Post-Apartheid South African Immigrants in Australia: Negotiating Displacement, Identity, and Belonging

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Abstract

Although migration continues to be a key feature of globalization, an interesting phenomenon is the postdemocracy emigration of many South Africans to countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. This study explores Black and White South African participants’ experiences of migration to Australia and its implications for identity disruption, construction, and belonging. With a focus on meanings conveyed through migration stories, we thematically analyzed semistructured interview data gathered from 9 participants. We generated 3 themes, including the motivations for migration, the experience of leaving and losing home, and the personal and political challenges of homemaking. Home and its associations with textured depictions of belonging and loss was central to the meanings participants gave to the impacts of displacement. Settling involved the ongoing negotiation of identity in relation to both South Africa and Australia. The findings are discussed with reference to the role of nostalgia and race in negotiating belonging and identity.

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