Crossing Borders in Africa: Collectively Narrating the ‘Foreigner’ Within

  • Samantha van Schalkwyk


In this chapter, the author explores women’s narratives of their journeys from their home country in Africa to South Africa. These stories are about crossing borders—both geographical and psychological. The women crossed physical border posts, entry points between different countries. They also crossed psychological borders, evident through their narratives of borders of morality and sexuality that they had to cross in order to survive in transit. A central motif of the women’s collective narratives was the ‘foreigner’ selves in transit—constructions of desperate and damaged selves. The author argues that the ‘foreigner’ self was a narrative strategy through which the women could voice their complex experiences in transit in socially acceptable ways and, by doing so, they were able to manage the shame that is so intricately linked to female sexuality. They could express their experiences in transit while at the same time constructing positive morally correct selves in their tellings.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha van Schalkwyk
    • 1
  1. 1.Stellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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