Performances of Motherhood and Migration: Addressing the Silences of Gendered Waiting in Two South African Plays

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Despite the growing currency of migrant experiences among African women and the prominence of motherhood in reflections on African womanhood, literature and the performing arts have rarely addressed the challenges of mothering and migration together. Engaging with responses to these challenges in South African theatre, this article discusses representations of motherhood and mother–daughter relations in Yaёl Farber’s A Woman in Waiting and Magnet Theatre’s Every Year, Every Day, I am Walking. It examines how these plays relate experiences of work and forced migration and how they create nuanced portrayals of motherhood-in-migration by staging dialogues between the mothers’ and daughters’ experiences and subjectivities, which mediate both intimacy and conflict. By tracing these dialogues within the context of plotlines and performative techniques, this article identifies the ways in which the plays convey the sociality of gendered suffering, foregrounding its particularity as well as structural features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-511
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4-Jul-2019
Externally publishedYes

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