Navigating the Grey Zone : East Asian South African selves in three auto/biographical texts

Neville, Daniella Nasya (2021-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The East Asian presence in South Africa finds its root in the 17th century, but only gained academic attention in the late 20th century. As such, literary texts written by East Asian South African selves remain for the most part invisibilised within the field of literature in South Africa. This reflects the nebulous position historically occupied by East Asian South Africans within socio-political conceptualisations of South African belonging. In response to this, the following study undertakes an analysis of the narrative self-positioning in three East Asian South African auto/biographies. These texts, namely Darryl Accone’s All Under Heaven: The Story of a Chinese Family in South Africa (2004), Ufrieda Ho’s Paper Sons and Daughters: Growing Up Chinese in South Africa (2011) and Ming-Cheau Lin’s Yellow and Confused: Born in Taiwan, raised in South Africa, and making sense of it all (2019), function as literary navigations of the manifold ascribed and asserted identities of the autobiographical selves. Together, they reconstruct individual and familial histories, tracing migratory trajectories and their resulting entanglements, staking varying claims to rootedness in the post-apartheid moment. This study aims to not only position the literary output of East Asian South African selves within the broader historiography and literary archive of South Africa, but also to unravel the complexities of diasporic identities within multiple spaces of (un)belonging and thus chronicle the narrative construction of novel formulations of self within the three selected auto/biographies.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Oos-Asiatiese bevolking is reeds vanaf die 17de eeu in Suid-Afrika teenwoordig, maar is eers vanaf die laat 20ste eeu akademies bestudeer. As gevolg hiervan is literêre tekste wat deur Oos-Asiatiese Suid-Afrikaners geskryf is hoofsaaklik onsigbaar op die gebied van Suid-Afrikaanse literatuur. Dit weerspeeldie onduidelike historiese posisie van die Oos-Asiatiese Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking, binne die sosio-politiese raamwerk van Suid-Afrikaans wees. In antwoord hierop onderneem hierdie studie die analise van die narratiewe self-posisionering in drie Oos-Asiatiese Suid-Afrikaanse outo/biografiese werke. Hierdie tekste, namens Darryl Accone se All Under Heaven: The Story of a Chinese Family in South Africa(2004), Ufrieda Ho se Paper Sons and Daughters: Growing Up Chinese in South Africa (2011) en Ming-Cheau Lin se Yellow and Confused: Born in Taiwan, raised in South Africa, and making sense of it all (2019), funksioneer as literêre navigators van die menigvuldige toegeskrewe en beweerde identiteite van die outobiografiese outeurs. Saam rekonstrueer hulle individuele en familiale geskiendenisse wat migrasie trajekte naspoor en die gevolglike verwikkelings wat die uiteenlopende aansprake op geworteldheid in die post-apartheid werklikheid maak, op die spel plaas. Hierdie studie onderneem nie net om die literêre uitsette van die Oos-Asiatiese Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking binne die breër geskiedenis en literêre argief van Suid-Afrika te posisioneer nie, maar ontrafel ook die kompleksiteite van diasporiese identiteite binne veelvoudige ruimtes waar hulle behoort/nie behoort nie en gee daarom die narratiewe konstruksie weer van innoverende formulerings van die persoon binne die drie gekose outo/biografiese werke.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109822
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