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Out of context: identity rupture and repair in self-exiled white South Africans Feuchtwanger, Lawrence D. A. 1994

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OUT OF CONTEXT: IDENTITY RUPTURE AND REPAIRIN SELF-EXILED WHITE SOUTH AFRICANSByLAWRENCE D. A. FEUCHTWANGERB.A., Simon Fraser University, 1991A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Counselling Psychology)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJune, 1994© Lawrence D. A. Feuchtwanger, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives, it is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of CQUN s6LL Cc ç .j CH cx.-oThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate PuC. 29 “1kDE-6 (2/88)11AbstractCultural dislocation potentially poses a number of threats to the dislocated individual’spreviously established sense of self. For the self-exile (who is nominally free to remain inher or his country of origin but chooses--both for reasons of conscience and a desire toescape--to leave) this occurs, in large part, because of context interruption (Barudy, 1989),the loss of the socio-cultural milieu in which the self-exile’s identity was created andmaintained. A qualitative, phenomenological approach (using a case study method) wasutilized to explore the experience and meaning of self-exile for white, English-speakingSouth Africans living in Canada and to examine the impact of cultural dislocation on the self-exiled person’s sense of self (identity). Identity was defined as self-narrative, jointly createdby the individual and the culture in which he or she lives. Three co-researchers (two womenand one man) who were self-exiled from South Africa participated in this study. Duringindividual in-depth interviews which were audiotaped, the co-researchers described theirexperience of self-exile from the time that they had made the decision to leave South Africaup until a point where they felt they had come to terms with living in Canada. A comparativeanalysis was conducted to uncover structural and thematic commonalities. The self-exileexperience was seen to be structured as a story with a beginning, middle, and end, whichstructure resembled a rite of passage, with three sequential but overlapping phases:separation, transition, and incorporation (van Gennep, 1965). The beginning and middle(separation and transition) were marked by themes of exclusion and personal deficiency, thetransition by a denial of (cultural) identity, while the end (incorporation) involved a reversalof these themes, narrative resolution being achieved through a sense of inclusion, increasedself-worth and identity acceptance.111TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstractAcknowledgementsDedicationQuotesCHAPTER I. INTRODUCTIONStatement of the ProblemSelf-exile: a definitionRationale for, and Approach to, the StudyPersonal ReflectionsCHAPTER II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 13Dislocation as opportunityDevelopmental factors in dislocationModels of transition and adaptation toIdentityThe self in contextSelf as narrativeThe embodied selfSelf as moral construct .Identity, morality, and cultureApproach of the Present InvestigationCase study methodNarrative interviewingInterpretation and analysis15.274345a new culture 4748485054565759606263CHAPTER ifi. METHODOLOGY 6666686969717172747411VViVii11258“Resolving the Irresolvable”: The White ‘Liberal’ in South AfricaExileResearch DesignProceduresCo-researchersCriteria for selectionResearch InterviewScreening interviewNarrative interview .Validation interviewCase Study Accounts: Stories of Self-ExileComparative Analysis (and Interpretive Comments) . . 75CHAPTER IV. RESULTS: STORIES OF SELF-EXILEiv79Claire’s StoryInterpretive commentsJane’s StoryInterpretive commentsPaul’s StoryInterpretive commentsValidation Interview79100105125132152159SeparationTransitionIncorporationCHAPTER VI. DISCUSSION162• . . 162165165174• . . 183194LimitationsImplications for TheoryImplications for PracticeImplications for Future ResearchSummary195196201204204APPENDIX A:APPENDIX B:Letter of Initial ContactConsent Form218219CHAPTER V. COMPARATIVE ANALYSISNarrative Structure: Self-Exile as a Rite of PassageThemes of Meaning and Narrative Events . . .REFERENCES 206VAcknowledgementsThis thesis would not have reached completion were it not for the support,involvement, and encouragement of a number of people. I would, therefore, like to thank:My thesis supervisor, Dr. Larry Cochran who, in sharing with me a small part of hisextensive knowledge, provided valuable insights and pithy comments that helped this thesisachieve its final form.The members of my committee, Dr. Florence Pieronek and Dr. Mary Westwood, fortheir contributions in improving this thesis. In addition, Dr. Westwood’s mentorshipthroughout the Master’s program was important to me both professionally and personally.The participants in this study who, in sharing their stories with me, gave generouslyof their time and of themselves.My mother, Renate, and my late father, Herbert, for their tremendous generosity,support, and faith in me over my years as a student.My wife, Debbie, for her patience, her understanding, her nurturing, and hergenerosity of spirit through this lengthy process, and for picking up the slack when I mostneeded it.My family and friends who encouraged and put up with me.Trout Lake, where many of the ideas for this thesis were born, and where I oftensought escape and refreshment of spirit whenever this project overwhelmed me.viTo my son, Eli,who will grow up in a world free of apartheidviiThe incorrigible sorrow of all prisoners and exiles.. .is to live in company with a memorythat serves no purpose. . . . Hostile to the past, impatient of the present and cheated of thefuture.Albert Camus, The PlagueThe worst aspect of exile is that distance, in time and place, drains a place from ourmemory. That which remains in our thoughts no longer exists on firm ground: it grows, itchanges without us. There is no escape from this, except to construct, like Robinson Crusoe,an icon of that place elsewhere.Alberto Manguel, Out of PlaceHome is not only the place from which we start, but that to which we must inevitably return.William Barrett, Irrational Man1CHAPTER IIntroductionStatement Of the ProblemExile, banishment from one’s homeland, is as old as humankind itself. Or as old, atleast, as human mythology. The stories of Adam and Eve, Cain, Oedipus: these archetypal,proscriptive tales of expulsion form central narratives in Judaeo-Christian and Westernculture. Yet it is not just in tales of antiquity that the displaced individual remains a potentsymbol. Although the exile may no longer hold mythological status in a largely secular,materialist world, war and political repression, endemic in this century, has made of theexile a particularly appropriate motif for our own age, “indeed the age of the refugee, thedisplaced person, mass immigration” (Said, 1984, p. 159).For those who, for whatever reason, leave their homeland and move to anothercountry, the process of “adjusting to a new cultural context, inevitably challenges, confuses,threatens, and invalidates, to varying degrees, [their] previously achieved sense of identity”(Ishiyama, 1989, p. 57). This is as true for those who voluntarily relocate, e.g. emigrants(Polyzoi, 1985; Taft, 1977), foreign students (Ishiyama, 1989), and other temporarysojourners (Furnham & Bochner, 1986; Oberg, 1960), as it is for those forcibly dislocated,viz, refugees (Chan & Lam, 1987; Schonmeier, 1987; Weiss & Parish, 1989) and politicalexiles (Barudy, 1989; Rocha Lima, 1984).For those who choose to move to another country, problems of identity change andmaintenance may be experienced due to culture shock (Adler, 1985; Oberg, 1960), seU’shock(Zaharna, 1989), or personal invalidation (Ishiyama, 1989, 1991). Involuntary relocatees willlikely confront not only these difficulties, but may also suffer from further synergistically2interrelated psychological, socio-cultural, and physiological stresses (Scudder & Colson,1982), involving possible psychosomatic problems (Shisana & Celentano, 1987), psychoticepisodes, depression, suicide and violence (Williams, Garcia-Peltoniemi, & Ben-Porath,1988), prolonged grieving (Pollock, 1988), marital and family difficulties (Agger & Jensen,1989; Gilad, 1990), and excessive guilt (Gonsalves, 1990). Any or all of these may pose athreat to the integrity of the self.Some researchers (Adler, 1975; Ishiyama 1991) have also pointed out the potentialfor cultural transition to occasion positive change by providing “opportunities for personalgrowth and increasing awareness of self in a bicultural or multicultural context” (Ishiyama,p. 5).Although there is growing awareness of the adjustment and adaptation difficulties (andpotentialities) which exist for both those who choose, and those who are forced, to relocate,there is little or nothing in the psychological literature which explores the experiences ofthose who do not fall clearly into either of these categories: the se(f’exiled.Seff-exile: a definition. Historically the term “exile” was used to refer to expulsionas a result of a sin or crime committed (Cain) or even in anticipation of a wrong yet to beperpetrated (Oedipus). Exile functioned as both punishment for offenders and as a powerfulthreat to potential transgressors. Although, sometimes, the condition of exile spurred theindividual to great achievements (May, 1991; Said, 1984), “exile generally destroyed thepsychic life of the person exiled; he was broken literally [sic] by being without a country”(May, p. 52).However, in a cynical age wary of political authority, the meaning of exile has beenaltered, partially inverted, in the process becoming more acceptable. Rather than being a3broken figure, justly punished, someone to be despised, feared, pitied, the exile has acquiredromantic, even exemplary status (Gordimer, 1989; Said, 1984).This romanticization of exile persists even though “exile as a mode of genius nolonger exists” (Gordimer, 1989, p. 288) and “the achievements of exile.. .are no more thanefforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement” (Said, 1984, p. 159). Exileis as likely, perhaps more likely, to stunt and thwart a person’s sense of self, as it is todeepen and enrich it, creating individuals with “amputated sensibilities” (Gordimer, p. 288).(It is, however, important to remember that cultural dislocation can foster as well as hamperpersonal growth.)The various meanings of the term exile have been further complicated by theexistence of a hybridized, hyphenated category of exile: “self-imposed exile” or, simply,“self-exiled”. These terms are, to some extent, oxymorons, the voluntariness implied by theword “self” contradicted by the word “exile” which follows. These terms have, in the sameromantic spirit noted above, been applied to artists (like James Joyce) not formally expelledfrom their home countries, nor even, necessarily, having fled in fear of persecution, but whochose to leave and to not return to their country of origin.’Such terminological confusion has led some researchers (e.g. Rocha Lima, 1984) toignore the differences and lump the varieties of exile together. It is, however, precisely thedistinctions that are important. The crux of the difference between the “true” exile and theself-exile lies in the degree and type of choice involved. Unlike the refugee or “true” exile,forced out by government decree and, equally, unlike like the emigrant who leaves primarilyout of a desire for improvement or change, the self-exiled person is, in strictly legal terms,1 have used the term “country of origin” throughout to denote the place which the selfexile has left regardless of whether or not she was born there.4free to stay but feels compelled to leave, in part by political or moral belief, in part by adesire to escape. (Although I recognize that none of these definitions of the variousdislocated groups is “pure” and that there are areas of overlap, I believe that, in general, thecategories hold true.)The self-exile thus occupies a uniquely ambiguous position. Legally and otherwiseable to stay in his country, in large part wanting to remain he, nonetheless, decides to leave,both as a form of moral and political protest and as a flight from, what feels to him to be,an intolerable social and/or political environment. The contradictions and anguish inherentin this position were eloquently expressed by one of the participants in this study whodescribed his self-exile as a “a wound that was, in part, self inflicted but [one made] withoutany choice”.Self exile is, then, by its very nature, an ambivalent act. Unable to “reconcile theirreconcilable within himself” (Gordimer, 1982, p. 278), to fight (or continue to fight) forchange within his own country, the individual flees. But whereas the “true” exile is usuallyexpelled as the result of some political act, for the self-exiled person, exile may itself be anact of protest. As a challenge to the status quo, however, it is, probably, largely ineffectual.It may be perceived (both by the self-exile and by others) as, simultaneously, a gesture ofdefiance and one of futility, a statement of solidarity with the downtrodden and an act ofabandonment and betrayal. This is the legacy of ambiguity which the self-exile takes withher into her adoptive country.The distinction between the various types of dislocated persons (immigrants, refugees,exiles, self-exiles) is also one of temporality, of how time is experienced. While theemigrant, on the journey to her adoptive home, is transformed into an immigrant--fromsomeone leaving into someone arriving--the exile continues to be defined in relation to what5he has left, even after arrival in a new country. And although people are not simplydetermined by their labels (the immigrant may remain locked in the past, the exile2 maydevelop a sense of the future) the terms by which we are identified often express someinherent truth about the conditions of our lives.So, while the immigrant, with the occasional glance back, is more likely to look andmove forward into the future, the refugee or exile often gazes longingly into the past whilebacking into the future (Westwood & Lawrance, 1990; Zwingmann, cited in Chan & Lam,1987). Those, like some exiles, who live lives in which past and future are inverted can beconsidered to be among “the unhappiest” of people (Crites, 1986, p. 152, followingKierkegaard).Rationale for. and Approach to, the StudyBecause of the unique position occupied by the self-exile amongst dislocated groups,it seems likely that, while the self-exiled person will face some of the same threats to the selfas those confronted by both the emigrant and the “true” exile, it is probably also true thatshe will have to deal with issues that are particular to her own situation. Given the uniqueambiguities of self-exile, such issues as guilt, ambivalence (Westwood & Lawrance, 1990),and shame, for example, will likely be experienced differently than they are by either theimmigrant or the refugee. This thesis examines the effects and processes of identity changein a particular self-exiled group: white, English-speaking South Africans living in Canada.The focus on one particular racial group is not intended as a racist distinction, but2 Here, and hereafter, I have used the term exile in its broadest sense to refer to alldislocated people who are not strict immigrants. Where a distinction is intended betweendifferent types of exile I have used the terms “refugee”, “ ‘true’ exile”, or “self-exile”.6rather reflects the racist reality within South Africa. Possibilities for people of colour toleave South Africa under their own volition were, and still are, severely limited financiallyand otherwise. Non-English speaking whites (i.e. Afrikaners) have in general chosen not toleave, having much closer ties to their country. For the most part it has been the white,English-speaking, middle-class who have chosen emigration or self-exile (Crapanzano, 1985).In addition, because of the divisions, structurally (and, until recently, legally), along racialand socio-linguistic lines within South African society, the lives of people in each of thesevarious groups has been vastly different. Consequently, the experiences of cross-culturaldislocation would be very different for members of each of those groups.Every culture is unique and the experience of cross-cultural dislocation differsdepending on both the self-exile’s culture of origin and his culture of adoption. A study thesize of this one (relatively small), I believe can do more justice to its topic by examining theexperience of a single cultural group than by a more generalized approach. The applicabilityof any findings to other groups (of self-exiles or of dislocated persons generally) might betested through subsequent research.Although much cross-cultural research recognizes that uprooting impacts uponidentity, in most studies, what constitutes identity is often left undefined or simply implicit.This tends to limit fuller understanding of the ways in which, and processes by which,identity may be affected for the culturally displaced person. This thesis attempts to addressthis lack by incorporating a definition of identity as personal narrative or text, a definitiontaken from certain personological (Crites, 1986; McAdams, 1988a, 1988b, 1990; Sarbin,1986), postmodernist (Gergen, 1988), and anthropological theories (Gagnon, 1992; Langness& Frank, 1981).Implicit and, often, explicit in these approaches is the recognition that no narrative7is created in isolation. That is, each personal text exists in, and by virtue of, a largercontext, the socio-cultural milieu which helps create and sustain a personal narrative. Thisinterweaving or “interpenetration” (Bruner, 1983, p. 11) of text and context is recognizedboth in sociological research (Manis, 1971; Mead, 1934, 1970; Sampson, 1989; D’Andrade,1990) and psychological literature (e.g. Erikson, 1959; Weinreich, 1988) as well as by somepsychiatric approaches (e.g. Suffivan, 1947; Laing 1962).Since a person’s self-narrative is created and maintained within a socio-culturalcontext, uprooting, involving “context interruption” (Barudy, 1989, p. 724) will occasion abreak in life story. If dislocation occasions self-narrative rupture, how is this experiencedby the person? Can the person for whom such a break has occurred repair his sense of self?If so, how? That is, how can, and do, self-exiles pick up the severed threads of their lifestories and weave them into new, coherent narratives following such a break? Or, putdifferently, how have self-exiled South Africans re-authored (White & Epston, 1990) theiridentities in a new, unfamiliar cultural milieu? These are the questions that follow from theresearch question which this thesis attempts to explore: “What is the experience andmeaning of identity transformation for self-exiled, white South Africans?”Just as cross-cultural research has tended to leave identity undefined, so the literatureon identity as personal narrative has not examined identity change as a result of culturaldislocation. It is my hope that, by attempting to integrate these two areas of research, thisstudy may contribute to both.Although interviews for qualitative studies take place under the heading of research,I believe that the process of story-telling, regardless of its purpose, may also be therapeutic(Birren & Deutchman, 1991). (Where the researcher shares a common cultural history or lifestory with the co-researchers the therapeutic benefits may exist for both parties [Rocha-Lima,81984].) This is due to the beneficial effects of “bearing witness” (Agger & Jensen, 1990) andof “making confession” as a means of expiating possible guilt and shame and achieving self-forgiveness. In the case of self-exiled South Africans, both the giving of testimony to theirown personal struggles (as well as to the larger political struggle in South Africa), andrelieving unresolved feelings about having “run away” from that struggle, may constituteimportant elements in the healing process.Personal ReflectionsUnderlying any formal rationale for research are often significant personal reasonsthat the researcher has for pursuing his particular subject. This is certainly so in my case.Since leaving South Africa almost exactly 20 years ago I have struggled to come to termswith the effects of living away from the country where I was born and spent my formativeyears. When I left, as a young man, I had no inkling that I was leaving permanently; I wassimply running away (or trying to), as much from my self as from the country.For many years after leaving I denied or remained largely unaware of why or in whatways dislocation had impacted upon me. I saw my struggle to adjust to living in Canada asrelated mostly to personal issues and problems. Having grown up as a privileged person ina racially divided society with the attendant luxury of being able to leave, I tended todiscount any difficulties or distress that I experienced at being away from my country andmy community because, a) my problems were as nothing compared to the sufferings of SouthAfrican blacks (both in South Africa and in exile) and, b) because as a white, person ofEuropean heritage (a cultural configuration which I shared with mainstream Canadianculture) I could not understand why, and therefore accept that, I would have difficultyadjusting to living here.9Nowhere, in my reading or elsewhere, did I come across anything that spoke to myexperience. That is, until I entered the counselling program and began to read and hear aboutthe effects of cultural dislocation. Even then, there was little that related directly to myexperience. I encountered material on refugees, on immigrants, on student and worksojourners, but nothing on the peculiar twilight world of self-exile.Yet despite my lack of understanding and my denial, certain feelings of alienation,guilt, longing, ambivalence, and shame persisted. Even when I started on this project I felta tentativeness and ambivalence, a desire to hide or disguise my topic of research. Iquestioned the value and legitimacy of my focus, feeling that there were (and are) so manymore serious problems in the world that needed dealing with, that the anguish of someuprooted but privileged white South Africans was insignificant. Like Lessing (1992) I sawthat refusal, that inability to ‘take in’ [i.e. simply accept] my exclusion, as asymptom of innate babyishness: mine, and too, the inhabitants of privilegedcountries, safe countries, for there are more and more people in the world who havehad to leave, been driven from, a country, the valley, the city they call home,because of war, plague earthquake, famine. (p. 13)I felt embarrassed, a little ashamed at what seemed a self-indulgent project.It is, of course, obvious that there are worse problems in the world than thoseexperienced by me and other self-exiles. But as my research progressed I came to understandbetter the phenomenon of self-exile and the potential value, both personal and professional,of my researching in this area (and to also recognize the source of my reluctance to publiclyacknowledge what I was doing). I realized that as an aspiring counsellor wanting to work inthe area of cross-cultural counselling it is to the potential benefit of both my future clientsand myself to have an understanding of my own experience of dislocation and of my culturalidentity. The very fact that I felt some guilt and shame at undertaking this research perhapsspoke most eloquently to my need to explore it. If something is too uncomfortable to look10at perhaps it is that which most needs examining.Serendipitously, this research neared completion at exactly the same time that SouthAfrica was undergoing an historic change, the end of official apartheid and over 300 yearsof white domination, an end to the very conditions which I had fled. (Although I realize thatone election does not undo all of history or its effects, this election did mean the end of theevil of legislatively sanctioned racial separation which was, in large part, what I wasescaping.)When I started on this thesis in 1993 (the actual research, that is, since the thinkinghad started some time before) South Africa was still under the yoke of apartheid althoughthe winds of change were picking up. What had begun, some year earlier as a slight