The issue of xenophobia in welcome to our hillbrow a novel by phaswane mpe

African Studies This book contrasts voluntary labor and political migration with the involuntary diaspora by focusing on the paradoxes of migration, exile, and survival of African immigrants in the New World. Paradoxes of Im Migration and Exile 2. Paradoxes of Immigrant Incorporation: Interspatial Activism and the Proactive Discourses of Liberation 4.

The issue of xenophobia in welcome to our hillbrow a novel by phaswane mpe

Split into four subtly interconnected narratives, the text reproduces the fractured form of the city as the four main protagonists forge their lives on the fault-lines of post-apartheid society. In different ways the Johannesburg they travel around and through is home to them; but it often also proves unhomely.

The stories are marked by transient and often uncomfortable encounters. The impression conveyed is that discrete spaces, experiences and memories within the city are only virtually reconcilable.

As opposed to the totalizing functionalist vision of political bodies and urban planners, the only form of representation adequate to this evasive multiplicity is provisional and potential: Simone, Robinson Johannesburg may not appear on strictly defined lists of global cities, but it shares the global characteristics of transnational flows of capital and people, and the concentration of high-tech and high-touch nodes of social and economic exchange, made visible in the built environment of the high-rise office tower, as well as the concentration of cultural diversity on the street.

Despite the gargantuan disparities between the automobilized denizens of the affluent northern suburbs and the immigrant street-hawkers on the roadsides and in the inner-city, they are two sides of the same coin: His work suggests that the unconscious everyday activity of city-dwellers, walking in the rationalized, commodified city-space, resists the forms of panoptical power exercised by the state and capital.

In turn this demanded the concomitant liberation of mobility. Those academics trying to account for the ongoing — and in cases the increasing — discontinuities of everyday mobility in South African cities, find succour in the idea that there nonetheless exists a form of subaltern agency among those who still find themselves on the wrong side of the wall see, for example, Bremner b: Built sites along the streets symbolise specific practices, demarcate racial identities in particular ways and in turn determine how one walks.

The issue of xenophobia in welcome to our hillbrow a novel by phaswane mpe

These characters all drive through rather than walk in the worldly city. Their everyday lives are completely dependant on cars — but what does it mean to say that they this makes them part of the system of automobility?

As Mike Featherstone glosses: Social life has become locked into the modes of mobility that automobility generates and presupposes. InAfrican men and women made up 86 per cent of those people traveling to work or school on foot, whereas white men and women constituted 62 per cent of those using a car for the same journeys.

The steady growth of a black middle-class in recent years does not as yet seem to be effecting this compound disparity, especially for black women. This is reflected in other recent fictions of the city.

His car journeys around Johannesburg, intended to map its changing formal demographics, best express its burgeoning informality.

Queuing to get off the freeway one day he is assailed by hawkers: He had started to see Mozambicans too, and Somalis. It was the opposite of the old stereotype: Foreigners on every side. Could the aliens have outstripped the indigenes? There were no reliable statistics.

In particular, he chooses those people who remain isolated in their daily movements by the constraints of car travel; those who are left increasingly out of touch with the multiplicity of city-life.

Yet, despite their disconnection, the characters are fascinated by this otherness. They seem to exist in a state of perpetual observation, gazing at those people living on the edge of their experience, consuming and so re-imagining their half-glimpsed lives.

Not only is he defamiliarized in what was once a very familiar locality, he also begins to feel the creeping isolation we find in the car journeys of his characters through the northern suburbs in The Exploded View.

The Exploded View emphasizes how the system of automobility contributes to, creates even, the discontinuity of experience at these conurbanedges. Shuttling around the freeways his world is suspended between the radio traffic reports that guide his journeys and the cellphone conversations that coordinate them.

In terms of his relationships with others, he lives in a bubble of virtual experience. But like other characters he also reveals the worldly or informal city through his fleeting perceptions from the car window. He is accosted in a jam at the off-ramp as Budlender is.

In an instant he reads a story of transnational exploitation in their ironic merchandise, but actually encountering the marginalized, improvised life behind this story entails leaving his car and facing the perceived threat of crime that his everyday life has been structured to avoid.

The roadside constitutes the edge of his experience and becomes the site where his deepest anxieties and fantasies are played out.

One City, Colliding Worlds, Lindsay Bremner notes the evolving ambiguity of the roadside in this respect: Forced removals, the movement of troops and armoured vehicles, marches, road blocks, running street battles: As apartheid ended and the road was liberated, it became, for many, synonymous with anxiety.

It brought strangers in to our midst and those strangers were distrusted, feared and often armed and dangerous. A new landscape of razor wire, electric fencing, motorised gates, road closures, sentries and security patrols turned the road into a paramilitary zone … Simultaneously, it was claimed by a myriad small time traders, domestic workers and informal institutions, as a site of conviviality, livelihood and leisure, and extension of their homes.The novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe deals with life in the district in the years after apartheid, focusing on a large number of issues ranging from poverty, HIV/AIDS, and xenophobia.

Selected Recent Titles

The publication of Diaspora and Identity in South African Fiction () by J.U. Jacobs is a timely intervention, in that it is the first comprehensive study of South African fiction to sustain the argument that South African writing is always already diasporic. Although Jacobs’ diasporic framework undoubtedly serves as an important addition to the recent trends identified by literary.

Nonwane takes as its point of departure a suicide scene from the late Phaswane Mpe’s novel, Welcome to Our Hillbrow. The book deals with issues of xenophobia, suicide, sex, HIV and love. The suicide scene was initially planned to be re-enacted through the release of tons of coarse and fine salt from the 20th [ ].

One South African novelist who saw behind the stereotypes was the late Phaswane Mpe, who noted in his novel, Welcome to Our Hillbrow: “Many of the Makwerekwere you accuse of this (crime and taking what belongs to South Africans) are no different to us — sojourners, here in search of green pastures.

Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow (). it seems nonetheless problematic to assume from the start that it was the perceived foreignness of the South .

Welcome to our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe is a second person narration that talks to the protagonist of the story Refentse who is already deceased. The novel deals with Xenophobia.

Nonwane – Keleketla Media Arts Project