A DUT Dialogue: Storytelling of our African journeys, focused first on people’s experience of migrancy – their reasons for moving, their experience, whether positive or not. This revealed unexpected commonalities and unexpected differences. For example, hearing a Zimbabwean woman speaking of her interest in coming to KwaZulu-Natal because it was here that many of her ancestors came from, or hearing a Zulu man talk about suddenly realising that the Mozambican refugees he was meeting was so similar to him in terms of their histories.
As we moved from experience to hearing people’s analysis of the events, some clear patterns emerged. These included the fear and anxiety of South Africans who felt that they were potential targets of the hostility to strangers, perhaps marked by accent or skin colour. Others were the role of consumerism in distracting people from facing up to the real challenges of the society, and the lack of opportunity for dialogue and development of mutual understanding.
Further dialogues will target such issues across and beyond the DUT community.