stirringhad increased to a stiff breeze. As I approached the end of writing, a whirlwind wassweeping across South Africa, the country’s first democratic, all-race election had justoccurred and on the very morning on which I began writing the last segments of this study(May 10), Nelson Mandela, who had spent 27 years in prison for opposing apartheid, wasinducted as the country’s first truly democratically elected president.On that same day I opened the Manchester Guardian to see a review (Gevisser, 1994)of a book of interviews with South Africans in exile which seemed to give lie to the claim,which I had made in my literature review, that no such research existed. However, broadlyspeaking, my claim does still stand; while this book (Bernstein 1994) concerns theexperiences of “true” exiles my subject is self-exiles.The experience of being overtaken by history is a strange one and alters one’sexperience and evaluation of past events. In fact, the changes in South Africa serve toillustrate the point made by this research that narrative is ongoing, that the meaning of pastexperiences changes as events unfold. (As I was editing my literature review I found that,11in many instances, I had to change the tense from present to past in referring to exilesleaving South Africa, since the conditions to which I was referring had changed between thetime of writing and that of editing.)Watching these remarkable and wonderful events take place in what I still regard asmy own country, has reconnected me both to my birthplace and joined me to others likemyself, dislocated and in self-exile. Like the participants in this thesis my exile experiencehas been marked by isolation, shame, and denial of my cultural identity. Watching Mandelaemerge from prison, watching blacks and whites (and shades in between) line up togetherto cast their votes, watching the old South African flag come down and the new go up,hearing the new national anthem sung, and Mandela being sworn in as the first blackpresident were profound experiences, the reverberations of which will continue for mebeyond the completion of this research. Although I observed these events from a greatgeographical distance and through the limiting media of radio, television, and newspaper Ishared the sentiments expressed by Johnson (1994), an academic exiled in London who hadreturned to South Africa to observe the elections:Those of us who grew up here have known all our lives that majority rule must comeand in that sense all our lives have been converging on this point since birth. Nowat last we are at the end of that beginning and about to start history anew. (p. 6)Beyond any personal value to me, however, it is my hope that this research mayprove of use to others by adding something to the understanding of the effects of culturaldislocation, its costs and potentialities, in general. I hope that those who read this thesis,South African, ex-South African (is there such a thing?), and others, will find some insightinto the difficulties of being cut off from one’s roots and the possibility for renewed hopeand healing for the dislocated person.12CHAPTER ILReview of the LiteratureRecent figures (Employment & Immigration Canada, 1992; Statistics Canada, 1992)indicate that, while far from being the largest group of newcomers to Canada, SouthAfricans, nonetheless, represent a significant number of the more recent arrivals in thiscountry. In 1991 some 25,165 South Africans (i.e. born in South Africa) were residing inCanada, of whom almost one quarter (6,165) lived in B.C. In that same year the number ofpermanent residents destined for Vancouver who had last resided in South Africa (though notnecessarily been born there) numbered 1,916. Although this last figure may not seem largeit was the highest number, by more than a factor of two, of immigrants (including refugeesand exiles) from any African country then living in Vancouver. (Kenya, with 859 permanentresidents was next highest.) This flow of South Africans across the Atlantic and the Equatorto Canada was (and may still be) the source of wry commentary by members ofJohannesburg’s Jewish community, who called Toronto “Jo’burg [Johannesburg] on ice” anironic reference to both the colder climate and the sense of being in limbo (“put on ice!! )experienced by the many Jewish Johannesburgers who have settled there.Statistics and aphorisms, while useful in capturing the extent and some of the flavourof cultural relocation are, however, limited, ignoring crucial distinctions within the category“South African”. White ex-South Africans who left that country while it was still underapartheid and who subsequently settled in Canada, while having in common both their placeof departure and that of arrival, comprised three distinct groups (apart from their racialclassifications): emigres, “true” exiles, and self-exiles. Each group had its own uniquereasons for leaving, experiences of dislocation, and problems in resettling. As noted13previously, it is with the last of these groups that this research is concerned.For the researcher attempting a review of the literature pertaining to white SouthAfricans who chose and have remained in self-exile, a problem exists: research in this areais all but non-existent. Non-fictional autobiographical accounts have been written by whiteSouth Africans who were forced into permanent exile (e.g. Donald Woods, 1987), by otherswho were ordered out but returned illegally (e.g. Breytenbach, 1984, 1993), still others whowere kicked out and returned legally (e.g. Kitson, 1987), and individuals who chose exilebut then returned to live in South Africa (e.g. Malan, 1990). There are also a number ofnovels (Brink, 1991; Slovo, 1989) short stories (Moss, 1985; Shute, 1992), and plays(Hershier, 1993) which are concerned with or refer to the experience of exile.3 In addition,some South Africans who remained in that country but who contemplated the possibility ofexile have speculated on and written, often disparagingly (e.g. Gordimer, 1983, 1989), aboutthose who left their homeland.Perhaps for reasons of shame, guilt, or a simple lack of belief in the worth of theirown stories, especially when compared to the sufferings and tribulations of those leftbehind,4 writings by permanently self-exiled white South Africans or about theirexperiences, rather than books by such people about the country they have left (e.g. AdamIt is not my intention to draw heavily upon such fictional narratives, but insofar as“cultural identities are formed and informed by a nation’s literature” (Morrison, 1992, p.39), they are relevant to this discussion.For example the fictional exile, Martha, in Slovo’s Ties of Blood (1989), hears “areproving inner voice. . . scold[ing] her for being so self-indulgent. What [she] had sufferedwas as nothing when compared to the sufferings of black South Africans [italics addedi” (p.668).14and Moodley, 1993) have not been written.5 It is, therefore, to the related writings notedabove, as well as to the extensive literature on cultural uprooting and relocation, that I havelooked for clues as to the lives of self-exiled South Africans.“Resolving the irresolvable”: the white ‘liberal’ in South AfricaSurely one can be an exile only abroad, in some foreign land. Or is another kind of exileconceivable, inside the place you love?Andre Brink, An Act of TerrorAlthough, from one perspective, the decision by a white South African to leave hishomeland represented a beginning (the start of life in exile) in many ways it also constitutedan ending (of life in South Africa), as well as a major turning-point in a psychologicaljourney begun some time before.6 In effect, this journey began with the awareness of livingin a racially divided country, with the asking of the question, “What does it mean to be aSouth African, [a question] only white people in South Africa ever feel the need to askthemselves or each other... .Is there such a being as a white African? Who decides?”As this research was being completed one such book, The Rift: The Exile Experienceof South Africans (Bernstein, 1994) was published in England but was not yet available inCanada.6 A note about tenses: as mentioned earlier, the very recent changes in political andsocial conditions in South Africa required me to change many verbs from the present to thepast tense, as circumstances that were ongoing when I first wrote the review had altered bythe final editing. Thus, in the discussion of growing up white in South Africa and inreferring to writings on that subject I have used the past tense. Similarly, in discussing theexile experience of the white South African (in the literature review) I have maintained theuse of the past tense since, even though some of the conditions, experiences, and effectsupon exiles may have persisted into the present, they initially occurred during a period whenlegalised apartheid was still in place.15(Gordimer, 1983, P. 117).Until recently, this question was asked implicitly each day of a white South African’slife. It was encoded in the actions she took, or failed to take, from the moment of wakingto the time of going to sleep. It encompassed both the moral and the practical, both altruismand self-interest: “Can one live in an apartheid society and not be contaminated? Can Ialleviate black suffering? Will I survive as a white in South Africa?” (Frankental & Sham,1986, p. 219). In an environment in which systemic discrimination pervaded every aspectof life, infected every interaction, there was no escape from the demands of such questions.Retreat into a private, non-political sphere was impossible because, “unlike depoliticizedWestern liberal democracies in which civil society exists independent of the state, hardly anysphere in [South Africa] escapes politicization. The public and the private merge [italicsadded.” (Adam & Moodley, 1993, p. 24).The individual may have attempted to resist the politicizing of what he saw as hisprivate life by means of denial, rationalization, or adherence to a justificatory ideology.Apartheid, however, was not a psychological construct that could be thought away, but anomnipresent social and psychological reality: “To be born a South African [is] to bepresented with given facts of race on the same level of reality as the absolute facts of birthand death” (Gordimer, 1983, p. 119). Challenging, and overturning, such “facts”, on whichthe individual’s world view and sense of self had been built, invariably created crises ofconscience and of identity.Not surprisingly, the white South African’s questioning of the absolutes of apartheidand of his place in the socio-political schema, was usually coincident with the period ofadolescence (Frankental & Sham, 1986) which, in Western developmental theories, is theperiod of identity formation (Erikson, 1959). For Gordimer (1983), the resultant shift in16world view and formation of a new social identity constituted a “second consciousness” or“rebirth” (p. 119). The process, as the term “rebirth” implies, occurred not without pain andinvolved a fundamental questioning of the self, of one’s place in the world, of one’s rightto that place.7The question, “Is there such a being as a white African?” however answered,implied the possibility of non-belonging and, if answered in the negative, opened the doorto the option of self-exile.For white, English-speaking South Africans, the sense of non-belonging, of beingonly temporarily in, South Africa, may have been particularly acute, derived from culturaland historical experience. Modern South Africa is, like Canada, a relatively young nation,having first been visited by Europeans less than 400 years ago. While the Huguenots(forebears of the present-day Afrikaners) fleeing persecution in Europe, saw South Africaas a land of deliverance from suffering, a holy land somewhat akin to how Zionist Jews haveviewed Israel (Akenson, 1992), the English came as colonizers. In contrast to the Afrikanerswho severed their ties with their homeland, the English came mostly to explore and exploitthe land while remaining culturally and politically loyal to Britain (Lessing, 1992).Subsequent immigrants from Europe, including non-English speakers, identified withand were mostly absorbed into the English-speaking community. Even those fleeingpersecution, such as Jews at the beginning of this century escaping the Russian pogroms or,some years later, fleeing Nazi Germany, maintained an attachment to their European roots,or saw Zionist Israel, not South Africa, as their natural motherland (Sichel, 1966). Thus, inthe Jewish South African home, “talk of emigration” was not uncommon, “emigrationThis is not to suggest that adolescence for whites in South Africa was, necessarily, anymore traumatic or difficult than for teenagers elsewhere, only that there were added uniqueproblems arising from the particular socio-political configurations in South Africa that thewhite adolescent had to negotiate in addition to “normal” developmental issues.17[being] a possibility.. .not to be feared” (Frankental & Sham, 1986, P. 213).Following World War II many Europeans (especially British and German) came totake skilled jobs reserved for whites under newly established apartheid laws. While some ofthese people settled in South Africa, many returned to their own countries taking theirearnings with them. Even those who stayed tended to see themselves more as expatriates ofa foreign homeland than as South Africans.But regardless of whether white South Africans saw themselves as living in a “settlercolony” or a “colony of exploitation” (Adam and Moodley, 1993, p. 19), whether they weretemporary or permanent residents, whether they were of a first or subsequent generation ofsettlers, they often felt an ambivalence characteristic of those living at one remove from theircultural origins “suffering [a] sense of both cultural insecurity and cultural secondariness”(Wagner, 1991, p. 10). Thus,English-speaking South Africans consider themselves to be part of an internationalEnglish-speaking community. They are South Africans by residence, by citizenship,and by an ill-defmed congeries of sentiments that perhaps can best be summed up as“attachment”. They do not... identify as strongly, as quintessentially, with theircountry as do the Afrikaners. Although they are infuriated when the Afrikaner castsdoubt on their feelings for South Africa, they do recognize--they often contemplate--the possibility of living elsewhere. They do not consider emigration a betrayal,although those who do emigrate. . . do at times consider their move an abandonment.(Crapanzano, 1986, p. 102)Crapanzano’s observations notwithstanding, doubts about belonging were not confinedsimply to English-speakers but were also felt by the Afrikaner who experienced a kind of‘schizophrenia’, living with one foot in Europe and the other in Africa [caught between] theyearning to arrive and the stubborn refusal to yield to it” (Brink, 1992, p. 159).The attempt to resolve such “schizophrenia” led to some creative, but convolutedthinking. For example, Malan (1990) argued for his right to a place on the Southern tip ofthe African continent by invoking a mythico-anthropological linking of all peoples, white and18black, through their common origins in the earliest African hominids. His argument is lesscompelling for any anthropological accuracy it may contain than for its narrativeinventiveness borne of its author’s desperation to feel allowed to belong to the place of hisbirth.Each of these different responses--denial of attachment to South Africa, leaving SouthAfrica, defending, explaining or justifying one’s place in South Africa--were linked to asense of guilt, or at least of complicity in the “great South African lie” (Gordimer, 1983, p.119) and the resultant attempts to expiate the guilt and evade complicity. If to be black inSouth Africa was to “break the law because I am alive” (a Black activist quoted byGordimer, 1989, p. 271), then to be white was to be deemed guilty simply by virtue of one’swhiteness whether or not one accepted this guilt. Guilt accrued to the white person as amember of that group on whose behalf blacks, by dint of their mere existence, were turnedinto lawbreakers. The privileges, economic, social, and other, into which the white SouthAfrican was born, were secured by the oppression and exploitation of blacks, whether or notthe white person ascribed to or actively supported such institutionalized racism.In such an environment, “nothing is innocent; there can be no refuge from theramifications of injustice and thus no escape for the morally responsible person [italicsaddedj from the imperative to confront them” (Wagner, 1991, p. 20). But in a morallyinverted society such as South Africa, where oppression and exploitation were not onlywidespread but, until very recently, legislatively sanctioned (and mandated) and judiciallyenforced, the impulse by a member of the “oppressor race” to confront injustice, was fraughtwith potential difficulties and contradictions.The acknowledgement of guilt by a white person in apartheid South Africa, hisacceptance that he shared in the collective culpability of whites, may have constituted the19beginnings of a moral consciousness (see Sue & Sue, 1991, P. 114 on the dissonance stagein white identity development, and discussion below, “Identity, morality, and culture”).Although guilt is normally taken to be a negative to the extent that it implies wrongdoing onthe part of the guilty person, acceptance of one’s guilt, especially in a society largely devoidof self-remorse, may be considered an identity attribute (Barudy, 1989).Although a person’s sense of self derives, in part, from a sense of commonality withothers (e.g. white, South African), it is also created by differentiation (e.g. liberal notreactionary, guilty not guiltless). Sartre (1985) points this out in the distinction between thepurely phenomenological being-in-itseif and the more self-aware being-for-itsef whichimparts self-definition or identity, to some extent, by excluding or negating those aspects andattributes that do not fit with the individual’s beliefs about her self. That is, what a personis, or sees herself to be, is, in large part defined by what she sees herself as not (Sullivan,1947).In the South African context, part of the white liberal’s identity relied on his seeinghimself as being different from those who overtly or tacitly supported apartheid and, to someextent, this may have derived from his willingness to accept and feel guilt at havingbenefitted from apartheid. By virtue of owning his guilt (or complicity), the white SouthAfrican distinguished between himself as a morally aware individual, sensitive to thesufferings of others, and those whites who saw themselves as blameless.Simple acknowledgement of one’s guilt, however, was usually considered aninsufficient response in an environment of such overwhelming injustice “the whole conceptof ‘guilt’ [being injadequate to contain what I felt, what had happened, what happens everyday” (Brink, 1992, p. 364) in South Africa. Instead ofjust feeling guilty, what was required,20what was expected, was the taking of responsibility, action rather than simple sincerity ofremorse, especially with “the rise of Black Consciousness as a political force [which] madethe unsung heroism of simply bearing witness and ‘opposing in the mind’ even less of aviable alternative to flight than it had been before” (Wagner, 1990, p. 27).But in a society divided figuratively as well as literally into black and white, wheremorality was often perceived in absolutes, all political action, even total commitment to thecause, may have been considered tainted, morally suspect, throwing into question both themotivations of the actor and the effectiveness of her actions. Thus, in the writings ofGordimer, one finds a “consistent dismissal of typical white South African ‘liberals’ ashypocritical, prone to posturing, and ineffectual” (Wagner, 1991, p. 17). Gordimerdisparaged the beliefs and actions of all liberals,those who do little more than embrace alternative lifestyles and attitudes whichincorporate a disapproval of apartheid... . those who attempt to involve themselves insome sort of anti-apartheid activism [but who] betray a self-righteous and insensitiverigidity of response [and that] small group of white liberals. . . who eventually clumsilyrisk life itself for their beliefs” (Wagner, pp 13-17).Such dismissal, however, may have belied feelings of personal insufficiency as wellas fears about change. Thus, Gordimer’s writings, even while criticizing liberal hypocrisyalso eloquently, and perhaps unconsciously, “echo the fears, despair, and sense of impotenceexperienced by liberals” (Wagner, 1991, p. 12). Gordimer also rejected radical solutionsinvolving mass armed resistance, for fear of endorsing violence which might have meant notonly the end of a corrupt South Africa but the beginning of another society born out of, andbuilt on, the corrupting influences of that violence.Likewise, Malan (1990) was largely scornful of any political action undertaken bywhites, even when involving considerable personal sacrifice, such as the years of enforcedisolation endured by Helen Joseph, the first white South African to be put under house21arrest. To Malan, who felt such sentiments even more strongly than did Gordimer, whiteliberals were hypocrites, white radicals phoneys, pretending to have “black souls” byadopting black names, appropriating black symbols (e.g. forms of dress and undress), andaffecting black mannerisms. More damning, from Malan’s perspective, such radicals werealmost laughably ineffectual, their political hij inks tolerated by an amused police force whopointed to their permitting of such activities as evidence that South Africa was a democracy.It was as if, for Malan, the stain of guilt and shame was so deeply rooted that almost anyattempt by whites to remove it was, by definition, insufficient, self-serving, and doomed tofailure.Consequently, in My Traitor’s Heart (1990), Malan’s account of his return to SouthAfrica from self-imposed exile, the only white individuals who, in any way, came close tocompensating for the sins of the white people as a whole were a white couple, Neil andCreina Alcock who, by choosing to live and work with a group of impoverished blacks ona destitute piece of land, underwent a physical “descent” into black poverty and culture, intowhat, for most whites would have been a kind of hell.Having foregone all luxury, all privilege, all vestige of their previous white existence,(other than their skins which they could not shed) the Alcocks, in Malan’s (1990) portrayal,became one with the blacks, Neil even suffering the eventual fate of many blacks when hewas killed in a bloody internecine battle by some of the very people with whom he had triedto work. Through his life of suffering and subsequent death, however, he achieved, inMalan’s eyes, a form of spiritual ascension through physical suffering, a redemption not onlyfor himself, but also for the white race into which he was born. Neil Alcock thus stood (andstands) as a Christ-like figure, symbolizing, for Malan (1990), a sacrificial lamb on the altarof apartheid.22My use of religious language and imagery here is intentional reflecting, I believe,Malan’s (1990) own cry for absolution from the “original sin” of being white in a land wherewhites, as Malan saw it, had forfeited any claim to, or hope for, moral redemption by virtueof their corrupt behaviour. Malan’s search was a secular response, opposed to but reflectiveof, the Calvinistic religious fundamentalism that undergirded the Afrikaners’ God-fearing,God-invoked claims to racial primacy (Akenson, 1992). Although Malan claimed to speakfor no one other than himself, the cynicism, despair and self-loathing he expressed were notunique to him or atypical amongst white South Africans.The writings of both Gordimer (1983, 1989) and Malan (1990) can best be understoodas responses to “the irresolvable nature of the personal dilemmas” (Wagner, 1991, p. 9) inwhich the white person of conscience in South Africa had, until recently, found himself.Guilty as the result of an originally unchosen event, his birth as a white, he felt he must,nevertheless, choose whether or not to act against the consequences of that event. If heanswered the call to activism in the affirmative, the struggle in which he engaged was oftenfelt to be Sysiphean, with no promise of resolution