Poking the wound – research, stories and process – thinking through the complexities
Since February 2017 myself and a colleague have been working with a small group of migrant women who live in inner-city Johannesburg. Referred to us via a local psychosocial NGO, the women all agreed to be participants in our arts-based research project exploring the experiences of women who are migrants and mothers in Johannesburg. All of the participants are asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi. They all arrived in South Africa over the past ten years having had to flee war and poverty in their home countries and crossing many borders in the hope of finally finding safety and more secure lives in South Africa. All of the women are mothers to young children. They are also all parenting alone – their husbands have either been killed, gone into hiding or are simply absent.
The group meets every Friday morning for three hours at a residential house called “The house of dreams”(owned by the NGO) in a suburb of the inner-city. The house is spacious and light. It is a place that is separate from where the women reside and away from the NGO where they attend counselling sessions. All of the women are currently receiving counselling, and many of their children do too. The traumas of living through and witnessing war, loosing loved ones again and again and, negotiating everyday life in South Africa run deep. In many ways the challenges and forms of violence faced in Johannesburg trigger and revive these traumas of the past. Life as a non-national in the inner-city is precarious and can be frightening: “We hid from the rebels…now we hide from the tsotis who want to kill us because we are foreigners” Mary told me.
To read the rest of this blog post visit ‘Mothering in the City: migrants, mothers and women who sell sex‘.
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- Negotiating the city: Exploring the intersecting vulnerabilities of non-national migrant mothers who sell sex in Johannesburg, South Africa - August 3, 2017
- Poking the wound – research, stories and process – thinking through the complexities - April 20, 2017
- ‘If this isn’t for my children, who is it for?’ Exploring experiences of structural violence among migrant mothers who sell sex in Johannesburg - March 1, 2017