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Title:The everyday experience of xenophobia: performing 'The Crossing' from Zimbabwe to South Africa
Author:Flockemann, MikiISNI
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies (ISSN 0256-0046)
Geographic term:South Africa
About person:Jonathan Khumbulani NkalaISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02560041003786516
Abstract:Debates on the underlying causes of xenophobia in South Africa have proliferated since the attacks between March and May 2008. The authors show how exploring the everyday 'ordinariness' of xenophobia as a performance can contribute additional insights not readily available in the public media. The claim that as a metaphor the meaning of performance is discovered in the dialectic established between the fictitious and actual context, provides a point of departure for a discussion of an autobiographical one-man play, 'The Crossing', in which Jonathan Nkala performs his hazardous and 'illegal' rites of passage from Zimbabwe to South Africa. The play's aesthetic of 'witnessing', associated with the protest generation, intersects with and looks beyond a post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) aesthetic. To contextualize their discussion of Nkala's work the authors track trends in responses to xenophobia, including the suggestion that the attacks were underpinned by prevailing discourses of exceptionalism and indigeneity. However, the intimacy of targeting those living close to you needs fuller analysis. The authors argue that the liminality of the performance event provides scope for making connections not directly 'there' at the moment of performance. This has a bearing on the 'return' to Fanon and claims about 'negrophobia' characterizing many reports in the public domain on the events of 2008. In turn, this invites speculation about the realignments indicated here. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]