or absolution either during or after hislifetime. (The fact that, for many, events have proved otherwise, does not alter howconditions were perceived at the time.)Not all commentators shared such a negative view of white liberalism as didGordimer (1983, 1989) or Malan (1990), but even those who saw a place for white liberalsin the liberation struggle noted that they could only be “junior partners” (van Rensburg,1962, p. 191) to an African (i.e. black) nationalist leadership. Although the African NationalCongress (ANC) the largest anti-apartheid group has always allowed for the inclusion ofwhites who share its aims, in general and until recently, the unambiguous and fulsomeembracing of white participation by black activists belonged to an earlier time prior to the23rise of the Black Consciousness movement in the 1960’s. The movement’s ethnocentrism andits slogan “Africa for the Africans” influenced how the actions of sympathetic whites wereviewed. What may formerly have been seen as supportive action by whites increasingly cameto be regarded suspiciously by many blacks as, at best, paternalistic, a well-intentionedhindrance to their own attempts at liberation or, at worst as self-serving, as much an attemptby whites to assuage their guilt as to facilitate change (or, equally, to thwart change bymeans of tokenism and by co-opting the struggle).In effect then, the struggle with which the politically active, or merely politicallyaware, white person wanted to identify may not have welcomed such participation oridentification because “however much they [whites] want to identify with blacks, it is anexistential fact. . . that they have not really been victims of this baneful oppression andexploitation” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, cited in Gordimer, 1989, p. 267). Thus, the whiteperson of conscience often found herself living in a form of internal exile (Wagner, 1991),having rejected her own culture of origin but not fully invited into that culture on whosebehalf she wished to act, stuck in a position “where our skin colour labelled us as oppressorsto the blacks and our views labelled us as traitors to the whites” (Gordimer, 1989, p. 32).At the same time, the white person of conscience may have had difficulty feeling fullyat home in the loosely liberal groupings which constituted his new, “natural” home. AsMalan (1990), cynically wrote: “It was impossible to change race, you see, and almostcompletely pointless to be a liberal” (p. 168). Ambivalence about motives, doubts concerningpolitical effectiveness, differences over political tactics, and suspicion of possible infiltratorsand agents provocateur, made for lack of support and cohesion amongst those engaged infighting the status quo both within South Africa and in exile (see e.g. Adam & Moodley,1993; Johnson, 1993; Kitson, 1987; Westwood & Lawrance, 1990).24In the face of conflicting messages both internally and externally generated, the whiteliberal may have had difficulty establishing and maintaining a sense of personal and moralintegrity. To have had to wait and depend upon others (the white political masters, the blackunderclass) for eventual political and moral deliverance, was to live in a kind of limbo.Small wonder then that Crapanzano’s, (1985) study of South African whites is titled Waiting,or that Gordimer (1989) described living on the southern tip of the African continent as“living in the interregnum” (p. 261). Although, Gordimer was referring, here, to SouthAfrican society as a whole, blacks and whites included, her comments could have as easilyapplied to individual white South Africans:The state of interregnum is a state of Hegel’s disintegrated consciousness, ofcontradictions... .The interregnum is not only between two social orders but alsobetween two identities [italics added], one known and discarded, the other unknownand undetermined. (pp. 269-270)Thus the internally exiled white South African may not only have been cut off fromboth a rejected and rejecting culture, but also from the seif from a former self now seen ashaving colluded (albeit unknowingly) with an unjust regime, from a present self identifiedmore with a European than with a South African culture (and caught between the desire for,and fear of, political commitment), and from a future self whose realization was felt to becontingent on factors outside of the person’s control.Gordimer, her criticism of liberals notwithstanding, in many ways epitomized thisliberal South African dilemma. Shefelt herself to be not only exiled from that spiritual and philosophical metropolis[Europe] whose values survive only in debased and corrupted forms in the colonialworld she inhabits, but also to be in ‘internal exile’ [italics added] in the land of herbirth: not only because she is opposed to the dominant apartheid ideology of her timebut arguably also because. . . she resisted the felt imperative to ‘join up’. [Her] fictionreflects this sense of multiple exile [italics added].. .investigat[ing] the viability ofvarious escape routes from both the physical context and from the pressure to ‘becommitted’, presenting us with characters in flight not only from their backgrounds,25but from the ideological imperative itself. (Wagner, 1991, p. 12)Many of those confronting the pressure to commit politically experienced a sense offutility and despair upon contemplating the possible value, the costs, and likely chances ofsuccess of such commitment. Many white liberals, motivated by humanist principles foundthemselves balking at the increasingly dominant view that “nothing short of violent revolutionand guerilla warfare with outside support has realistic prospects of destroying Apartheid”(van den Berghe, 1979, p. 13). For a white activist to embrace and act on such a philosophymay have meant not only violating deeply held principles about the value of human life andnon-violence, but also furthering the likelihood that her own family and community mightfall victim to that violence.The contradictions and limitations inherent in the choices available to the white liberaloften rendered the option of self-exile attractive even though thinking about such an optionmay have evoked feelings of betrayal, disloyalty, and deep ambivalence. Even some whowere critical of those who “ran away” acknowledged the lure of escape:I myself fluctuate between the desire to be gone--to find a society where my whiteskin will have no bearing on my place in the community--and a terrible, obstinate andfearful desire to stay, I feel the one desire with my head and the other with myguts.. . .If one will always have to feel white first and African second, it would bebetter not to stay on in Africa. It would not be worth it for this. (Gordimer, 1989,p. 34)For those who, unlike Gordimer, did eventually leave, partial justification wassometimes sought and even found, after the fact, in the, perhaps convenient, belief that one’sreal culture, one’s real roots were in Europe, or Israel or any place other than in SouthAfrica, thus limiting the debt that one owed to one’s birthplace. It is easier for the personwho portrays himself, and his forebears, as mere interlopers in a society, to exoneratehimself from responsibility for resolving the ills of this temporary resting place. Such26rationalizations, while lessening the flow of guilt, rarely succeed in staunching the feelingsof loss that the wound of self-exile creates.ExileExile can exacerbate identity problems because, in exile, you’re always asking: ‘Who am I?’Frances McQueen of V.A.S.T. (Vancouver Association forthe Survivors of Torture)If remaining in an oppressive situation creates ethical, social, and identity-relatedproblems, then leaving the country, far from resolving these issues, may bring with it a newset of dilemmas. Not only may the dislocated person discover that geographical distance doesnot, necessarily, equal escape, but she may well find that earlier difficulties are compoundedby, amongst other things, feelings of ambivalence, guilt, shame, loss, and grief as well asby culture shock (Furnham & Bochner, 1986; Oberg, 1960), self-shock (Zaharna, 1989) andself-invalidation (Ishiyama, 1989, 1991), all or any of which may threaten her sense of self.As noted earlier, the life and identity of the liberal, white person in apartheid SouthAfrica was typically characterized by ambivalence, questioning, and doubt: whether or notto commit politically (and, if so, how), whether or not he had the right to a place in thatcountry, whether or not he should stay or leave. If he did indeed leave, these feelings ofambivalence may have increased (Westwood & Lawrance, 1990). Possible bewildermentupon encountering new culture, hope that life would be different in the new country coupledwith the fear that it might not, and self-doubt (about his ability to cope, about whether tostay or return), may have created feelings of insecurity and ambiguity.The ambivalence felt by the individual who has fled a strife-torn or merely difficultsituation frequently surfaces in feelings of guilt. Relief at escaping politically and socially27repressive circumstances can give rise to, and conffict with, guilt at having abandoned andbetrayed family, friends, political activists, and the oppressed left behind, and at being in asituation of relative safety. That such feelings were, and are, not restricted to the white SouthAfrican self-exile but may be felt by anyone who has escaped a dangerous situation in whichothers have had to remain is evident in the comments of a black South African, living inexile in Toronto: “At times I feel the survivor’s guilt” (O’Connell, 1994).As much as the self-exiled, white South African may have wished to rid himself ofthese painful feelings of guilt, which locked him in a time and place abandoned, he mayequally have felt reluctant or simply unable to let go of them. In this he would have beenlike the character in Slovo’s (1989) book who, because of “her guilt at the comfort of herown lifestyle, of the way she had turned her back on the struggle.. . . talked as if she werecompelled to dwell in the past while her words did nothing to heal her terrible hurt” (p.590).Letting go of the past may have been difficult for a number of reasons. Just as it didin South Africa, so in exile, guilt may have functioned as an identity attribute for the whiteliberal. No longer able to participate directly in social change, the private and publicacknowledgement of his culpability in and, by extension, opposition to, an unjust system mayhave become an even more important marker of identity than when he lived in South Africa.In the absence of action, belief and attitude can take on greater personal and socialsignificance.In leaving South Africa, the exile departed the discomfiting familiarity (and, in somerespects, ethical clarity) of a place that forced whites to make choices (Slovo, 1989) and, asa consequence, she may have found it less easy, in exile, to distinguish the “good guys”from the “bad”. In the process, internalized boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable28aspects of her self (Sullivan, 1947) may have become less clear, more permeable, posing athreat to the self-exile’s integrity, her sense of self.Thus, for all its value in potentially helping the exile sustain an integrated, continuoussense of self, unresolved guilt or feelings about complicity, can exact a price. In order tocope with these feelings, the self-exile, like the refugee, or even the immigrant may developa “defensive resentment” (Westwood & Lawrance, 1990, p. 148) towards those who haveremained behind. But far from effectively resolving anything such resentment anddefensiveness may simply act as a cover for deep feelings of guilt,8 shame, and loss.Although feelings of loss are common amongst the culturally dislocated, they may beparticularly acute for the individual who, in his home country, was politically committed,was “active within human groups, which are closely bounded by a common struggle for ajust society. His engagement in this struggle gave sense to his existence, the sense ofdedicating it to the cause of freedom”. (Barudy, 1989, p. 178). Particularly difficult for thesepeople is the fact that,political exile [involves] the decisive and crucial rupture with militancy. This happensin a context of political defeat that is perceived as personal defeat. . . . Believing in theirhistorical role, dedicating their best energies to what they see as a noble end, theyview their cause as the main purpose in life--indeed, sometimes as the justificationof their existence, of life itself. In exile the cause becomes an abstraction. (RochaLima, 1984, p. 94)Exile, then becomes little more than an “invitation to limbo [since] the exile, unlike the8 Guilt, and its effects, may be multifaceted and labyrinthine. While feeling guilty maycause a person to feel bad about himself, it may allow him to feel good about himself for atleast feeling guilty, while at the same time causing him to feel even more guilty about simplyfeeling guilty and/or about feeling good about it. If this seems neurotic, self-indulgent and,ultimately, self-defeating, it may well be. The person who adopts guilt as a primary way ofbeing in the world, may be indulging in a form of inversion in which, by portraying himselfas the victim (of guilty feelings), he hopes to escape the moral imperative to act, sincevictims should be compensated for their victimhood, not morally required to act.29immigrant, looks back to what he has left, not forward to a new life in Canada” (Wright,cited in Westwood & Lawrance, 1990).Cultural dislocation almost invariably precipitates a crisis of identity. It is important,however, to recognize that, for the political activist, exile proper may represent only onefactor in a litany of threats to identity cohesion and integrity already experienced in the formof persecution, incarceration, and/or torture in the home country, since “political violencetraumatizes the self-image at the same time that it destroys social bonds” (Barudy, 1989, p.715).In a repressive regime, the politically active person lives in a climate of fear andpersecution. Her “daily existence is characterized by fear, insecurity and a sense ofimpotence” (Barudy, 1989, p. 719). Loss of civil rights guarantees, decreased sense ofcontrol over her life, and difficulty in contacting others in the struggle, all contribute tofeelings of powerlessness and isolation and begin to disrupt the person’s sense of self.If, as frequently happens, the person is arrested, the process of identity disintegrationescalates, arrest being “an experience of brutal rupture with the social environment: it is an‘uprooted state’ . . . caused by the forced abandonment of family life, culture and daily habits”(Barudy, 1989, p. 719). Others (Bettleheim, Garbedian, Goffman, all cited in Taft, 1977)have also identified forcible confinement as likely to precipitate severe identity disruption.Under arrest, the prisoner may undergo prolonged isolation, simulated enactments of deathsentences, and verbal humiliation and physical degradation at the hands of the guards, alldesigned to induce feelings of disorientation, powerlessness, hopelessness, anddepersonalization.Coming after such experiences, exile may precipitate yet further disintegration. Asmentioned above, feelings of relief at being out of harm’s way can serve to heighten the30exile’s guilt at betraying and abandoning the struggle. This may be the case even if theindividual did not actively collaborate with the oppressors but feels complicit because ofbeing helpless to intervene in the torture and suffering of her compatriots.According to Barudy (1989), symptoms of psychological disorders experienced byformerly persecuted, incarcerated, and/or tortured exiles can be seen as resulting from oneor all of the following processes: traumatization of identity, disorganization of identity, anddisintegration (pp. 722-723).Traumatization of identity refers to the incongruence that results from the person’s“desperate attempt to maintain the structure of his/her self by defensive reactions andconduct” (Barudy, 1989, p. 722), such as repression and denial, in the face of threats to theself. Incongruence tends to increase psychological vulnerability in the exiled ex-politicalprisoner, such that seemingly unimportant, unrelated incidents (such as a minor socialmisunderstanding) may trigger a crisis (Weiss & Parish, 1989) eliciting severe anguish,depression, traumatic nightmares, and possible aggression and violence towards self andothers.Disorganization of identity represents the irrational and acute psychotic behaviourevidenced by some former victims of torture as a result of the inability of the defensemechanisms to cope with the extreme nature of the threats to the self. According to Rogers(cited in Barudy, 1989):When the defense process becomes inefficient, the experience is adequatelysymbolized in conscience and the gestalt of the I structure breaks by [sic] theincongruence in conscience. The result is a state of disorganization [in which] thetension between the self concept and the experiences which are not symbolized orincluded in the I concept expresses itself in confused behaviour. (p. 722)Lastly, disintegration refers to the destruction of “a person as an autonomous subjectwith norms, convictions and values which inspired his/her political and social engagement”31(Barudy, 1989, P. 722) arising from the complete submissiveness of the prisoner, and hisor her perceived complicity with the enemy.Coming after such traumatic experiences, exile itself represents a new crisis. Withinhis or her own country, the struggle and suffering had purpose and meaning. As notedabove, once dislocated, deprived of involvement in the political fight, the exile undergoes“context interruption” often resulting in a loss of meaning9 and a concomitant inability tocommit to the future. Any or all of these factors combined, may create severe problems inliving for the exile.But even those exiles (either “true” exiles or self-exiles) who have not been politicallyactive may struggle with strong feelings of attachment and responsibility to their country oforigin. Both former political activists and politically identified individuals in exile mayexpend much time and energy thinking about the past or fantasizing about a return to theirhomeland, to the extent that their “excessive mental and socio-psychological preoccupationwith the past [becomes] an obstacle to full adaptation to their immediate situation” (Chan &Lam, 1987, pp. 34-35). This inability to commit to life in the adoptive culture can result inan unsettling experience similar to that of “identity diffusion” or “moratorium” (Marcia,cited in Baumeister, 1986, p. 203).In part, the ability to look ahead and to live in the present may be blocked by deepfeelings of grief (Hertz, 1981; Pollock, 1988; Taft, 1977; Westwood & Lawrance, 1990).That a person’s sense of meaning, developed and sustained within a socio-culturalcontext, has importance to his identity and behaviour is noted by DeVos, Marsella, and Hsu(1985):It is not simply a matter of how the environment. . . structures behavior in the light ofunderlying functioning mental mechanisms. We have to look further into how the“meaning” that the human being has conceived in his subjective experience is a directdeterminant of all intentional behavior. (p. 9)32Abrupt separation from social, political and familial networks and activities, possiblycompounded by the uprooted person’s knowledge or belief that he may never again see theseplaces or people, can lead to bereavement similar to that experienced upon losing a spouseor close family member (Chan & Lam, 1987).Although “healthy” grieving, in such cases, may have psychological and emotionalutility as part of the “mourning-liberation process--a normal, necessary, universal,transformational process that permits us to adapt to change (which is loss), loss ofmeaningful figures, loss of home, loss of resources” (Pollock, 1988, p. 146), for some inexile an arrest or fixation of grieving may occur.The distinction between an adaptive and maladaptive focus on the past is thedifference between nostalgic illusion and nostalgic fixation (Zwingmann, cited in Chan &Lam, 1987). In the former “the past is systematically and, sometimes, unconsciouslyidealized, humanized and glorified, while the present is overlooked, and the futuredevaluated [sic]” (Chan & Lam, p. 28). If the illusion is short-term it can serve a protectivefunction of maintaining psychological and affective continuity as well as equilibrium duringuprooting. However, in nostalgic fixation, where the exile’s longing for the past is obsessiveand persistent, identity change and adaptation may be blocked, resulting in a series ofdifficulties including, but not limited to, withdrawal, isolation, loneliness, marginality, andpossible aggressive and anti-social behaviour.As Breytenbach (1993) writes, “There is such a thing as incurable nostalgia” (p. 1).Whatever the cost, the desire to look back to, to hold onto the past, can seem overpowering:“Exiles.. .are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at therisk of turning into pillars of salt” (Rushdie, 1991, p. 10).Grieving, however, may be experienced not simply over the loss of the past, but also33at the perceived loss of an anticipated, and presumed future, the loss of dreams, hope(s), ofidentity, of an unrealized possible seif (Deaux, 1991). As Rushdie (1991) writes of havingleft India, “[I] am no longer what I was, and. . . by quitting Bombay never became whatperhaps I was meant to be” (p. 10). Or Hoffman (1989), reflecting on her life in exile inCanada:I have lost the sense of what, driven as I am, I am driving toward. . . .1 begin to seethat my “destiny” is no longer going to pull me toward itself as if I were sitting ina chariot driven by the gods. . . . The unity, the seemingly organic growth of my desiresis becoming fragmented, torn. . . . now I don’t know what to want, or how to want, anylonger. (p. 158)This sense of a truncated future has been characterized as non-event “the failure ofan expected pivotal life event or change to occur” (Barkan-Ascher, 1992, p. ii). Culturaldislocation, loss of a sustaining cultural context, increases the likelihood that certainanticipated critical life, and developmental events, may be missed. The exile by stepping outof time and place, loses his place not only in the historical unfolding of his culture andcountry, but in the articulation of his own personal narrative: “To go into exile is to loseyour place in the world” (Sartre). The effect of losing one’s place in this way may be apersistent, unrealized, longing for a return to the site where the life interruption occurred.The fact that both the individual and the earlier context have been irreversibly altered makessuch a return impossible, though it does little to lessen the longing and, indeed, may evenenhance it.The person who continuously longs to re-enact the past, lives a life in which past andfuture are inverted:This happens... not because the goal of his hope is postponed, but because it isalready past and gone, has already been experienced and thus passed over intorecollection. On the other hand, he constantly recollects what he ought to hope for;for he has already anticipated the future in thought, in thought he has experienced it,and this experience he now recollects, instead of hoping for it. (Kierkegaard, cited34in Crites, 1986, P. 153)Such an individual is, frequently, a “prodigy of misery” (Crites, p. 153).With his eyes focused back towards a familiar, but increasingly distant homeland,while his feet are moving forward, however tentatively, into an alien society, the uprootedperson feels disoriented, falling into a culture gap (Hall, 1976) between the old and the new.As dislocated people, “sometimes we feel that we straddle two cultures; at other times thatwe fall between two stools” (Rushdie, 1991, p. 15).Adjustment difficulties may, thus, occur due to cultural distance between theimmigrants old and new cultures, with difficulty increasing with the degree of differencebetween the two (Furnham & Bochner, 1986). Not only will differences in language, race,and social norms and customs determine the nature and size of the culture gap, but so willdistinctions in whether the cultures are high context or low context (Hall, 1976). All of thesefactors determine whether the exile, having