Illegal Immigrant

Postdoctoral researcher Duduzile Ndlovu blogs about presenting her PhD thesis – “Let me tell my own story”- a qualitative exploration of how and why ‘victims’ remember Gukurahundi in Johannesburg today –  back to the research participants she had worked with, using poetry:

…So there are seven poems in the thesis that I presented to participants. The seven poems all summarize the thesis but also function in different ways.  In our last workshop I was reading the poems as people listened and we were running out of time and so I was thinking of skipping one poem titled Illegal Immigrant when one of the participants asked that we don’t skip it. So I read the poem:

Sweet words

I keep

Under my tongue

So when you stop me

I negotiate

The bribe price

Of my freedom

Call me

Any name

I am here to stay

I will find a job

Any that affords me

To stay

I pay daily

For my stay

Yet they still

Call me

An Illegal Immigrant…

To read the rest of this blog post visit: ‘Let me tell my story: Using poetry in research‘.

About Duduzile Ndlovu

Dudu Ndlovu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand where she completed her PhD in 2017. She is a recipient of a Newton Advanced Fellowship (2018-2020) through which, she is developing a decolonial arts based research agenda using poetic inquiry.

Dr Ndlovu’s research interests include: exploring arts-based research methods as a form of decolonising knowledge production; interrogating intersectionality through narrative work; and analysing the gendered politics of memory. She has used this approach in research exploring mobility, transitional justice, memory and emerging politics in Africa’s rapidly growing cities’ populations.

Dr Ndlovu’s PhD thesis explored Zimbabwean migrants’ use of art (poetry, music, drama, film) to navigate precarious lives; speak about violence – including the Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe and xenophobia in South Africa, and memorialise those events.

Dr Ndlovu is passionate about research communication to wider audiences beyond the academy. She translated her PhD dissertation into poetry as a strategy to include the research participants.