Staying with complexity: Narratives of arriving and living in Durban

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Staying with complexity: narratives of arriving and living in Durban presented by Kira Erwin (Senior Researcher, Urban Futures Centre, Durban University of Technology).

This seminar offers initial insights from a project on Migration and Inclusivity in the city of Durban. The project collected 30 oral histories; from women applying for asylum permits, from women who are in South Africa on study permits and spousal visas, and from South African women who have come to stay in a single-sex hostel in Durban from rural areas in the province. Themes from the narratives highlight how storytelling is used as a survival strategy, how precariousness in the city is shaped by entangled variables (some which are brought with migrants from their home spaces), and the role of religion and gender in determining agency. These diverse stories of migration and arrival in Durban offer complex and contradictory narratives. Complicating and nuancing our understanding of migrancy is critical if we are to create city spaces that make for a more dignified life for all. Yet the richness, fractures and commonalities in these narratives also present a challenge for researchers; how do we begin to formulate city level policy and planning from this diverse narrative data?

Dr Kira Erwin is a senior researcher in the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. She is a sociologist whose research focuses on constructions of race and how these relate to various urban spaces and place identities.

Date: Tuesday 17 October 2017

Time: 12.30 -13.30

Venue: ACMS Seminar Room 2163, South East Wing, Second Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, University of the Witwatersrand East Campus