leapt the cultural divide, will have a “soft” or“hard” landing (Ishiyama, 1991).In part, problems of adjustment are either exacerbated or ameliorated by the exile’spreparedness for change (or lack of same). White, English-speaking liberal South Africanswho were raised in, and thus assumed an affinity with a generic, Western culture, (Malan,1990) and who then went into self-exile, may have been unprepared for the dissimilaritybetween their chosen country and their country of origin. By far the majority of white SouthAfricans emigrated (and, most likely, continue to emigrate) to England, Australia, NewZealand, the U.S.A., and Canada, countries with which they shared (and share) a commonlinguistic and cultural heritage (Crapanzano, 1985). Upon settling in these countries,however, South Africans often discovered that the presumed commonality did not always runvery deep. In confronting these dissimilarities, as well as prejudice and stereotyping by35locals, the white South African may have felt not only “out of place” (Begamudre, 1991) butabandoned and betrayed by his “mother” culture.Perhaps nowhere is the experience of cultural similarity and difference more clearlyexperienced than in the dislocated individual’s relationship to language. Hoffman, (1989)uses the term triangulation, a metaphor borrowed from the field of geography, to reflect herattempts to map and make her way in Polish, English-Canadian, and American society. Theterm, “triangulation”, captures the sense that Hoffman had of experiencing the new culture(and herself in that culture) at one remove, rather than directly as she did when living in herown society. Self and culture were no longer one seamless continuity, but rather opposinggeometric points by which she had to locate herself through a process of referring, checking,and translating new experiences, words, phrases, against and through the old.The sea-change occasioned by cultural dislocation is particularly keenly felt by thosefor whom the culture and language gap is the widest. The Vietnamese, Pole, or Iranian,newly arrived in Canada would no doubt experience greater linguistic and culture shock thanthe white, English-speaking South African who shares a common language with the Canadianmainstream. But although the South African self-exile may not have anticipated significantproblems in understanding, or making herself understood by, others, this very assumptionmay have made her less prepared to encounter the differences that did exist.Structuralist and post-structuralist linguistic analyses have demonstrated that “meaningdepends on context” (Cochran, p. 188), disabusing us of the notion that there is a simple,unchangeable, context-free, one-to-one relationship between sign and signifier, between theword and its referent (Sarup, 1989). Words and phrases spoken or written in Canada maymean something very different than the same utterings articulated in South Africa. As anexample, the term “native” in Canada, a respectful, even preferred term for referring to the36original North American peoples, is considered derogatory in South Africa when used inreference to black people there.It is not, however, just that specific words, individual terms, carry differentmeanings, but that language, words, accent, phrasing, intonation, evoke an entire (andentirely different) world. The absence of this evoked context creates in the dislocated persona sense of unease, of having to explain himself, to translate events both to others and tooneself before they can be understood and assimilated. This, amongst other things, can createculture fatigue (Boekestijn, 1988) in the emigre who, being in unfamiliar surrounds, “cannotresort to automatic performance and consequently suffers from cognitive overload” (Taft,1977, p. 140). Such strain may result in feelings of physical tiredness and stiffness, andincreased risk of physiological malfunction.The different language, accents, customs, mannerisms, beliefs, and othercharacteristics of the immigrant or exile, in short those things which emphasize his differencefrom the host culture, open him to the possibility of being stigmatized within that culture.As noted above, this is most Jikely to occur for those who are deemed to be significantlydifferent from the dominant group in the host culture. (In Canada those regarded as mostdifferent are usually non-English speaking people of colour from non-Western societies suchas Vietnam or Somalia). Such people may be discredited (Goffman, 1963) by virtue of“tribal stigma of race, nation and[/orj religion” (p. 4).Insofar as stigma “refer[s] to an attribute that is deeply discrediting” (Goffman, 1963,p. 3) being a white South African could, in and of itself prove, stigmatizing, especially insome leftist, radical circles. And although self-exiled South Africans, being predominantlywhite, English-speaking, liberal, well-educated, and middle-class were much less likely tohave been discredited, they may nevertheless have felt discreditable (Goffman). The white37South African who may already have felt shame at being identified with an oppressive group,guilty about her presumed (or actual) complicity in the oppression of apartheid, and that shehad abandoned her country, may have been particularly sensitive to even minor, unintended,or perhaps merely presumed or anticipated slights and negative comments.That there was (and perhaps still is) some legitimacy to white South Africans’sensitivity is apparent in this exchange between CBC interviewer Vicki Gabereau (1993) andSadia Zamin, host of Vision T. V. ‘s It’s About Time, discussing a film made by Zamin aboutSouth Africans living in Canada who had decided to return to their native land.Sadia Zamin: I think there is a lot of resentment here, in North America [towardswhite South Africans], especially since the anti-apartheid movement has comeabout... .Especially in the early ‘70’s people here had very strong feelings aboutwhites in South Africa and she [one of the show’s interviewees] got mistakenfor. . . she calls herself coloured--or that’s the way she’s been classified in SouthAfrica--and she got mistaken here [in Canada] for either being a native person or elseshe was a white South African and all white South Africans were the same. And Ithink that her experiences stemmed from the fact that they were all oppressive, youknow, perceptions that we have of white South Africans.Vicki Gabereau: I think it’s been very [easy]--in a strange sort of way--for the Westto be comforted by their hatred of South African whites. It’s been a target that’s beenan acceptable target, that you didn’t have to feel guilty about loathing them, that youhad a legitimate cause for disliking them.For the person who feels himself to be discreditable rather than discredited,the issue is not that of managing tension generated during social contacts, but ratherthat of managing information. . . . it is not that he must face prejudice against himself,but rather that he must face unwitting acceptance of himself by individuals who areprejudiced against persons of the kind he can be revealed to be. (Goffman, 1963, p.42)Feeling compelled to limit or manipulate information regarding who one is constitutes a formof denial of self and may create problems in maintaining a positive sense of self by38reinforcing negative feelings such as shame)° This can also create feelings of isolation,leading the self-exile to reject, and feel rejected by, the host culture.Stigmatization, whether perceived or real can, therefore, lead to loss of socialsupport. According to Barudy (1989):To assure an individual’s [cross-cultural] adjustment, a network of interpersonalrelationships of a certain quality is necessary. The interactional ingredients permittinga dialectic adaptation to circumstances are the respect and positive communication ofthe self representation, as well as a source of the [sic] unconditional affection. (p.717)Put simply, social support is necessary to maintaining a positive sense of self.Continued instances of rejection translate into a lack of social support, one of the primarysources of stress in relocation (Fontaine, 1986; Furnham & Bochner, 1986; Ishiyama, 1989;Shisana & Celentano, 1987). Rejection by, and of, the adoptive culture mean that exiles mustfind validation and a sense of identity within their own communities. But, in order to avoidbeing identified with a stigmatized group the South African self-exile may have wanted (andcontinue to want) to avoid contact with other South Africans. For the former political activistseeking affiliation with political groups in exile, fear of informers, as well as social,religious, ethnic, political, and gender splits within such groups, may make may make herreluctant to look to fellow exiles for nurturance (Westwood & Lawrance, 1990).Thus, identifying oneself, and being identified by others, with South Africa and itspolitics (whether for or against), could prove problematic. The self-exile who acknowledged10 Thus, for example, my parents, for some time after arriving in Canada, in wanting toavoid both potential prejudice and unwanted questioning of their politics, identifiedthemselves as being simply from Africa rather than from South Africa. For my parents whohad been twice dislocated, once as German-Jewish war refugees in South Africa and then asvoluntary immigrants to Canada, the desire to assimilate and hide their racial, cultural, andnational heritages was intensely felt. One of my late father’s favourite sayings was that, “inGermany I was a fucking Jew, in South Africa a fucking German, and in Canada, a fuckingwhite South African”.39his guilt as a white South African was likely to be applauded by (some, most) Canadianleftists and liberals. The self-exile may, however, have felt resentful at having to wear ashesbefore, ask for forgiveness from, Canadians who, untested by having to make such difficultmoral and political choices, nevertheless espoused noble sentiments. He may also have feltantagonistic towards what he perceived as theopportunism of those [who wish to] soothe their guilty consciences at a safe distance,or to squeeze some local political mileage out of it [being seen to be againstapartheid], or simply because emotion, especially that elicited by apartheid, hasbecome cheap, a consumer article, kitsch. (Brink, 1991, p. 432)The sense, whether perceived or real, of having been taken advantage of, of having been theobject of political tokenism, may have caused the exile to want to withdraw from contactwith potential supporters and allies, creating or adding to feelings of social rejection.If social interaction with the apparently like-minded could be problematic for liberalSouth Africans outside of their country, so too could contact with those with whom they didnot share a common political perspective. Frequently the ex-South African white, uponidentifying herself as such would, until recently, find herself the unwilling recipient ofexclamations of sympathy over the difficulties of being white in “that country” andexpressions of support for the fight against “black terrorism and subversion”. To bepresumed to be racist simply by virtue of her national origin (just as, in South Africa, shewas an oppressor because of the colour of her skin) could prove to be an unsettlingexperience (even if discomfortingly familiar), a threat to the self-exile’s sense of self.For the dislocated person, the accumulation of negative experiences--ambivalencetowards the adoptive country, possible hostility from segments of the host society, problemsof language, communication and cultural differences (Westwood & Borgen, 1988), andeconomic and employment difficulties--may result in sefinvalidation (Ishiyama, 1989),40“characterized by the feelings of insecurity, discomfort, abandonment” resulting from the“painful loss of many validational points, such as supportive relationships, self-validatingactivities, and familiar landmarks and psychological cues” (p. 42). The absence of familiarsocial reinforcers may negatively impact upon the uprooted individual’s sense of self in anumber of different, but related areas of his life: his sense of security, self-worth,competence, meaning in lIfe, and identity and belonging.Although, in Ishiyama’s (1989, 1991) se(f-validation schema, identity forms only onefacet of possible invalidation, lack of validation in any of the other four areas--security,competence, self-worth, and meaning--may equally affect the person’s sense of self. That is,it is not only through a sense of belonging that one derives or sustains an identity. Feelingsof incompetence, insecurity, worthlessness, and meaninglessness will also negatively affectan individual’s sense of self.Furthermore, invalidation in any one or a combination of the above areas may impactdifferentially upon any one of the person’s many “selves”: the physical self; thefamilial se(f;the socio-cultural self; the trans-cultural self; and the transpersonal self (Ishiyama, 1989).For example unavailability of familiar foods may create feelings of loss and insecurity in thephysical self, while absence of political involvement may cause a diminishing of self-worthand loss of meaning in the socio-cultural self.11To some extent, all the above acculturation and adaptation difficulties, representvarious aspects of culture shock (Furnham and Bochner, 1986; Oberg 1960; Taft, 1977) “a“I recognize that these distinctions--between selves and between areas of validation--aresomewhat arbitrary and not truly reflective of how identity is experiencedphenomenologically, as a continuous whole. Nonetheless, these distinctions do havetheoretical utility in conceptualizing self-invalidation and potential practical value incounselling.41set of emotional reactions to the loss of perceptual reinforcements from ones own culture,to new cultural stimuli which have little or no meaning, and to the misunderstanding of newand diverse experiences” (Adler, 1975, P. 13). This is something that almost invariablyaffects those who move across cultures whether temporarily as workers, students, andtravellers, or permanently as immigrants, exiles, and refugees, and that may range in theseverity of its effects from mild feelings of disorientation to intense, longstanding symptomsincluding (but not restricted to) depression, alienation, and even sociopathic behaviour.More accurately, perhaps, in the context of the present discussion is Zaharna’s (1989)recharacterizing of the difficulties occasioned by cultural dislocation as sefshock, “anextended reaction to the differences with and within the seif [italics added] [which is] thecentral axiom for the individual’s whole life theory” (p. 511). That is, uprooting can beproblematic not simply because of a lack of familiarity with a new social environment, butas a result of a disjunction within one’s self in a foreign culture. (For further discussion ofthe distinction, and overlaps, between self and culture, see below, “The self in context”)According to Zaharna (1989), the dislocated individual’s attempts to maintainconsistency and continuity in his sense of self, conflict with his need to adapt to the newculture, creating a Catch 22 situation. The combined effects of loss of communicationcompetencies vis-a-vis the self (resulting from unfamiliarity with new socio-culturaldemands), distorted self-reflections acquired from how members of the new culture view one(including stereotyping), and the difficulties of changing culturally determined roles andidentity-bound behaviours, create “a double-bind of increased need to confirm self-identities,with diminished ability to do [so]” (p. 516). This may create deep feelings of ambivalencein the exile both towards himself and towards the host culture, leading to a crisis of identity.42Because of the potential difficulties of accommodating to life in a new culture and thedifficulty of letting go of one’s country of origin, the exile often feels a strong pull to returnhome. For, although exile may provide escape, a sense of relief and release,exile is a sweet thing to end, even if you come from a troubled country like SouthAfrica, or maybe especially if you come from South Africa. There is something inthe air there that the Beer poet Breytenbach called ‘heartspace and the danger ofbeauty’. In some way that I can’t really capture, it is a function of all the hatred andhorror, all the broken hearts and blinding hope of a healing, sometime, someday.They say that junkies sometimes put themselves through the cold sweats and sicknessof withdrawal just so they can start anew, and experience that wild rush ofintoxication to the brain as if for the first time. Coming home was like that. (Malan,1990, p. 109)But what of those who, unlike Malan, cannot or choose not to return to taste thesweetness of homecoming? Does the craving persist unabated? Or if the permanent self-exilesucceeds in overcoming her “addiction” does she forever remain a “recovering SouthAfrican”, even after the sharp pain of withdrawal is over? Is it indeed true that, howevermuch the exile may try to compensate for the sense of separation, the longing for home, “theessential sadness [of exile] can never be transcended” (Said, 1984, p. 159).The research on cultural dislocation would indicate that, for many in exile, Said(1989) is essentially correct, that adjustment to a new culture is an ongoing, never fullycompleted process, and attachment to the past, while it may wane or become altered overtime, remains with the dislocated person.Dislocation as opportunity. Thus far, cultural dislocation has been portrayed asbeing almost entirely problematic to the individual in her attempts to maintain an integrated,coherent sense of identity. But uprooting may, equally, represent opportunity. Adler (1975),for example, proposes an alternative view of culture shock as potentially occasioningheightened self-awareness and an enhanced sense of self. Iyer (1993), commenting on his43own state of rootlessness observes that, “unfamiliarity can, in any context, breed content”.Rushdie (1991), perhaps the world’s most famous (or notorious, depending on yourperspective) example of biculturalism, while acknowledging the difficulties in culturaldisplacement, defiantly asserts its potentialities:The word ‘translation’ comes, etymologically, from the Latin for ‘bearing across’.Having been borne across the world, we [exiles, refugees, emigrants] are translatedmen. It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation. I clingobstinately, to the notion that something can also be gained. (p. 17)What can be gained is a “stereoscopic vision” of the world (Rushdie, p. 19), an increasedawareness of one’s self in a bicultural or multicultural context, as well as enhanced flexibilityin thinking, attitude and action, an expanded range of coping competencies, and the strengthto maintain one’s own culture in the face of change (Ishiyama, 1991).The potential of self-exile to act as catalyst for self-growth may exist even for thosewho were politically active in their country of origin for whom exile initially posed an acutethreat to their sense of meaning, purpose, and identity. Evidence of this is provided byRocha Lima’s (1984) study of exiled politically active and/or identified Brazilian womenwhich showed that as these women’s “defenses [sic] fell apart during this period [in exile,they] started to dare” (p. 89) in ways they had not before. As girls and women in Brazil theyhad experienced many instances of sexism and discrimination which circumscribed theirsense of themselves. Dislocation brought with it freedom from inhibiting “traditionalprotections and repressions” (p. 88) of family and social life in Brazil.Also, because many of these women had come from middle-class backgrounds, exileforced them to take on roles and tasks in their families that had previously been performedeither by their husbands or paid domestic workers. While this created strains and tensionswithin families, the women’s ability to cope with the practicalities of change enhanced their44perceptions of their own, previously unrecognized, strengths. (Chan and Lam [1987]discovered similar beneficial outcomes--and familial stresses--for Indochinese womenrefugees in Quebec as a result of role change caused by cultural dislocation.)Moreover, exile was the first experience for the women in Rocha Lima’s (1984) studyof being in the minority. This led to “a re-evaluation and redefinition of their social position[that] was simultaneously the cause and the result of their discovery of other minoritysituations” (pp. 90-91) and subsequent feelings of solidarity with other minority groups. Suchidentification with other minorities is a feature of the integrative awareness stage ofracial/cultural identity development (Sue & Sue, 1990, pp. 106-107), and a positiveindication that the minority individual has begun to establish a strong, integrated sense of selfwithin a dominant culture.In addition, many of the Chilean women in the study joined women’s groups in thecountries of exile. This not only provided them with identity continuity as they incorporatedtheir sense of selves as political activists into the struggle for women’s rights, but alsocreated a new social support network, and helped them “fight against the tendency socommon among exiles to alienate themselves in time, looking either to the past or the futureand disregard the concreteness of the here and now” (Rocha Lima, 1984, p. 92).Developmental factors in dislocation. How the exile responds to his situation,therefore, will be influenced by numerous factors both personal and environmental. Theprocess of adaptation and acculturation, however, is not static, and these factors will varyacross and through time. That is, the exile is affected by developmental factors, both withinhis own life and within the process of acculturation and adaptation. Thus far, the picturepainted of self-exile has been synchronic, episodic. It can also be looked at diachronically.45Although “alienation. . .is the condition of our time, this being the century of exilesand refugees, of boat people and statelessness and estrangement” (Iyer, 1993, p. 14), culturaldislocation is considered an idiosyncratic rather than a normative event, a unique experiencenot determined by age norms or social expectations (Kimmel, 1990) (although certaincultural groupings e.g. Jews, may have internalized the experience of exile and evenanticipate the possibility of uprooting). Becoming a refugee may, however, precipitate crisesof normative non-events (Neugarten, cited in Kimmel, 1990) as the refugee experiences“truncated career plans [andj interrupted life in general” (Westwood & Lawrance, 1990, p.148).Also, because dislocation can occur at any point in a person’s life, it will have adifferent impact depending on which developmental issues the individual is facing. There is,however, conflicting evidence as to which age group is most vulnerable to the stressorsassociated with uprooting. According to Taft (1977), those with a strong sense of self willbe most successful in adapting to a new culture. This would imply that, in general, middle-aged and older individuals who have successfully resolved crises of identity that occur in lateadolescence and young adulthood should be more successful in negotiating the transition toa new culture than would younger adults. Ishiyama (1989) notes that the search for identitypresents special difficulties for foreign adolescents adjusting to a new culture.Chan and Lam (1987), however, found that among Vietnamese refugees in Quebec,those between the ages 20 and 35, fared much better than did those 35 and older. Those inthe younger group “seemed to have felt a considerably less acute sense of loss ordeprivation” than did the older persons for whom “the sense of loss was multi-faceted, andwas sometimes all-encompassing” (p. 36). While the former “(especially the males) viewedCanada as a land of promise and opportunities” (p. 37) and responded with entrepreneurial46spirit, the latter experienced greater feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.In this case it seems that, although the older individuals may have had a strongersense of identity than those younger than them, this identity was deeply rooted in the culturethey had left behind and they, therefore, experienced “a severe loss of personal coherencewhen [their] social context [was] fractured and destroyed” (Chan & Lam, 1987, p. 36). Theyounger Vietnamese, with