice as a “linchpin” of international educational collaborations. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(3).

Nhunzvi, C., Galvaan, R., & Peters, L. (2017). Recovery From Substance Abuse Among Zimbabwean Men: An Occupational Transition. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 1539449217718503.

Peters, L; Galvaan, R; Kathard, H. (2016). Navigating the occupational transition of dropping out of school: Anchoring occupations and champions as facilitators. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy, 46(2), 37-43.

Galvaan, R; Peters, L; Smith, T; Brittain, M; Menagaldo, A; Rautenbach, N; Wilson-Poe, A. (2015). Employers’ experiences of having a live-in domestic worker: Insights into the relationship between privilege and occupational justice. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. Vol 45(1), 41-46.

Galvaan, R; Peters, L; Gretschel, P. (2015) Embracing an occupational perspective to promoting learning in context. South African Journal of Higher Education, 29, 281-293.

Galvaan, R; Gretschel, P; Peters, L. (2015). Occupational therapy in the school context: an occupational perspective. In: Moonsamy, S; Kathard, H. (Eds). Speech-Language Therapy in a School Context. The principles and practices. Van Schaik Publishers: Pretoria.

Galvaan, R; Peters, L. (2017). Occupation-based community development: Confronting the Politics of Occupation. In: Pollard, N; Sakeleriou, D. (Eds). Occupational Therapies without Borders: Integrating justice with practice. (2nd Edition). United Kingdom: Elsevier Limited.

Peters, L., & Galvaan, R. (2017). Practicing to promote occupational justice. In: Dsouza, S., Galvaan, R., Ramugondo, E. Concepts in Occupational therapy: Understanding Southern Perspectives. Manupal University Press.

Motimele, M., & Peters, L. (2017). Understanding Human Occupation. In: Dsouza, S., Galvaan, R., Ramugondo, E. Concepts in Occupational therapy: Understanding Southern Perspectives. Manupal University Press.

Galvaan, R., & Peters, L. (2017). Occupation-based Community Development: A critical approach to occupational therapy. In: Dsouza, S., Galvaan, R., Ramugondo, E. Concepts in Occupational therapy: Understanding Southern Perspectives. Manupal University Press.

Peters, L., & Galvaan, R. (2018). Critical occupational therapy in the margins: Parent participation in under-resourced schools. In: Silbert, P; Galvaan, R; Clarke, J. (Eds). Partnerships in Action: Transforming learning practices through interdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement. HSRC Press.

Peters, L & Galvaan R. (2020) Perspectives in OT Education: Insights from Africa (Chapter 18). In:  Taff, S; Grajo, L. C; Hooper, B. Perspectives in Occupational Therapy Education: Past, Present, and Future. SLACK Incorporated.