Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology & Sociology, University of the Western Cape

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology & Sociology, University of the Western Cape
‘Performing diversity’: Everyday social interaction among migrants from the Great Lakes region and South Africans in Cape Town

While the dominant discourse is on the persistence of xenophobia violence in South Africa, this proposed study focuses on the ways in which Great Lakes region migrants (Rwanda, DRC and Burundi) forge socialities among themselves and with the locals in Phoenix informal settlement in Cape Town. The question that guides this research is, how do migrants deal with the everyday experiences of living together with differences among themselves and with South Africans in a fragmented violent migrant community? This raises questions evaded by earlier studies about the migrants from a region which has been ravaged by wars, with and their lives torn and shattered by their past. How do they attach particular meanings to the differences that exist among them and locals? How do they understand belonging to particular social and emotional spaces? Theoretically, this ethnographic study is informed by the notion of 'embodied performance' to make sense of the everyday interactions, in this case, how migrants mediate the encounters of the everyday in their neighbourhood in Cape Town. Drawing from this theoretical approach, the ways in which differences are re-created, mediated and re-enacted among migrants and locals is drawn from particular histories of war and ethnic violence. The proposed study is of an ethnographic nature, which employs life histories, interviews and participant observation through 'deep-hanging out' in migrants' social spaces.