a more flexible sense of self, less attachment to the past, and abrighter vision of their future, were better able to cope with their new situation.Models of transition and adaDtation to a new culture. Although each person’sexperience of cultural dissociation is unique, certain themes and processes have beenidentified as common to most exiles. Williams, et al. (1988) have proposed a four-stagepsychosocial adjustment process for refugees, consisting of: (1) pre-flight chaos; (2) periodofflight; (3) refugee camps, and; (4) final resettlement. Huy (cited in Dorais, 1987, pp. 61-62) has constructed a model of sociolinguistic adaptation from the experience of Vietnameserefugees in Quebec in which adaptation occurs in three consecutive phases: installation,integration, and identification.Research on voluntary relocating groups (Lysgaard, 1955) has claimed that there isa common U-curve pattern to relocation experiences, with the individual going from an initialstate of euphoria on encountering the new culture through a period of adjustment difficulties,to a final stage of successful adaptation. Others have built on this model suggesting a Wcurve of adaptation (Gullahorn & Gullahorn, 1963).Such models have, however, been criticised for being over-simplistic, reductive,culture specific, lacking clarity (e.g. as to whether the stages are invariant), inconclusive,47and overgeneralized (Church, 1982). Furthermore, they tend to be linear and normative. Butas Ishiyama (1989) has noted, “the phenomenon and experience of cross-cultural adjustmentdifficulties are complex and multilateral, beyond a linear theoretical conceptualization” (p.54).IdentityTo avoid the oversimplification inherent in many cultural adaptation models requirescloser attention to individual experience. In the context of this study, this meansunderstanding the nature of self and what is meant by the terms self and identity (which Ihave used coterminously).The self in context. Historically, western concepts of identity have tended to fall intoone of two distinctive camps: the traditional psychological approach that sees identity as“something that exists within the individual as part of personality or a set of cognitions”, orthe sociological perspective which posits identity as “a set of roles and statuses arrangedaccording to how they are defined by society” (Baumeister, 1986, p. 247). Such a distinctionhas, however, been increasingly viewed as “a false dichotomy” (D’Andrade, 1990, p. 160)spurring the development and acceptance of theories which view identity as involving both“outer context and inner self’ (Baumeister, p. 246).The major challenges to psychological theories which locate identity within theindividual, originally came from the fields of anthropology and sociology. For exampleMead’s (1934, 1970) social interactionism and Goffman’s (cited in Barudy, 1989) socialecology of the self see identity as being comprised of both social and individual elements.For Mead, “society [is] the context in which selves arise” (Manis, 1971, p. 10). The self is48an interactive process involving the “I”--the phenomenological self--and the “Me”,predominantly the generalized other, an internalization of societal attitudes, defmitions,understandings, and expectations through which the individual views her self and whichprovides stability and continuity to the self through time and across situations. Betweenidentity and culture there exists a reciprocal causal relationship, a considerable degree of“overlap “ and “fit” (Spiro, cited in D’Andrade, 1990, p. 153).It would be setting the discipline of psychology up as the straw-man in this debateto portray it as advocating an exclusively individual-bound notion of identity. Variouspsychological theories, such as Erikson’s (1959) psychosocial developmental perspective,Kelly’s (cited in Weinreich, 1987) personal-construct theory of personality, and Weinreich’ s(1987) identity structure analysis, have recognized that both internal factors and the outerworld interact to make up a person’s identity. Similarly, the field of psychiatry has producedsome advocates of an interactional model of self (see e.g. Sullivan, 1947).However, while acknowledging the influence of social factors in the development ofidentity, psychological theories have still predominantly focused on processes supposedlyoccurring within the individual. And in the field of psychology generally, interactionalapproaches have been the exception, psychology being a “modernist” enterprise (Gergen,1990, p. 23) which, historically, has emphasized so called “inner processes” over relationalaspects (Laing, 1962).The notion of a fully constituted, autonomous, unmediated subject (the self) as thelegitimate focus of psychological inquiry has, however, been challenged on numerous fronts.Feminist theory has brought into question traditional (patriarchal) constructions ofpersonhood, social constructionism has recast individual psychological traits as social and49historical constructions, systems theory has emphasized relations over individual entities,critical theorists have argued for the essential interpenetration of society and the individualand exposed some of the ideological functions of traditional psychology, anddeconstructionism has argued that “persons as subjects are constructed in and through asymbolic system that fixes the subject in place while remaining beyond the subject’s fullmastery” (Sampson, 1989, p. 14). Also, and in this context most importantly, cross-culturalinvestigation has highlighted the cultural specificity of North America and European notionsof the self.’2What this means is that, although there may have been conceptual and practical (aswell as ideological) utility in making a distinction between the phenomenological and sociocultural aspects of self, no such simple separation exists, especially within the person, i.e.from his or her subjective perspective (Barudy, 1989; DeVos, Marsella, & Hsu, 1985; Price-Williams, 1979). As Rocha Lima (1984) writes, “We are our own historical, social, andcultural background, as well as the language in which our personalities are structured. Inone’s native country, there are reference points that help define one’s being” (p. 94). Theimplications of this for the self-exiled person are clear; removal of the person from the socialcontext in which the self has been created, from the social fabric into which and from whichone’s self is woven, inevitably means a rending in that cloth which constitutes identity.Self as narrative. A further shortcoming of most psychological approaches to thestudy of identity has been that, although12 Not only do theories about identity tend to be fixed in place, but also in time. Gagnon(1992), for one, argues that our contemporary understandings of self are a nineteenthcentury, western social construct, not a timeless, universal concept.50psychologists have developed measures of the identity-formation process.. .they havegenerally avoided the question of what identity looks like once formed, [of] what isthe content and structure of the identity configuration which binds together aparticular person’s past, present, and future and provides his or her life with unityand purpose. (McAdams, 1988, p. 17)Thus Erikson’s (1959) psychosocial formulation which locates identity within adevelopmental framework, or Marcia’s (1993) work which, following Erikson’s, expands onthe various processes by which identity develops or fails to develop, while describing theprocesses of identity development, provide only a partial picture of what identity is.Similarly, statements from sociological theorists like those which tell us that “the selfis composed of voices in conversation” (Gagnon, 1992, p. 231), while evocative and,perhaps, somewhat informative, do little to explain what this composition sounds like whenlistened to. Is it a babble, a cacophony of discordant voices or a cohesive symphony, broughttogether in a unified theme?While there is no simple answer to what identity is, there is widespread support, froma variety of disciplines, for the idea that “identity is a life story, [one that] is a joint productof person and environment” (McAdams, 1988a, p. 18) and that story is a primary means bywhich people make meaning in, and from, their lives (Cochran, 1990). In the field ofanthropology, for example, Rayfield (cited in Mishler, 1986) writes that the “story is.. .anatural psychological unit” (p. 67) providing support for the contention by the psychologicaltheorist Sarbin (1986) that narrative may be considered as a root metaphor for psychology.Likewise, the work of the socio-linguist, Burgos (cited in Bertaux & Kohli, 1984)demonstrates how people live their lives according to either “epic” or “romanesque”narrative forms in which they discover meaning and identity. Others have posited the ideaof identity as text (Harre, 1989; Sampson, 1989) jointly “written” by the individual and51culture.13 To Illich & Sanders (1989),Narration and the self in the twentieth century have become as inseparable as theepos and its singer in oral times: The writer spins the story as part of his self. Thetwentieth-century citizen sees himself through the eyes of various sciences as a layercake of texts. (pp. 71-72)As with any story, self-narrative develops over time. Although the life of theindividual as a unique entity begins with his birth, the conscious construction andunderstanding of life story begins only in late adolescence (Erikson, 1959; McAdams,1988a). According to McAdams, it is only with the “advent of formal operational thinking[that] the person becomes a biographer of the self” (p. 60). The notion of biographer,however, obscures the fact that the person is not only a recorder, but an actual participantin the creation of his identity, both the “I” and the “me” where “I is the narrator, me is thenarrative figure in the life story” (Crites, 1986, p. 162).’The creation of identity, however, is not a solitary activity, life story being “coauthored” by the individual and his culture. A change in culture occasioned by self-exile,13 The textual analogy is not without its critics, even among post-modern theorists whohave been some of its main proponents. Gergen (1988), for example, maintains that thetextual metaphor of identity isolates and fixes meaning in the individual as subject, a notionthat is anathema to postmodernism. Instead, he prefers the “metaphor of the dance or thegame” (p. 50) as more accurately reflective of the unfixed, fluid, and relational nature of theself. In arguing for identity as text, however, one need not jettison the idea that such textmay be ongoingly and jointly written and rewritten by the individual and society.Furthermore, even a dance or series of dances, if always participated in by the sameindividual may, over time, develop a certain thematic unity reflective of that person’sindividual “style” and, thus, constitutive of his “identity”.14 But while active, conscious participation by the individual in the construction of herown life-story may begin in adolescence, the story includes episodes and themes from birthonwards (both those directly experienced and others simply told to the person). In fact, selfstory incorporates familial and cultural themes that antedate the individual’s own life.52therefore, represents a potential crisis of identity, the nature and extent of which may vary:Identity transformation--identity crisis, identity change--is story revision. Storyrevision may range from minor editing of an obscure chapter to a complete rewritingof the text, embodying an altered plot, a different cast of characters, a transformedsetting, new scenes, and new themes. (McAdams, 1988a, p. 18)In part the identity crisis for the culturally dislocated person occurs due to a rupturein the personal narrative arising out of context interruption (Barudy, 1989) a break in theexile’s existential projection. As Adler asserted, in contrast to Freud, we live our lives, inlarge part teleologically, pulled along or moving forward towards some future goal, notmerely pushed and predetermined by childhood events. Personal narratives are not simplylife histories but also life projections in that they contain both experiences from the past aswell as events hoped for in the future. Dislocation not only rips out and severs one’s rootsbut also thwarts or alters the growth and development of new roots and limbs.What this means for the dislocated person is that until and unless the old narrativeis woven into a new one, it may persist with a life of its own, carrying on a parallel orshadow existence which interferes with the authoring of a new story. Thus, the culturallydisplaced person may inhabit, or be inhabited by, not just a single text, but by co-existingtexts, a fact vividly illustrated by Hoffman (1989) in her recollection of her two almostsimultaneous but opposing, and mutually exclusive, responses to the proposal of marriageby an American. In trying to determine her answer, she felt split, her Polish self saying“no”, her American self answering “yes”; the American suitor did not fit into her Polishnarrative. Being out of place in that story he did not fulfil her dreams, desires, orexpectations.In explaining her mixed reaction Hoffman writes that, “the structure of personalityis shaped at least as deeply by culture as it is by gender” (p. 189) and that “perhaps you53cannot love [a] person when you don’t love the world surrounding him” (p. 245).Ambivalent in her feelings towards her adoptive country, she was equally ambivalent in herfeelings towards her American suitor. (Quite possibly, a similar proposal from a Polish loverwould, equally, have fallen short of her American expectations and been swallowed up bythe cultural divide.) Even though she was living in America Hoffman’s Polish identity stillhad power to dictate her responses, in some ways more power than did her Americanidentity, because events from her early life, being more deeply embedded in her sense ofself, were possessed of an intensity and purity missing from later experiences.Such ambiguities or decisional irreconcilables as those experienced by Hoffman(1989) need not be limited only to those crossing national cultures, but may be experiencedby anyone simply in the act of growing up, in the move from the “culture” of childhood tothat of adulthood. Moving to a new country may, however, give childhood fantasies greaterforce. The interruption of self-narrative, the freezing, as it were, of that narrative in adifferent time and place, may imbue it with a life-in-death glow by embalming andpreserving it in all its luminous qualities. It may enhance the nostalgic and romantic qualitiesof the past since the validity, the realizability of youthful dreams cannot be checked againstthe reality of what might have occurred if the individual had stayed in his original context,if the story had been played out as initially conceived. Exile, therefore, means that at leastsome anticipated self-narrative(s) will likely be left hanging, incomplete, creating a disintegrated sense of self since “the more complete the story the more integrated the self”(Crites, 1986, p. 162).The embodied self. For all that it may be conceptually accurate and useful todescribe identity as a text, this idea is not without its limitations, one of which is an54overemphasis of the cognitive aspects of the self and a concomitant ignoring, or at least deemphasis of the corporeal (Gilligan, 1994). Similar criticism has been levelled againstconstructionist theories of the self. For Olesen (1992), the almost exclusively cognitive focusof Mead’s symbolic interactionism overlooks the fact that the self is rooted in the body suchthat “body is at once part of the environment and constitutes a lived environment for theself” (p. 214). Consequently, the person who undergoes a traumatic event may develop anembodied “biography of vulnerability” (p. 215).Therefore, that self-narrative is lived in and through physical experience is not justimportant theoretically, but has implications--emotional, psychological, physiological--for theindividual living her story. It has particular significance for the person whose story is in theprocess of changing, such as the culturally displaced individual who is under pressure toassimilate to a new culture, to discard her cultural heritage:If you’re asking people to forget what their history is, it’s like asking a tree tobecome disassociated from its roots. That’s not just a metaphor. I think that thehuman psyche works very much like an echo system and there’s an echo system ofthe psyche. (Griffin, interviewed in O’Connell, 1994)As an emigrant from India living in Canada remarked on his visceral response tohearing negative and stereotyping comments about his homeland:Sometimes I react so violently and so angrily to things that are said about India, andthen I say, ‘Why the hell do I do it? I’m not living there any more.’ But it’s thisatavistic thing, you see. It’s not in the brain any more, it’s very deep in the spinalcord and it’s a reflex that comes out. (O’Connell, 1994)Or Breytenbach (1984), expressing the deep almost physical pain of separation: “I have CapeTown in my bones. Long street runs down my spine” (p. 97).The physical dimension to psychological trauma may be especially acutely felt bythose who suffer (or have suffered) under oppressive regimes. For these people theembodiment of lived experience cannot be theoretical, for “it is politics--torture, suffering,55deprivation--which reminds us that our signifier-shaped existence is more corporeal thantextual” (Eagleton, 1994, p. 12).Self as moral construct. The self, then, is more than just an isolated and/ordisembodied narrative. It is an embodied, enacted tale. That is, life-story is rooted inphysical being and lived in relation to others. Because identity is created in, and out of,relationship with others, integrity of self requires more than just a coherent or well toldstory, it also necessitates “good” moral form, moral integrity (in the sense of an articulated,integrated set of values, believed in by the individual who holds them).For McAdams (1988a, following Erikson) the development of identity and thedevelopment of personal morality are interdependent, integral to each other, such that“identity and ideology are two sides of the same coin” (p. 64). (Ideology, is here taken tobe synonymous with morality, i.e. a coherent set of beliefs regarding action in the world andrelationship to others.)For Harre (1989), too, self is fundamentally a moral construct, “ ‘I’ being a form oflife, a moral community that has been presupposed by the uses of the first person, not a kindof hidden inner cognitive engine,” and that, therefore, “the human individual is, above all,in those societies that recognize autonomy, a moral phenomenon” (p. 26). Similarly forAlthusser (cited in Wagner, 1990), “ideology slides into all human activity.. .it is identicalwith the ‘lived experience’ of human existence itself’ (p. 28).However one formulates causal direction between self and morality (does ideologyunderlie identity, or vice versa?) it seems evident that the period of identity formationincludes a questioning of self in society that involves personal morality. The developmentof identity means working one’s way through questions of fundamental justice, of what56constitutes right and wrong, and of how to respond to injustice. Thus, Gordimer (1983),writing of growing up white in South Africa:I date the development of my consciousness of being South African rather thanhaving any other social identity from. . . the discovery of the lie. The great SouthAfrican lie. . . . From [that] time. . .1 had the opportunity to become what I think of asa South African. I had the responsibility to accept what I now knew. Which is to saythat I believe that is where the identity is to beformed [italics added]: working one’sway through the central definitive experience of black and white as people, withundifferentiated claims on life, whatever these--skin, language, culture--makes themdiffer from one other. (pp. 119-120)Such a working through required of the young white South African that she confrontfundamental questions of morality and identity: “Who am I? What is my responsibility toothers?” It was the difficulty of answering such questions that drove Gordimer to contemplateself-exile and many other white South Africans to take such a step.Identity, morality, and culture. Underlying many of the identity developmentmodels postulated in western cultures has been an assumption of universality of experience.But just as “ideas, values, conceptions of time, the notion of cause and effect [are all]culturally learned” (Torrey, 1986, p. 23), identity is largely a cultural construct.In response to the western bias of many identity development models some cross-cultural theorists have generated models which attempt to take into account the context inwhich identity is formed. One such model, the Racial/Cultural Identity Development model(RCID) (Sue & Sue, 1990) may serve as a useful beginning for the study of identitydevelopment in culturally mixed settings.Sue & Sue’s (1990) White Identity Development model (a variation on the R/CID),although created in an American context accurately reflects, in its general outline, possiblestages undergone by whites who grew up in apartheid South Africa since some of the57assumptions underlying this model were (and likely still are) as applicable to South Africaas to the U.S.A.: for example, the claim that “racism is a basic and integral part of U.S. lifeand permeates all aspects of [its] culture and institutions” and “that whites are socialized intoU.S. society and, therefore inherit biases, stereotypes, and racist attitudes beliefs, andbehaviors of the society” (p. 113).According to Sue & Sue (1990) the developmental sequence undergone by (liberal)whites is, briefly, as follows: (1) in the conformity stage the chief attitudes and beliefs are“ethnocentric [with] minimal awareness of the self as a racial being.. .and a belief in theuniversality of values and norms governing behavior”; (2) in the dissonance stage the whiteperson “is forced to deal with the inconsistencies that have been compartmentalized orencounters information/experiences at odds with his/her denial”; (3) following dissonancethe white person moves to resistance and immersion in which he sees and becomes awareof racism which seems all-pervasive, as a result of which he feels guilt, possible racial self-hatred and to which he may respond by either becoming a “paternalistic protector” or by“overidentification with another minority group”; (4) in entering the subsequent introspectivestage the white person recognizes the dsyfunctional nature of guilt and understands the needto go beyond a simple rejection of whiteness; (5) in the final stage of integrative awareness“a non-racist white identity begins to emerge [in which] the person no longer denies personalresponsibility for perpetuating racism, but tends not to be immobilized by guilt” (all quotespp. 