ISBN 9789956551026
Pages 52
Dimensions 203 x 127mm
Published 2019
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Things Left Unsaid

by Rosabelle Boswell

In South Africa issues of identity remain a pressing concern and preoccupation. For some, the experience of feeling that one does not belong in South Africa, especially among Africans and African descendants, appears to be intensifying. In this first collection of poems, Rosabelle Boswell speaks of the many places in which ordinary Africans born outside of South Africa try to achieve belonging. They do so in the family context, the backyard, language, the meeting, familiar landscapes and dreams. The poems also foreground the tumult of emotions that rise from the experience of exclusion and the results of pressure when one must conform. There is panic and dislocation, desperation, fear and sense of marginality when one’s work and achievements are reduced to whether one is born in South Africa or not. According to the poet, in such a context, one can only achieve true freedom from the tyranny of belonging by psychologically walking away from the expectations of those in power and putting oneself in a ‘clearing’ where flexibility, openness and newness reside. The forest of expectations remains, but we can achieve temporary respite from it by walking away now and again. The collection spans two years of writing identity in a different form, poetry.

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About the Author

Rosabelle Boswell

Rosabelle Boswell is an anthropologist and Professor of Ocean Cultures and Heritage at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. She is also a member of the UK GCRF Project the One Ocean Hub. She is author of Le Malaise Creole: Ethnic Identity in Mauritius (Oxford: Berghahn), Representing Heritage in Zanzibar and Madagascar (Addis Ababa: Eclipse); Challenges to Identifying and Managing Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mauritius, Zanzibar and Seychelles (Dakar: Codesria) and Postcolonial African Anthropologies (coedited with F. Nyamnjoh Pretoria: HSRC Press). She has also authored many articles on cultural identity and has done ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Madagascar.  In 2010, she served as a research team leader for the Mauritius Truth and Justice Commission, examining the legacies of slavery. From 2015-2019 she served as Executive Dean of Arts at Nelson Mandela University.

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