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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Cross-identification': identity games and the performance of South Africanness by Ndebele-speaking migrants in Johannesburg
Author:Siziba, Gugulethu
Year:2015
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Volume:13
Issue:4
Pages:262-278
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:immigrants
Zimbabweans
Ndebele language (Zimbabwe)
identity
sociolinguistics
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2015.1087303
Abstract:Language's centrality in how 'amakwerekwere' - those who babble - are constructed in South Africa, raises fascinating questions when attention is cast on Zimbabwean Ndebele-speaking migrants whose language is mutually intelligible with South Africa's Nguni cluster. This article draws from the narratives of Ndebele-speaking migrants in three neighbourhoods of Johannesburg and discusses how they negotiate their 'outsiderness' through a process the author terms 'cross-identification'. Cross-identification refers to the appropriation of 'Zuluness' by Ndebele-speaking migrants when they are among interlocutors without the symbolic competence to distinguish the distinctions between 'Ndebele' and 'Zulu' varieties. On the other hand, they deploy linguistic and social absence when in the presence of interlocutors endowed with such a capacity and who can call their bluff. To conclude, the author evaluates how migrants' performativity - cross-identification - is potentially also imagined. The author raises the question, if this is the case, of what this affords both the performers and audience who are complicit in this dramaturgy. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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