114-116).Allowing for the differences in culture between the U.S.A. and South Africa and forthe normative nature of any linear model, these stages and descriptions are, I think, anaccurate reflection of the white South African liberal’s progress in apartheid South Africa.58The white person living in apartheid South Africa would, I believe, have been most likelyto leave his country in the dissonance or resistance stages when the attempt to resolve thecontradictions, both internal and external, might have proved most difficult. Achievementof the last two stages, integration and introspection, would then have been facilitated bybeing in exile. (Although, with events currently taking place in South Africa, achievementof the last two stages may now be more feasible for whites remaining in that country.)Identity development, then, involves moral or ideological crises the resolution ofwhich allow for either identityformation or identity dffusion (Marcia, 1993), either narrativeintegrity and cohesiveness or narrative dis-integration and lack of cohesion. Indeed, “themost tumultuous identity crises are ideological in that the entire background or setting of thestory previously assumed to be given, is transformed” (McAdams, 1988a, p. 250). Self-exile, in which one setting is exchanged for another, constitutes just such a “tumultuous”identity crisis. For those, like the white, self-exiled South African who felt that, in “runningaway”, she had betrayed her own principles, such a crisis may have been particularlydifficult to resolve since “few things are harder to restore than lost honour, an impairedmorality” (Klima, 1993, p. 202).ADyroach of the Present InvestigationQualitative research aims at an understanding of phenomena from the perspective ofthe individual in context. The value of a qualitative approach in psychological research hasbeen persuasively argued (see e.g. Cochran, 1990; Colaizi, 1978; Osborne, 1990; Polyzoi,1985). The traditional method of qualitative research is the case study design (McMillan &Schumacher, 1989), the legitimacy and usefulness of which has been established through itsextensive use throughout the human sciences including the fields of psychology (Mishler,591986; Yin, 1984)) sociology (Bertaux & Kohli, 1984) and anthropology (Bruner, E. 1983;Bruner, J. 1988; Watson & Watson-Franke, 1985).Case study method. According to Yin (1984), “case studies are the preferredstrategy when ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions are being posed, when the investigator has littlecontrol over events, and when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within some real-life context” (p. 13). A related, but slightly different definition is that a case is “a particularsituation selected by the researcher in which some phenomenon will be described byparticipants’ meanings of events and processes” (McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p. 93). Thepresent research fulfils the criteria of both definitions: the question asked is, “What is theexperience of identity rupture and repair for self-exiled, white South Africans?”, thephenomenon being studied is not under the researcher’s control and exists within a naturallyoccurring context, and the phenomenon is described through co-researchers’ words andunderstandings of events.Case studies allow the researcher to apply the findings gained through study of aparticular case to an understanding of a broader phenomenon (McMillan & Schumacher,1989) while retaining the integrity and meaning of events as they are experienced by theindividual in real life (Yin, 1984).However, to qualify as legitimate research a case study must fulfil the requirementsof credibility by addressing issues of validity and reliability (McMillan & Schumacher). Incases of exploratory or descriptive research such as in the present study, construct validityand reliability are of primary concern. These can be ensured through principles of evidencecollection, viz: using multiple sources of evidence, creating a case study data base, andmaintaining a chain of evidence (Yin, 1984).60Construct validity is enhanced by multiple sources of evidence. Although the presentresearch does not employ such multiple sources it does involve multiple cases “the evidencefrom [which] is often considered more compelling [than single case studies], and the overallstudy.. .therefore regarded as being more robust” (Yin, 1984, p. 52). Construct validity also“relates to the degree to which the generalizations and conceptual categories have mutualmeanings between the participants and the researcher” (Mcmilan & Schumacher, 1989, p.192). This may be achieved through validation by each of the co-researchers of his or hercase study account, a process which also addresses the issue of internal reliability (McMillan& Schumacher).External reliability refers to “the extent to which independent researchers coulddiscover the same phenomena in the same or similar situation” (McMillan & Schumacher,1989, p. 189). Because the qualitative process is personalistic (and, therefore, not completelyreplicable) external reliability is provided for by making explicit all aspects of the design:the researcher role, informant selection, social context, data collection and analysisstrategies, and analytical premises (McMillan & Schumacher, pp. 188-189). In additionreliability is achieved through the creation of a case study data base which is retrievable “sothat in principle, other investigators can review the evidence directly” (Yin, 1984, pp. 98-99). The data base for this study consists of the transcripts of interviews which are separateand distinct from the case study accounts.Reliability is also enhanced through the maintenance of a chain of evidence by which“an external observer [can] follow the derivation of any evidence from initial researchquestions to ultimate case study conclusions” and be able to do this in either direction. (Yin,1984, p. 102). The chain of evidence in the present study moves from the research questionthrough the data base (the narrative interviews), through the case study accounts, to a61comparative analysis. At all points the links are explicit and, thus, available for examinationby the reader.As with all research, a case study design must also address issues of external validity(McMillan & Schumacher, 1989; Yin, 1984). External validity relates to the generalizabilityof results. In a multiple case study design each case is equivalent to a single experiment, butgeneralizability is based on the logic of replication not inference to a population. Thus, “casestudies. . . are generalizable to theoretical propositions and not to populations or universes”(Yin, p. 21). Emphasis is placed on exploration and examination of accounts for a patternof meaning, on “analytic generalization” rather than on “statistical generalization” (Yin, p.38). Unique events and experiences are discounted and what remains is what is commonamong the cases studied.In the present study three individuals cases are examined both individually andjointly. The individual examination occurs through the case study account and interpretivecomments. The joint analysis occurs through a comparative analysis, a search for commonstructure, meaning, and themes. Each case is considered a replication. From thesereplications, common narrative structures, themes and meanings are derived.Narrative interviewing. “Life stories are shown to be rich ground for the formulationof substantive theories, which are conceived of as interpretation rather than scientificexplanations” (Bertaux & Kohli, 1984, p. 215). The eliciting, recounting, and interpretationof personal narrative (or life-story) through interview constitutes an attempt to renderaccurately and to understand a phenomenon (in this case, self-exile) as experienced and madesense of by the individual herself. This represents a phenomenological approach, a “methodthat remains with human experience as it is experienced, one which tries to sustain contact62with experience as it is givent’ (Colaizzi, 1978, P. 53). Because of its “fidelity tophenomena” (Colaizzi, p. 52) it can be argued that such an approach is more objective thanother (particularly quantitative) data gathering methods.While objectivity (i.e. accuracy) is always a concern in research, the narrativeinterview is not, as the tradition of scientific positivism has asserted, simply an impartialrecording of objective reality by a neutral observer, but a “form of discourse” (Mishler,1986, p. ix), a jointly constructed dialogue between the interviewer and the interviewed.The perspective and input of the interviewer is material to this joint project.Narrative interviews are, thus, not context-free, quantitatively measurable, stimulus-response interchanges, but “speech events” (Mishler, 1986, p. ix), meaningful interactionsinvolving and “directly governed by rules for the use of speech” (Hymes, cited in Mishler,p. 35). Their analysis and interpretation do not derive from theoretically neutral, empiricallyverifiable facts, but “are based on a theory of discourse and meaning” (Mishler, p. ix).A primary underlying theoretical assumption of narrative interviewing is that“interviewee responses [are] narrative accounts or stories [and] telling stories is one of thesignificant ways individuals construct and express meaning” (Mishler, 1986, p. 67) andcreate personal identity (McAdams, 1988a, 1988b). Stories “represent a ‘unity ofconsciousness’ which joins together the raw data of human perception and casts it into aninterpretive framework, one that literally and figuratively lends meaning to it and derivessense from it” (Morisette, 1993, p. 1). This is as true of personal stories as it is of storiesin general.Interpretation and analysis. Simple reiteration of personal narratives while valuableis, however, insufficient. Understanding comes from hermeneutical analysis which “looks63through language to that which language signifies” (Jordan, p. 5). But structuralist and poststructuralist discourse has shown that there is no simple one to one relationship between asign and that which it signifies (Sarup, 1989). So while, traditionally, the “goal of thehermeneutic effort [has been] defined as ‘meaning’ or ‘truth’ or ‘reality” (Jordan, p. 5),contemporary hermeneutics makes no claims to absolute veracity or meaning (Bertaux &Kohli, 1984). Instead what is searched for is credible meaning, rather than “the truth”.Although this creates the potential for a shallow relativism and subjectivism, the use of morethan one life story counters such tendencies in that meaning is derived not from a single casebut from multiple cases.To avoid unverifiable or dogmatic claims to “the truth” contemporary hermeneuticsfocuses on both “the life history as a text or discourse to be interpreted. . . .and the interpreterof the text” (Watson & Watson-Franke, 1985, p. 59) and attempts to take into account andmake explicit the socio-cultural context in which the participant lived and lives, theindividual context (both the larger cultural context and the particular context that gives riseto a personal narrative), the immediate context of life history construction (the context inwhich the life history is elicited), the pre-understandings (Gadamer; Heidegger, both citedin Watson & Watson-Franke) of the researcher, and the dialectical relationship (the synthesisat which the researcher arrives as a result of the interview process).However, despite the researcher’s best efforts, attempts to fully and accuratelyrepresent and interpret the reality of another will, in a sense, always fall short, “ethnographictruths [being] inherently partial” more “true fiction” (Clifford, 1986, p. 7) or fictive truththan the whole truth (if such a thing exists). In part this is due to inevitable acts of exclusion,alteration, and narrative smoothing (Spence, 1986) in life-history telling, recording andinterpretation, in part because there is no necessary “correspondence between a life as lived,64a life as experienced, and a life as told” (Bruner, 1984, P. 7) and that same life assubsequently retold by a researcher. The experiencing, the telling, and the retelling are eacha construction, an improvisation upon the preceding “stage”, the last being a jointconstruction by interviewee and interviewer.But, because identity as self-narrative is itself, “true fiction”, a story created out of“actual” personal experiences, the life stories gathered in research interviewing may bethought of as “truthful” reflections of the co-researchers’ lives at the points at which theyhave been collected. As Wiersma (1988) has pointed out, even very unrevealing (read“untrue”) personal narratives can be seen to be symbolically true if examined and understoodwithin their larger contexts.65CHAPTER ifiMethodologyResearch DesignThe intent of this research is to gain an understanding of the effects of culturaldislocation on identity by examining narrative accounts of self-exile. That is, this studyattempts to understand “the things themselves” (Colaizzi, 1978, p. 53, following Heidegger),the phenomena of (and relationship between) self-exile and identity. Since identity is, here,considered to be life-story (McAdams, 1990) as lived, experienced, and told by personsthemselves, the focus is on personal accounts and meaning.Phenomenological research is akin to the therapeutic relationship; in fact, it “is amode of existential therapy” (Colaizzi, 1978, p. 69). It is (or should be) dialogic and shouldoccur in a situation of trust. Attention to trust and mutuality is not simply an ethicalconsideration but also a practical one, since “interviewing practices that empowerrespondents also produce narrative accounts” (Mishler, 1986, P. 119). In order to evokepersonal narratives that are “rich”, “thick”, and accurately reflect “participant meanings”(McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p. 94) requires that the researcher address the powerasymmetry that marks the standard research interview which,through both its form and the hierarchic structure of the interviewer-intervieweerelationship tends to obscure relations between events and experiences and to disruptindividuals’ attempts to make coherent sense of what is happening to them and aroundthem. (Mishler, 1986, p. 120)Empowerment of the interviewee is, thus, central to the gathering of “truthful”narrative accounts. The chief means of empowering interviewees is to actively involve them,as much as possible, as partners in the research process.66In this study co-researcher empowerment is addressed through collaboration andtransparency (Gergen, 1988): full, and ongoing, disclosure of the intent and process of theresearch as well as the presuppositions, relevant background, and experiences of theresearcher, the accepting of the co-researchers’ words and meanings as valid and legitimatein their own right, the “yielding [of] control to the co-researchers of the flow and contentof the interviews” (Laub, 1991, p. 104), and the co-researchers’ participation in theinterpretation of their own meanings. The narrative accounts collected here (which are notsimply transcriptions but a rendering of the participants’ stories) were read and validated bythe co-researchers themselves.Although the emphasis in this study is on personal meaning (of self-exile and ofidentity) and that, therefore, personal narratives (even their inaccuracies) are inherentlytruthful (Wiersma, 1988), distortions and misrepresentations can occur. The vicissitudes ofmemory, participant desire to represent the self in a certain light, the (hidden) demands ofthe interview process, ideological bromides that obscure the “truth” (Wiersma), can allhinder accurate recounting and interpretation.Meaning is contextually grounded (Cochran, 1990; Mishler, 1986). Since “one cannot‘control for’ cultural context” (Bertaux & Kohli, 1984, p. 217), awareness of context mustbe an integral part of interviewing and interpretation. Researcher knowledge of the variouscontexts (the plural is intentional) in which the life story has been lived, constructed, andsubsequently told can help counter the effects of distortion.In the present study the researcher, like the co-researchers, has experienced self-exilefrom South Africa. While similarity of experience might be seen as a liability in terms ofobserver bias, in narrative interviewing such familiarity may be an asset (Mishler, 1986;Rocha Lima, 1984) allowing the researcher to understand, appreciate, and interpret otherwise67hidden contextual issues (as well as cultural and linguistic nuances and subtleties), thuspotentially enhancing both the eliciting of stories and their subsequent analysis.Problems of researcher bias can also be addressed through cross-validation of findingsand interpretation. In this study the co-researchers read, made alterations, and provided theirpersonal responses to the initial case study accounts, which information was incorporated intothe final rendering of the personal stories or elsewhere in the study. In addition theresearcher engaged in ongoing discussion with his supervisor to check the accuracy of theaccounts and validity of the interpretations.In this study, then, narrative veracity was accounted for through co-researcherempowerment, researcher contextual awareness, and cross-validation. Given the presumedtrustworthiness of the narrative accounts, the findings (both the interpretive comments andcomparative analysis) lay claim to validity on the basis that the evidence on which thefindings are based is explicit in the case study accounts.ProceduresIn brief, the procedures followed in this study were:1. Identification of co-researchers.2. Co-researcher screening interviews.3. Narrative interviews (including self-exile change-line) to identify significant events andto elicit in-depth accounts of the self-exile experience as perceived by each of the coresearchers.4. Transcription of interview audiotapes and rendering of personal stories of self-exile intocase study accounts.5. Validation interviews to check for errors of omission and commission and to gather co68researcher responses to reading their case study accounts.6. Interpretive commentary for each of the individual accounts and comparative analysis ofall three.Co-researchersThrough a network of contacts, a list of ten potential co-researchers was drawn up.From these, three were chosen for participation in the study. The participants selected weretwo women (aged 46 and 54) and one man (aged 47).Criteria for selection. Participants were selected according to criteria outlined byCochran and Claspell (1987) for phenomenological research. This means that they fulfilledthree requirements: they had undergone the targeted experience (self-exile from South Africato Canada), they could articulate their experience (were able to recall actual events andexperiences as well as express their thoughts and feelings about them), and they met thescreening criteria; that is, they had left South Africa under their own volition but had feltcompelled to do so primarily (or to a significant degree) for reasons of conscience. InCanada they had come to the decision (however ambivalently held) not to return to livepermanently in South Africa. In other words they had come to terms, with whatever degreeof success, with living in Canada. For the purposes of this study it was presumed that a selfexile must have been here for a minimum of five years to allow for adjustment to a newculture. The co-researchers had, in fact, been here for a period ranging from 14 to 20 years.Since this is an exploratory study co-researchers were chosen to represent a range ofexperiences (within the limitations created by having a small number of participants).Differences in gender, marital status, cultural (and/or denominational background), and69degree of political involvement and identification were considered to be factors that mightinfluence identity change in self-exile and hence were included as criteria for choosingparticipants.The study, thus, includes members of both genders (two women and one man) ofwhich two (one man, and one woman) were married, and the other (the remaining woman)was single. Because many white South African self-exiles are also Jewish it was deemedimportant to include at least one representative from this group. (Jewish, here meansprimarily a cultural, rather than a denominational affiliation.)Because, in South Africa, the personal and the political are inextricably entwined(Adam & Moodley, 1993) and the reasons for leaving would, therefore, involve both of theseaspects, the co-researchers were also chosen to cover a range of political activity from lowparticipation and identification (Paul, who wanted to do some good but did not participatein what is traditionally called “politics”), through mid-level involvement (Claire, who wastargeted by the police despite her limited political activism), to high involvement (Jane, aformer member of the Communist Party imprisoned for her political work).A primary consideration in the choice of participants was their age at the time ofgoing into self-exile. Since it is in the definition of self-exile that the person leave hercountry through some degree of personal choice, it was a requirement that the participantsbe adults at the time of departure (i.e. in a position to make their own decision to leave).In addition, because the purpose of this research is to examine the impact ofdislocation on identity it was important that the co-researchers not be in a pre-identitydevelopment phase (according to Erikson’s, 1959, psychosocial identity development model)at the time of leaving. Although identity development does not halt at any given time andchronological age alone is no guarantee of being identity achieved (Marcia, 1993) having70participants who, at the time of leaving South Arica, were not in their adolescence orchildhood, removed pre-adult identity development as a complicating factor. At the time ofleaving South Africa the three participants ranged in age from 26 to 31.Although all of the above factors were considerations in particpant selection, actualselection was opportunistic, since the co-researchers were not drawn from a large randomsample.Research InterviewThe interviewing process consisted of three parts; the screening interview, thenarrative interview, and the validation interview.Screening interview. The function of the screening interview was to check that thepotential participants qualified for inclusion in the study by virtue of having undergone thetargeted experience. Since potential participants had received a letter of initial contact whichoutlined the nature of the study and explained what participation in the study would involve,some self-screening presumably occurred.The screening interview took place either in person or over the telephone. Thequalifying criteria were further delineated and it verified that the individual conformed tothese criteria (as outlined above). The person was not asked whether self-exile had affectedtheir sense of self since it is the purpose of this study to see whether, and in what ways, selfexile impacts upon identity. Having verified that the potential co-researchers fit therequirements of the study, a time and place for the narrative interview was set up with eachperson.71Narrative interview. The function of the narrative interview was to elicit a personalstory of the experience of self-exile. This involved a two-step procedure: the constructionby the co-researcher of a self-exile change-line on which she marked the significant eventsof the experience, followed by the telling of her story of self-exile. The life-lines tookapproximately ten minutes to construct. The three interviews took 1.25, 1.5, and 2.25 hours,respectively, to complete. The interviews were audiotaped to allow for later transcription andanalysis.Each of the interviews began informally as a means of establishing contact and puttingboth co-researcher and researcher at ease. The researcher then explained the purpose of thestudy as well as his personal reasons for undertaking this research. He also disclosedpertinent information about his background, both academic and personal, regarding his ownexperience as a self-exile and interest in the subject. (Such disclosure was brief so as not tocolour the participants’ telling of their story). The purpose of this initial contact was toestablish rapport, establish the dialogic relationship, and empower the participant.The participant was then asked to construct a change-line covering the period of self-exile. This period was defined as being from the time that the person made the decision toleave South Africa up until the time that he felt that he had “come to terms with” living inCanada. The change-line was intended as a linear, chronological representation of thesignificant events of self-exile, its purpose being to help the co-researcher recall and orderthe story as well as to focus the interview.The change-line consisted of a line drawn by the participant on paper the end-pointsof which represented the beginning and end of the self-exile experience. It was suggested thatthe co-researcher divide the line into chapters, each chapter marking a significant event (orperiod) in the self-exile process. The co-researchers were given as much time as they72required to complete the line.Although the construction of the change-line occurred in the presence of theresearcher, the researcher did not in any way participate in this process apart from explainingits structure and function and answering any related questions. This was done to allow theparticipants full control over the creation of the change-line within the parameters given.One participant declined to do the change-line saying she felt that she did not needto. The other two completed theirs, one participant including unsolicited information (fromfamily and early childhood), that helped contextualize the self-exile narrative. The two whodid do the change-line ended the line in the present. That is, at the time of the interviews,they felt that they were still undergoing changes as a result of self-exile. The change-lineswere kept by the participants during the course of the interview and referred to as she or hechose. Subsequently the change-lines became part of the data base for analysis.The self-exile interview proper took the form of a dialogue. The interview wasinformal, open-ended, and semi-structured with the participant controlling the flow andcontent of the narrative within the broadly defined parameters of the interview. (As noted,one participant, Paul, provided fairly extensive genealogical information about his family’shistory of dislocation, while another, Jane, talked at some length about her prison experiencethat led to the decision to leave). To help elicit the stories (through empowering the clients)the researcher employed basic counselling skills, specifically active listening, empathy, openended questioning and, where appropriate, self-disclosure, and discussion.The end point of the interview was mutually determined by researcher and coresearcher and, in each case, occurred when the story was brought up to the present. At thatpoint the researcher asked the participants about the experience of the interview itself. Ineach case the comments were favourable and along the lines that it had been a useful73experience, that it had helped each of them look at cultural dislocation in a new way, onewhich provided an overview of the events and experiences.Validation interview. The purpose of the validation interview was primarily tovalidate the narrative accounts and, in the process, to empower the co-researchers byincluding them in the final rendering of their own narratives, as well as to elicit theirresponses to the experience of reading their own stories. Each of the co-researchers wasgiven a copy of his or her case study account with a request that he or she read it to checkfor errors and to make any changes or additions that needed making. The results of the coresearchers’ self-reviews are reported at the end of Chapter IV.Case Study Accounts: Stories of Self-ExileAudiotapes of all the interviews were transcribed. The transcriptions were thenrendered, by the researcher, into narrative accounts according to the following principles.First, each of the accounts was arranged in a narrative form, that is, into a story with abeginning, middle, and end. Second, because the co-researchers did not always relateexperiences in the sequence in which they had occurred, events were arrangedchronologically. Third, for the most part, the co-researchers’ own words were used but werealtered from the first to the third person (and, for reasons of confidentiality, the names ofthe co-researchers and those mentioned in the narrative were changed). In addition, whereappropriate, links and themes that appeared to be implicit in the narratives but were notmentioned by the co-researcher, were elucidated. The reason for these “narrativeinterventions” was to give the stories a clarity and coherence that simple verbatimtranscriptions would not have, while providing an accurate rendition of each of the stories.74The validation interviews (see above) were used to verify that the accounts were accurate andthat they had retained the essence of the co-researchers’ stories.Comnarative Analysis (and Interpretive Comments)As Cochran (1990) notes, “a story is indefinitely analyzable” (p. 17). But in orderthat both researcher and research (not to mention reader) not be held hostage to interminabletheorizing, explication and analysis must find their method. The approach taken with thepersonal narratives gathered here is based on the assumption that “we live experiences as astory, aware of a beginning, a middle, and a striving for closure” (Cochran, p. 14).The general movement in life-story is from incompletion, the birth of longing,through to its opposite, completion, the realization of desire (Cochran, 1990), fromirresolution, through (attempted) resolution to “the sense of an ending” (Kermode, 1967).But, people’s lives as lived are seldom as neat as those same lives as told. Beginnings,middles, and endings, especially to the individual living them, are seldom tidy, althoughupon reflection they may gather, or have imposed on them, an orderliness that helps to makesense of the whole.Using a hermeneutic approach (see above) I dwelt on the individual accounts until Iwas highly sensitized to the elements in each story. I identified the salient features andpivotal points in a systematic fashion and consulted with my research supervisor beforearriving at the research findings.In examining these stories a structure of self-exile narrative emerged that resembledthe framework of a rite ofpassage; both the experience of self-exile and the story of thatexperience seemed to reflect the three phases of a rite of passage: separation (preliminal),75transition (liminal), and incorporation (postliminal) (van Gennep, 1965).Broadly speaking (there were individual variations) the first stage, separation,involved the period up to, and including, actual departure from South Africa, the secondstage, transition, included the journey from homeland to adoptive land as well as the firstyears in Canada, and the third phase, incorporation, the period during which the self-exileadapted to his new homeland and came to terms with being away from his birthplace. (Seebelow, Chapter V, “Comparative Analysis”, for fuller discussion.)The test of adequacy for a narrative analysis is its ability to render a storyunderstandable in itself, as well as comparable to other stories, without doing violence to thatstory’s integrity, its “truthfulness” as experienced and told by the individual who has livedit. I believe that the rite of passage provides a framework that fulfils these requirements.Because life-story interviewing privileges phenomenological experience, meanings,themes, and understandings, to a large extent, have been derived directly from the narrativesthemselves. However, in response to the fictive and mythological (Elsbree, 1982; Frye,1990; May, 1991) elements in personal narrative, interpretation, in part, involved a literary-type analysis, examining story structure and themes.At the same time I have mentioned certain psychological theories, including cross-cultural (e.g. invalidation, self-shock) and developmental theories (e.g. Erikson’spsychosocial approach) in interpreting and discussing the self-exile stories.By attempting to integrate conventionally “scientific” psychological theories withmore literary approaches I have attempted to follow the lead of those who emphasize thevalue of an interdisciplinary approach in the human sciences and encourage incorporatingliterarmness and artistry in scientific discourse (Clifford, 1986). I have done this in the spiritof generative theory and practice as proposed by Gergen (1988).76The narratives gathered here reflect only a segment of each of the co-researcher’s stillongoing lives, essentially from the moment (or moments) of deciding to leave South Africaand the events which led to this decision, up till a time of (an, at least, partial) coming toterms with life in self-imposed exile, from dissolution to resolution. However, as the partsoften reflect the whole, since “in lives, the central characteristic is repetition of experience”(Cochran, 1990, p. 11), and cycles exist within cycles, so the stories covered here call uponand echo elements from their narrators’ lives from the period before self-exile and, in alllikelihood, anticipate or prefigure events yet to be lived.In these analyses, special emphasis has been placed on the importance of context increating and maintaining a personal text (Cochran, 1990). However, because a text isdependent upon a particular context does not mean that the latter simply determines theformer. Rather the text-context relationship is one of interdependence. Just as a contextsupports a certain text so a text also helps create and support the context in which it exists.Although the primary objective of this study is to understand the self-exile experienceby looking for a common structure and themes in the stories of self-exiles, there wereimportant aspects of each story that might have been lost if only the common elements hadbeen emphasized and examined. To avoid this potential loss, and because each story ismeaningful in, and of, itself (not simply in what it shares with other stories) I appended tothe end of each account some interpretive comments.As noted earlier, hermeneutic interpretation is not intended to be definitive. Rather,exegesis and analysis should be credible and supported by the evidence. While the case studyaccounts were read and validated by the co-researchers, the interpretive comments andcomparative analysis were not (although they were discussed with and read by the thesissupervisor). Any interpretations (both in the interpretive comments and in the comparative77analysis) are, therefore, those of the researcher and I am responsible for all mistakes,misinterpretations, and discrepancies.78CHAPTER 1VResults: Stories of Self-ExileClaire’s StoryIn 1979, at age 31, Claire B. decided to leave South Africa. Together with herhusband, John, and their two children, four-year old Alex and six-week old Eve, she lefthome, friends, and family, to move to Canada, first Toronto and then Vancouver where theysettled. At present Claire is a practising counsellor.For as far back as she can remember Claire always felt that she would not spend herlife in South Africa. Thus, in leaving her birthplace Claire was fulfilling an idea that hadtaken root early in her life. Having established itself, this nascent conviction that she wouldleave was sustained by experiences of both a both political and personal nature.Politically speaking Claire grew up in a family that was quite anti-government, onein which there was always political talk going on; every time a new restrictive law wasbrought in everyone would be very upset. But while all the members of her family felt animmense frustration with government policies Claire, because she was a really sensitivechild, took it on more than the others.Although her parents had been the ones to sew the seeds of Claire’s politicalawareness, as she grew older she began to see an hypocrisy in their stance. She observedthat while they were politically vocal they were not politically active; they mostly just paidlip service to their ideals. What most shocked her was their attitude towards blacks becauseClaire had grown up believing that her mother and father would welcome people of all racesas equals. But Claire’s parents were really only okay with blacks as long as they remained79in their place as servants. Claire reacted against this hypocrisy and went far beyond what herparents espoused politically, to the point where they eventually rejected her politics, althoughshe was never really a radical.Claire’s emerging politics, thus, put her at increasing odds with both her parents andher country. But the groundwork for Claire’s disaffection with South Africa had already beenlaid earlier by her mother’s disparaging view of South African culture. Although her motherhad fairly deep roots in South Africa, her forebears arriving there with the 1820 settlers fromEngland, she identified more with England than with South Africa. She spent the first twoyears of her married life in her ancestral homeland and always portrayed it as a wonderfulplace. Throughout her life she has remained a true anglophile and, through her, Claire grewup with a sense of South Africa as inferior to England.As a result Claire felt a shame about her country and her identity, both because shehad come to see South Africa as culturally inferior and because she belonged to a group ofpeople who were capable of perpetrating such horrible laws and generally behaving the waythat whites did. To Claire South Africa is a shame-filled society, its people carrying a senseof the terrible things that have gone on through the entire history of that country.But shame, for Claire, was not only a cultural legacy, it was also a familial one. Herfamily was filled with shame from all kinds of problems, mental illness being one. As a childin that family Claire had inherited that sense of shame. At the time, however, Claire was notaware that what she felt was shame even as she experienced its effects. Her ability to put aname to, and understand her feelings, came only later, once she had moved to Canada andput some distance between herself and her family and country.Apart from feelings of shame, Claire also experienced other difficulties because ofher family and her culture. In her family Claire was the youngest, the only daughter with80two older brothers and everything, everyone, in that family was male-oriented, even hermother. In this respect, her family was simply a reflection of South African society as awhole which was, and still is, very paternalistic and patriarchal.In South Africa a woman is only valued if she’s a wife and mother but being a wifeand mother is not valued in itself. Girls and women are put in a terrible double-bind,expected to fulfil cultural expectations and yet devalued for doing so. The only careers thatwere considered acceptable for Claire were nursing and teaching. Her mother would saythings like, “I think you should be a teacher because then you can be home when yourchildren come home from school”. As a girl growing up and, later, as a woman Claire feltthat she didn’t have a voice, that nothing she had to say was of any interest to anyone.Claire fulfilled some of these familial and cultural expectations of her as a women bydoing her nursing training. Yet she yearned for something different, a life away from thestrictures of family and country. So after completing her training she left South Africa totravel in Europe with the intention of not returning. One year later, however, she decidedthat she could not afford to study abroad and returned to finish her degree. (She hadcompleted one year at university in South Africa prior to nursing school).Even after returning, however, Claire knew that she would eventually leave. Shesimply couldn’t see the country ever working itself out. At university she studied AfricanHistory and saw what had happened in most African countries that gained independence fromcolonialism. There was so much chaos and the same is happening in South Africa now. Shefelt that South Africa would not be a place where she could flourish. Yet despite thesefeelings part of her wanted to stay and fight, fight for the rights of blacks. She felt thatpeople like her needed to stay.But Claire had some frightening experiences that caused her to back away from the81political struggle and, concomitantly, strengthened her determination to leave. Claire washarassed by the Secret Police, even though, politically speaking, she had really done nothing.All that she had done was to have received some unsolicited literature on the South AfricanCommunist Party (SACP) from an Irish Republican Army (IRA) member whom she’d metin London. The South African secret police, of course, found out about it and visited herapartment, which really scared her.There were also other factors that made her and her family a target. John worked foran organization in Johannesburg that was trying to improve urban life for blacks. He alsohappens to be related to a well known South African writer critical of the political system.Twice Claire had her phone tapped, once when she was a student in Cape Town and thenagain in Johannesburg after she and John were married. The two of them also receivedanonymous, threatening phone calls.It freaked Claire out that the police would waste so much energy on people like themwho were really not a threat to the state. It scared her. She felt that she didn’t really havethe courage to battle that system. She felt powerless in the hands of those people, in the faceof that regime; there was nothing that she could do. And she had a child, which made herthink, “There’s no way I’m going to put myself on the line to be arrested. I don’t want todo that. I have a responsibility to this kid.”It was not simply fear of the state apparatus that encouraged Claire to leave but that,in the face of such pervasive injustice she was not sure that she could make a real difference.In fact, in such an oppressive environment even well-intentioned actions might createproblems precisely for those they were intended to help.When Claire and John lived in Johannesburg, this wonderful, intelligent blackwoman, Gloria worked for them. They treated her as an equal and Claire believes that Gloria82learned some things about life from the two of them, about what was possible in terms ofsocial interaction. But when Claire and John left Jo’burg Gloria went to work for somepeople who forced her to call them “master” and “madam” and paid her a pittance. Clairethought, “What did we do that for?” What an experience for this black woman to gain asmall taste of personal equality and then to be forced back into an oppressive situation. Thathas always troubled Claire and, to this day, she still thinks about Gloria.Given these difficulties Claire just couldn’t wait to get out of the country. Yet despiteher resolve to go she felt a tremendous guilt about leaving and a shame at her powerlessnessand lack of courage. What made it even more difficult was the fact that she felt quite alonein this. Even though John shared Claire’s desire to leave he didn’t experience the conflict--wanting to leave but also wanting to stay and fight--to the extent that she did. He didn’thave the same kind of political intensity.Nor could Claire speak to most of her friends because they were very threatened bythat kind of talk. Some weren’t negative or unsupportive they just didn’t comment eitherway. Most just expressed sadness that Claire was leaving. She would speak with people whowere planning to leave but, in her idealistic state, she was very shocked that they, unlike her,didn’t seem to feel any guilt because to her the guilt was really strong.Claire’s parents were also not at all supportive of her leaving. In fact, they werereally angry with her. Only John’s mother was very supportive saying, “There’s no futurein this country and I’m glad you’re going,” which helped a bit. She’s an Afrikaner. ToClaire there sometimes seems to be a lot more honesty amongst Afrikaners.In general, though, Claire felt quite isolated in her struggle to come to terms with herguilt about leaving. Perhaps, she thinks, this was elitism on her part, her thinking, “Nobodyfeels like I do”.83There were some things that made departing easier, such as the fact that Claire andher family had to leave Cape Town anyway when John was transferred to Jo’burg. Clairehad grown up on the coast and loved the sea, especially around Cape Town where she’dbeen to university and where she and John spent the first three years of their marriage. Whenshe got to Jo’burg Claire hated it with such a passion that it made leaving South Africaeasier. In addition, a Canadian friend whom she’d met in Cape Town had filled her with anexcitement about Canada, saying to Claire, “You would love Vancouver because it’s so likeCape Town. You must come”.But in spite of her desire to get away and her expectations of Canada, the reality ofrelocating to a new country proved traumatic. Claire had no understanding of what anincredible thing it is to move, especially for someone with a tiny baby. She was in a stateof symbiosis with her baby and her whole instinct was to nest, to create a home. They weretotally uprooted, had nowhere to live, no security. John had landed immigrant status becausethe Canadian authorities felt that he would find work, but he didn’t have a job.The first three weeks in Toronto, staying with some people whom she barely knew,Claire was shell-shocked. It was probably a combination of jet-lag, having a baby that wasthe centre of her focus and not having anywhere that she could call hers. She just waftedthrough those weeks not taking in very much.Claire was not completely without resources, however. Both John and her are, bynature, quite optimistic. They tend to brush aside the bad things that could happen, and thetwo of them thought, “Oh, we’ll be just fine”. They arrived in Toronto thinking they mightsettle there and John was offered a job, but he flew to Vancouver just to check it out. It wasin August during one of those wonderful dry summers and after two days he called and said,“Come. I haven’t got a job but we’re not leaving Vancouver”.84At that point Claire was still very buoyant about the whole thing. She had an overalloptimism and a determination that this was going to work and that they were going to behappy here, that there wasn’t going to be any problem. That’s just who she is or, rather,was. Now she’s become more realistic. At that time, though, she would just gloss over thethings that could possibly go wrong.But in the face of persistent difficulties even Claire’s determined optimism began tofalter. She and John had practically no money, which was a major stress. They’d never hadhuge amounts of money in South Africa but were comfortable. In Vancouver, at the time,the housing market was going wild and Claire and John felt desperate, thinking that if theydidn’t get a place immediately they would never be able to afford a house. So they boughta house that they really couldn’t afford. They needn’t have worried, though, because a yearlater the prices dropped right back down. Unfortunately they weren’t familiar with themarket, never having experienced anything like it.Claire also couldn’t work. Her B.A. was worth nothing. She hated nursing and, inany case, would have had to have done extensive further training to qualify here. As it was,they had no money to pay for baby-sitters to free her up to study. And in any case she didn’tknow what other kind of work she could or would do.Another major stress was cultural, the sense of not speaking the language. Forinstance, Claire would go into a store and ask for something and nobody would understandher because she’d used the wrong terminology. Once she asked for “press-studs” and thestore clerk said “press-studs?” When Claire described them to her the clerk said, “Oh, snap-fasteners”. Instead of realizing that it was simply a language problem Claire felt inadequate.She would often find herself tongue-tied, thinking, “What word do I use? I don’t know whatword to use”.85Other cultural dissimilarities also caused problems in social interactions. When Clairefirst arrived she thought that Canadians were quite rude. There were some women living onher street who had kids the same age as hers and with whom she car pooled. When therewere issues such as Claire not being on time some of the women could get really nasty andoutspoken. Claire was shocked because, in South Africa, people never, ever tell somebodythat they’re pissed off about something. It really was quite an aversive experience for her.Claire realizes that her responses to the women’s outspokenness had much to do withpersonal guilt that she carried from her family, always feeling like she’d screwed up. But,regardless of that fact, in South Africa she’d never had the kind of encounter wheresomebody would challenge her or tell her that they’d been hurt by something that she’d said.It was never part of her culture for someone to do that.South Africa is a “high context” culture where there’s an unspoken understanding ofexactly what a person means irrespective of what he’s said. So if someone says “No” tobeing offered a drink, it’s presumed that he could be persuaded, whereas here when a personsays “No” it’s “No”. The offer isn’t repeated. So Claire felt a lot of anxiety around thewomen in her area. But at the time she didn’t understand why, she just felt stressed.Claire’s stress was added to by her isolation as a mother at home with kids and asa newcomer in an unfamiliar environment. In the suburbs where she lived, Claire found thatthere was nobody in whom she was particularly interested, except for one woman, aCanadian of English descent. Claire was an intellectual and a thinker whereas most of theother people she was around would say things like, “You use such long words, we don’tunderstand you”. Claire would think, “Long