Producing post-apartheid space : an ethnography of race, place and subjectivity in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Yang, YoungJun (2015-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the end of Apartheid, many scholars of South Africa celebrated democratisation and offered optimism for the end of racial segregation. Racial segregation, however, still exists in South Africa and in Stellenbosch each residential place is divided along skin colour lines. Such a pattern is far from the position of optimism and seems to suggest that race continues to manifest itself materially through space in Post-Apartheid South Africa, even if such segregation is not imposed by Apartheid laws. This thesis describes how different individuals, especially foreigners, enter historically designated racial areas - ‘African’, ‘Coloured’, ‘White’ – and are ‘interpellated’ into particular racial categories. It aims to grasp the process of abstraction at work when the attempt is made to construct foreigners in these racial categories, and how these individuals come to perceive South Africa. The study suggests that at the points in which the interpellation of race fails are precisely the moments in which we see the possibility for the formation of a truly post-Apartheid Subjectivity. The thesis is cognisant of the particularity of place: focusing on Stellenbosch in the Western Cape necessarily involves engaging specificities of the historical construction of race that mark place in the present, especially in this province. Whilst the discovery of gold in the former Transvaal drove the exploitation of African mine workers and was important in the formation of race there, in the Western Cape the importance economically of the slave and later free labour of Coloured farm workers is important in grasping racial formations in Stellenbosch. At the same time, however, I present the case of an unemployed South African women who is unable to live in any areas previously designated by race, and through her tale, suggest that relationships between race and labour might be being undone, even as this undoing is fraught and not producing subjects who can feel comfortable in democracy.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Opsomming Sedert die einde van Apartheid is demokratisering in akademiese kringe geprys en is die einde van rasse-segregasie met optimisme begroet. Rasse-segregasie leef egter steeds voort in Suid-Afrika en in Stellenbosch is elke residensiële area volgens velkleur verdeel. Hierdie verskynsel is alles behalwe ’n bron van optimisme en blyk aan te toon dat ras voortgaan om ditself op materiële wyse deur ruimte in post-Apartheid Suid-Afrika te manifesteer, selfs in die afwesigheid van segregasie deur Apartheid-wetgewing. Hierdie tesis ondersoek hoe verskillende individue, veral buitelanders, histories-gedefinieerde rasse-areas – ‘swart’, ‘bruin’ en ‘blank’ – binnegaan en ‘geïnterpelleer’ word in spesifieke rassekategorieë. Dit poog om die proses van abstraksie te verstaan waardeur buitelanders in rassekategorieë gekonstrueer word, en hoe hierdie individue Suid-Afrika beskou. Dié studie voer aan dat die plekke waar die interpellasie van ras misluk, die presiese momente is waar die moontlikheid vir die formasie van ’n ware post-Apartheid subjektiwiteit waargeneem kan word. Hierdie studie is bewus van die spesifisiteit van plek: om te fokus op Stellenbosch in die Wes-Kaap vereis noodwendig dat daar ook aandag geskenk sal word aan die spesifisiteit van die historiese konstruksie van ras wat plek in die hede onderlê, veral in dié spesifieke provinsie. Terwyl die ontdekking van goud in die voormalige Transvaal die uitbuiting van swart mynwerkers gedryf het en belangrik was vir die vorming van ras daar, is die ekonomiese belangrikheid van slawe en later vry arbeid van bruin plaaswerkers in die Wes-Kaap belangrik om die formasie van ras in Stellenbosch te verstaan. Op dieselfde tyd bied ek die geval aan van ’n werklose Suid-Afrikaanse vrou vir wie dit nie meer moontlik is om in enige histories-gedefinieerde ras-spesifieke area te bly nie, en wie se verhaal suggereer dat verhoudings tussen ras en arbeid dalk besig is om te ontbind, selfs al is hierdie proses vervaard en nie besig om subjekte te produseer wat gemaklik onder ’n demokratiese bestel kan voel nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96928
This item appears in the following collections: