Memories of Victimization, Resilience and Heroism: A Narrative Study of the Xenophobic Experiences of Somali Migrants in Bellville, Cape Town


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project seeks to examine the way Somali victims of xenophobia in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa remember and reconstruct their individual experiences. It hopes to analyse the stories that Somali migrants tell about their personal lives as vignettes for understanding seemingly powerful and deeply emotional experiences of migration. To this end, the project intends not to reproduce the actual experiences but to interrogate the creative and imaginative ways that each Somali migrant remember different episodes of xenophobia and how their stories unfold into narratives of victimisation, resilience and heroism. It will also discuss how their memories of xenophobia shape our understanding of diasporic conceptions such as transnational identities, social inclusion and exclusion as well as the politics of belonging post-apartheid South Africa.