An investigation of discriminatory language used in communicating with South Africans born in Tanzania and Zambia

Mtonjeni, Thembinkosi (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper was to investigate the language used in communicating with South Africans born in Zambia and Tanzania during the years of "the struggle" and now repatriated – the returnees. From 1991 the children of the freedom fighters that migrated into exile in the 1960s to avoid the apartheid rule, returned. Some settled with their children in Khayelitsha near Cape Town, but they have found it difficult to fit in. The surge of foreign nationals from Africa who subsequently encountered xenophobic attitudes and allegations of corruption, drug smuggling, contributing to unemployment of South African born citizens and being carriers of HIV/AIDS has contributed to the returnees "new struggle" for integration and adaption as they often share common ancestry, linguistic and physical attributes with foreign nationals. They are denigrated as "amakwerekwere", "my friendoh" or "amagweja". This has happened despite them learning the local indigenous language, isiXhosa. Since the study is phenomenological, a qualitative research was appropriate. In data-collection, interviews were arranged with the returnees in their homes. Critical Discourse Analysis, sociological and historical accounts and sociolinguistic research revealed complex socio-cultural issues of the Xhosa world, which may have complicated the returnees‘ integration experience. The returnees seem to be leading a secluded solitary life as if exiled at home. The study found that in exile the returnees were at times tagged as outsiders, as "wakimbizi", "the Mandelas", "amagorila". On arriving home in the country of their exiled parents, they were again, painfully and unjustifiably, subjected to discrimination and marginalisation. The Xhosa speakers who form the majority of those formerly disenfranchised and marginalised in the Western Cape, and who were expected to be the hosts if not guardians of the returnees, seem not to understand and appreciate the role of the newcomers. That they were instrumental in the mobilisation of objections worldwide against apartheid, racism and human injustice seems to be forgotten. Rather than using their power and heritage to end xenophobia and ensure returnees are part of the future South African social fabric, they are found to be hostile and discriminatory.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie was om die taal wat gebruik word in kommunikasie met Suid-Afrikaners wat tydens die jare van die vryheidstryd in Zambie and Tanzanie gebore is en nou gerepatrieer is, te ondersoek. Vanaf 1991 het die kinders van persone wat in die 1960s geemigreer het om aan vervolging van die Apartheidsregering te ontsnap, teruggekeer na Suid Afrika. Party het hulle met hul kinders in Khayalitsha naby Kaapstad gevestig, maar hulle vind dit moeilik om in te pas. Die vloedgolf vreemde burgers van Afrika het uiteindelik in sekere omgewings xenofobiese vervolging beleef met verwyte van korrupsie, dwelmsmokkelary, besetting van skaars arbeidsplekke ten koste van Suid Afrikaaners, en verspreiding van HIV/VIGS. Dit het bygedra tot die teruggekeerdes se nuwe stryd om integrasie wat nie noodwendig makliker gemaak is deur kwessies soos gemeenskaplike herkoms met die plaaslike bevolking nie, en ook nie deur ongewone talige en fisiese eienskappe wat die gevolg is van die jare van bannelingskap nie. Die nuwe inkomelinge word beskryf as "amakwerekwere", "my friendoh" of "amagweja". Hierdie soort distansiëring vind plaas ten spyte van die feit dat hulle die plaaslike inheemse taal, isiXhosa, aangeleer het. Aangesien die studie fenomenologies is, is kwalitatiewe navorsing as die gepaste benadering gekies. Data-insameling is gedoen dmv onderhoude met die teruggekeerdes in hul huise. Kritiese Diskoers Analiese, sosiologiese en geskiedkundige verhale en sosiolinguistiese navorsing het getoon dat komplekse, sosio-kulturele kwessies van die Xhosagemeenskap waarskynlik die terggekeerdes se integrasie-ervaring gekleur het. Dit lyk asof die teruggekeerdes ‘n afgesonderde lewe lei, asof hulle bannelinge in hulle eie land is. Die studie het getoon dat die teruggekeerdes tevore ook dikwels as buitestaanders geidentifiseer is terwyl hulle buite Suid-afrika gewoon het, en toe ook geïsoleer is met skeldname soos "wakimbizi", "the Mandelas', "amagorila". Met hulle tuiskoms in die land van hul banneling ouers is kinders wat in die buiteland gebore is weer op dikwels pynlike wyse onregverdelik blootgestel aan diskriminasie en marginalisering. Xhosasprekendes het getel onder die meerderheid van dié wat voorheen in die Weskaap van die stemreg ontneem is, en die verwagting was dat hulle gashere, indien nie die bewaarders van hierdie bannelinge sou wees nie. Dit blyk uit die studie dat hulle nie die rol van die nuwelinge verstaan of ondersteun nie. Dit blyk verder dat plaaslikes intussen vergeet het dat die uitgewekenes destyds instrumenteel was in die mobilisering van wêreldwye protes teen apartheid, rasisme en sosiale onreg. Eerder as om hul mag en erfenis te gebuik om xenofobie te beeindig en om te verseker dat die bannelinge deel van die toekoms van Suid Afrika is, word gevind dat hulle vyandiggesind en diskriminerend is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80321
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