words? What are you talking about? Who amI living amongst?”Claire also didn’t like associating with South Africans because, although some of86them were really nice people, many were of the kind she would never have been friends within South Africa. They were very materialistic, just out here to be well off and live the goodlife, and quite right-wing.John, on the other hand, did join South African groups. One of these, the “LunchBunch”, seemed an absolutely horrible organization, made up mostly of men who told awfulsexist and racist jokes. John would come home and repeat these jokes and Claire wouldthink, “Those aren’t even funny. Over my dead body would you ever see me in a place likethat”. John thought she was just being uptight. Claire thinks that, perhaps, she was prettyelitist about the whole thing.Her attitude towards other South Africans was reinforced by a negativity she pickedup amongst Canadians, a feeling like, “Oh you’re a South African, part of that regime, oneof those loudmouthed, beer-swilling, back slapping types”. A friend of Claire’s said that shefound South Africans very arrogant and Claire thinks that that’s true, that South Africans arenoisy and arrogant. But she’s one of them.Such attitudes fit well with Claire’s sense of shamefulness about being a SouthAfrican. At that point, however, she wasn’t even aware that she was ashamed. She just knewthat she didn’t want to mix with her fellow expatriates, didn’t want to just stick to her groupand create a little South Africa here. She used to hate going to parties where there were justSouth Africans, millions of South Africans.Not feeling comfortable socializing either with South Africans or the Canadians inher area Claire also didn’t connect with anyone politically. She didn’t get involved in localpolitical organizations because she didn’t really identify with the politics here. Compared toSouth Africa, there wasn’t anything that she felt she could get her teeth into. People weregetting hot under the collar about things that didn’t seem, at the time, to have a lot of87meaning for her. Local issues seemed mundane and banal. She didn’t know what peoplewere fighting about.Part of the difficulty was the difference in the nature of political involvement betweenSouth Africa and Canada. To Claire, that felt like a loss. Back in South Africa, people whobelonged to political parties were impassioned. People like van Zyl Slabbert, former leaderof the Opposition, had a terrific commitment and integrity, a sense of conviction. Clairerespected that, whether or not she agreed with a particular person’s stand whereas, inCanada, people seemed to switch sides with ease. She came to lose respect for someCanadian politicians for that.But while Claire didn’t participate in local issues neither did she get involved withSouth African politics. On one occasion she had intended to attend a talk being given by anAfrikaans man who was apparently a very impassioned speaker but, in the end, she didn’tgo. She’s not sure why. She just didn’t seem to have the same energy for South Africa onceshe was here.Claire’s lack of energy in regard to South Africa extended beyond the political arena.For instance, while still in South Africa she had started writing some short stories but, forsome reason, couldn’t complete them there. She had felt that grip of suppression. So she hadthought that when she got to Canada she would write those stories, but never did. It just felttoo far away, like something had slipped out of her hands. She didn’t feel that she couldreach back to that experience and write about it with conviction.Instead, Claire teetered on the edge of writing. She went to one or two workshopsbut just didn’t have the confidence to do it, feeling, “What have I got to say here thatanybody would be interested in hearing?” Claire was also put off by a journalism workshopshe attended where the instructor said that it was almost impossible to get articles published88here because editors have their favourite writers who they go to if they want anythingwritten. Claire felt so discouraged she thought, “Well, I can never write in this culture”.But Claire was feeling despondent over more than just her inability to write. Althoughshe didn’t realize it at the time, she was actually under enormous stress. Especially at thebeginning she was in quite bad shape. After she’d been here just over a year her parentsvisited and her dad, who’s a doctor, said, “I think you’re in an anxiety depression,” to whichClaire responded, “What nonsense”. But he was right; she was depressed. It wasn’t alethargic depression, she was just overfunctioning like crazy. But Claire didn’t see it at all;it took her father to see that she was in trouble. So he put her on anti-depressants whichreally helped. That whole five-year period from about ‘79 to ‘84, when her kids were little,was a very difficult time for her.Then things began to change for the better. Claire, while doing courses for a socialwork program, attended a class given by child psychologist Gordon Neufeld. He was a veryinspiring teacher and he opened a door for Claire to a way of thinking and understanding towhich she hadn’t been exposed before. But it was only a way of thinking, it wasn’t personaltransformation. Still, it inspired her to enrol in the social work program and this proved tobe an incredibly transforming time for her in terms of knowing herself.What was especially significant for Claire was seeing how her identity as a womanhad been suppressed in South Africa. In the social work program she started to understandher own worth as a person, as a woman with creativity and energy and something to say thatwas of value. At that point her reason for never wanting to live in South Africa againchanged. She said, “I will never go back to South Africa,” not because of the politics butbecause of the status of women there. It was not a political decision any more, it was moreabout her identity, who she was and the fact that she would not be valued in South Africa.89When she went back to school Claire started to really feel at home here. She madefriends with people with whom she could connect and resonate in a way that she hadn’t sinceher university days in South Africa. She started to develop a career identity. She wasploughing her own path instead of just being John’s wife and her kids’ mother. It was quiteheady.The extent to which she was changing became apparent to Claire when, during thisperiod, she and her family paid a visit to South Africa. In particular she became aware ofhow she had changed in terms of her discoveries about the status of women. It was reallydistressing to see how the women in South Africa gave away their power so readily anddidn’t even have a sense that they were doing that. They would be very threatened if she saidanything about it. It was just not something that one would comment on.Not just the women, however, but the whole country seemed unchanged. The placestill felt really static, stuck in the iron grip of nationalism. Everywhere there were signs ofthe things that Claire most hated. The petty official at the airport asking stupid questionsepitomised everything that she found so embarrassing as a South African. Even though pettyapartheid was starting to come down she didn’t really notice much of a difference in thefeeling of the place.It’s hard for Claire to separate her reactions to the country at the time, from thosetowards her family of origin because she really had a difficult time with her parents. Beingwith them was very stressful. They were quite defensive as were some of her formeracquaintances, particularly John’s old friends. Claire felt like she only talked superficiallywith these people and got no sense from them of what was happening there.Both from her parents and from these friends, Claire felt an anger and resentmentdirected towards her for having left. She felt that her opinions didn’t count. The message90was, “You don’t know what goes on here. You chose to leave. There’s nothing you cansay”. That was really distressing because her views hadn’t changed from when she had livedin South Africa. So what was different? Why could she say these things when she lived therebut not now that she was a Canadian? It was hard to feel her right to speak beinginvalidated. Quite a few ex-South Africans that Claire has spoken to have had that sameexperience. When they went back they got the feeling, “There’s nothing you can say. Youleft for the good life and here we are. You ran away”.But there were some good things about the visit. It was lovely for Claire to see herbrother and her close personal friends. Claire didn’t feel a sense of estrangement from themat all. It was as if they had never left off. When she had lived in South Africa she and theyhad been similar in their political thinking and it was great to talk to them again and reallyget their viewpoint. The fact that she was still very good friends with some of these peopletold Claire that even though she was very screwed up when she lived in South Africa, shehad an ability to choose friends that fit with her. She continues to write to those friends eventhough some don’t write back. It’s important for her to just keep up the contact.There was one other positive experience from that trip, a visit with Gloria who wasthrilled to see Claire and her family. When it came time to say goodbye Claire gave her abig hug. They were standing outside the house where Gloria worked and a black guy ridingby on a bicycle said, “That’s what I like to see. White people hugging black people”. He hadthis big smile on his face and it was such a neat experience.So parts of the visit were good but when Claire flew back to Vancouver she foundherself thinking, “This is home. Isn’t that great, coming home. This really feels like homeand I’m glad we live here.” Vancouver is a very lovely city, very like Cape Town with itsbeaches and mountains and forests. Physical beauty is very important to Claire and she can91rejoice in the beauty of this city.But it is not just that Vancouver replicates some of the natural beauty of Cape Townthat makes it feel, in many ways, just like home to Claire. Over time, she has also developedan interest in, a feeling for, the place, its people, its political and social issues. She hasexperienced parallels between Canadian and South African culture which have allowed herto relate more to this society.On a visit to Saskatoon she visited the Plains Indian centre where they put on adance. One man who was dancing in costume seemed, to Claire, very like an Africanwitchdoctor. She also went to the Louis Riel memorial park and was deeply moved. Whathad happened to Riel and his followers seemed so similar--so similar and yet not--to how theblacks in South Africa had been seen as primitive, how they had been robbed of theirterritory.Claire has similarly gained an understanding of how the Indians were deprived oftheir rights, of how much they gave up, of how their culture has not been understood. Whenshe first arrived in Canada she didn’t particularly like Indian art because she couldn’t identifywith it. Since then, Claire has really come to love Indian art and to identify with theirculture. In regard to local politics generally, Claire is now quite immersed, very much a partof things, and it feels quite different than when she first arrived, when she couldn’t relateto local issues.In other areas too, the longer Claire spent here the more facets of her life that hadbeen in abeyance started to come to the fore. Writing has re-emerged as a path Claire wantsto pursue. More than anything else, what Claire wants to use her degrees for is to do a lotof writing. But the focus has shifted. She can’t see herself writing stories about South Africaagain. It’s too hard to touch that from here. It feels too distant.92Claire feels that she is not alone in this. There are not too many people who’ve beenable to write about South Africa away from it. Nadine Gordimer, Andre Brink, both had tostay in South Africa to write. But then, in contrast, there’s Doris Lessing who is Claire’sabsolute heroine. Lessing has written a lot about England even though she was born andgrew up in Rhodesia. So it is possible for a writer not to lose her capacity to write even ifshe has moved away from home, although Lessing has such prodigious talents that theywould probably emerge anywhere.The truth is that Claire hasn’t done any creative writing in Canada because she hasn’ttrusted herself to do so. She knows, however, that she can really write well when it comesto social work papers and articles. What her degree has done for her has been to give heran avenue to write and, at some point, that will open the door for her to write creativelyagain.There have also been changes of a more personal nature. Previously, a big part ofClaire’s life had been not really knowing what she wanted. She would take in other people’swishes and not even question them. She suspects that that came not just from her beingfemale but also from being South African because she sees similar behaviour in John too.This lack of assertiveness is also quite British, that attitude of, “Don’t hang your dirtylaundry out in public, don’t let people know what’s going on, present a good face to theworld”. Canadians don’t have that as much, that need to look good in front of others. Itstrikes Claire that here it’s more okay to be direct.When Claire first lived in Vancouver she was unfortunate to encounter thoseparticularly abrasive women in her neighbourhood. Now she doesn’t see most Canadians thatway. However, she does still periodically run across that attitude of, “I’m going to tell youexactly what I think. It’s my right to state what I think”, which is a misunderstanding of93assertiveness. Whenever she encounters this, in her practice or elsewhere, she still considersit as pretty heavy duty but can deal with it much better than she could previously. So partof her self discovery has been to be more clear in herself--about what it is she wants--andto put it out, not to just do things because she thinks other people want her to.But Claire didn’t come to that place without some struggle. It put real stress on hermarriage. In general there was much more growth for her, in coming to Canada, than therewas for John. He went into the business sector and that’s not an area where, traditionally,one looks for personal growth and self-understanding.When Claire went into graduate school it was tremendously threatening to John. Shebegan discovering her rights as a woman and feeling used by her husband. She accessed heranger and John was just blown away by it. Claire had always been a person who wanted totalk things through but would allow John to shut her down because she felt so powerless.Now that’s not true any more. She has claimed her power. She won’t be shut up any more.But even though Claire and John have gone through some really difficult times, Claire thinksthat in the long run he’s pleased that, through her growth, there’s been some movement forhim.In concert with coming into her own as a woman, Claire also began to confront hersense of cultural shame. Of the two primary negative feelings that Claire experienced inrelation to South Africa, shame and guilt, the first has proved more difficult to deal with.To Claire there’s a distinction between shame and guilt. Shame is the sense that, “I am badin some way,” whereas guilt is more that, “I have done some bad thing”. Shame has muchmore to do with who a person is in the core of her being rather than just with what she hasdone.Claire felt guilty about some things that she had done when she was growing up in94South Africa, things that were arrogant and awful; for instance, the way she sometimestreated the servants who worked for her family, expectations she had of them which sheshouldn’t have.What Claire struggled with more was her sense of shame that she was part of thatprivileged group who could behave the way that whites did. But both in South Africa andinitially in Canada, Claire was unconscious of her shame. She didn’t understand that as aresult of it she was negating her cultural heritage, negating her people, negating everything.The social work program helped her to see, and to change, this.One day Claire was sitting in class and a professor was talking about working withclients from other cultures. He was referring in particular to people who’d fled, refugeeswho were struggling with anger, self-dislike and shame, and how important it was that theyown these feelings. Not just for themselves but for their children because, otherwise, theypass on to their kids these feelings of shame which then cuts them off from their culturalheritage. If a person does that, in a sense she’s committing a terrible crime. Hearing theprofessors words, Claire really got it. She felt “My God, I am ashamed. I have beenashamed and I have denied my roots. I haven’t given my kids my heritage”.Claire has picked up this same denial in other South Africans, for example, in thewritings of Laurens van der Post. He really angers her because she can see herself in him,in how he has distanced himself from South Africa. He talks about being born in Africa,about his farm in Africa. He never says South Africa. He never talks about speakingAfrikaans even though he is an Afrikaner. He talks about speaking Dutch.He’s become this guru figure who has romanticized his past, calling it Africa ratherthan South Africa, which is a very different thing. He makes himself out to be thiswonderfully evolved man and he’s not because there is a whole part in him, the shadow, that95he hasn’t dealt with, hasn’t incorporated. And that angers Claire but it’s also her stuff. It’swhat she’s struggled with and what she feels she is emerging from.Claire used to put South Africa and South Africans down in front of her kids whereasJohn didn’t. He communicates a real love of South Africa to them. Claire came home afterthat professor’s lecture and asked her children whether they had picked up the shame fromher. They said “Well, we heard those things you said but didn’t let it affect us”.Since then Claire has been working on coming to terms with her shadow, her culturalshame, to say “I recognize it, I see it, and I acknowledge what I’ve been doing”. Thisprocess has made her a lot freer. It’s been wonderful to begin to feel that she no longer hasto apologize for her society to her kids and to other people, that she can be proud of thecountry she lived in.This fact really came home to Claire when she visited South Africa for a second time,in 1992. It was very different than the trip in 1986 had been. She felt really excited to beback in South Africa, that she could really enjoy her country in a way she never had before.This was because two things had changed: herself and her country.Claire’s eyes had been opened by the professor’s remarks. She recognized that sheneeded to really acknowledge her roots, her South Africanness. She thought, “Boy, it’s true,I’ve denied my roots because I’m ashamed of my country”. So she wanted to go back, enjoyit and take what was good for her from it.In addition, South Africa had also changed. There was a wonderful new inter-racialfreedom there even though, paradoxically, everybody was terrified. The whites all hadelectronic gates and wouldn’t go out after dark and the blacks were suffering terribly. Still,there was a sense of energy and change in the air.Claire also had her daughter with her and wanted her to experience what a wonderful96country it is in many ways. Eve had not lived there other than for the first six weeks of herlife. She had gone with her mother to South Africa in ‘86 and liked it then, but this time shejust adored it.When Claire had lived there her guilt and shame had got in the way of seeing whata staggeringly beautiful country it is. Now, revisiting there she was quite bowled over by thebeauty of the place, especially the Western Cape. Plus there’s something about the peoplethere, that’s very lovely.So Claire could experience her connection to the place and to the people withoutfeeling “I’m guilty, I’m responsible, I’ve run away, I have to do something to compensate”.This time that wasn’t there for her at all. Instead, when Claire thought back to some of herbehaviour towards blacks when she was young she didn’t so much feel guilty any more asshe simply regretted it. She could acknowledge what she had done without feeling guilty, inpart because she had done it unknowingly.The trip also provided Claire with the opportunity to see that she had let go of theguilt towards her parents. Visiting with them she was stunned at how crazy her family oforigin is. She looked at her parents and thought, “My God, I don’t know how I wasn’tschizophrenic”. She realized that there is no way to make a meaningful connection withthem.So when she left to return to Canada it was the first time that she felt no guilt inregard to her parents because she thought, “There’s nothing I could do to connect with themor improve our relationship. There’s nothing I could ever do that would make them happy.Nothing that would be considered good enough”. This trip back was significant in that itsettled things for Claire both in terms of her family and her country. She came back toCanada and thought, “Thank God I am not guilty any more,” and that was wonderful.97Seeing her parents again, re-experiencing their craziness, validated Claire’s initialdecision to leave south Africa. Her parents are just so difficult, so enormously intrusive andcontrolling that in order to find herself she had to get 12,000 miles away from them. Hadshe stayed in South Africa with them, she doesn’t know how she would have found herself.But although self-exile meant liberation from familial intrusion and constraint it alsotruncated the positive familial links that did exist. Claire still loves her dad and is sad thatthe separation means that they haven’t really been able to pursue their relationship. At 81he is slowing down but is still a very interesting man and it would have been nice for Claireto have had some talks with him.Claire feels most keenly her dad’s huge loss, that he has been unable to see beyondher mum’s stuff to what kind of person Claire is. In fact, she and her dad would get on quitewell if it weren’t for her mum. The two of them, her mum and dad, are very enmeshed,hostile enmeshed, and his thinking has been very coloured by hers. Despite this, in this pastyear, he and Claire have managed to connect a little.But while Claire feels sad about the loss of her father she knows that there’s nothingshe can do about it. She can experience the loss rather than feel guilt. She can grieve the lossand honour some of the good things that were, and are, there in the relationship.The other huge loss for Claire has been that of her brother and his family in SouthAfrica. He was the one person in her family with whom she connected while growing up andis still the only one she can connect with now. A person has to connect with family. It’s soimportant for one’s whole psyche. Claire would really like to have more contact with himand his kids whom she also loves. She feels very sad about that.Claire does have some family who live in Canada although this doesn’t fullycompensate for her lost connection to her brother. She has a cousin, whom she really likes,98who lives in Toronto. And John’s brother is here in Vancouver. His daughter and Claire’skids get on very well and that’s made a huge difference to her kids. But Alex and Eve havereally missed not having grand-parents. Their biggest sadness is over John’s mum who theyreally loved and who was just a super “ouma” (grandma). So leaving South Africa involveda choice and either way there would have been a loss. If Claire had stayed in South Africashe would have lost herself, but in moving she has lost family and her kids have lost theirgrandparents.On balance, however, moving to Canada has been good for Claire. When she wentback to South Africa last year and met with some of her friends Claire thought that theywere such wonderful people that it would be lovely to be around them more. But she hasestablished some really close friendships in Canada with people she values enormously andwho she would never have met if she had stayed in South Africa.Claire is also much more willing now to have South Africans come into her life thanpreviously when her attitude was, “No, no, stay away, I don’t want to know you”. But withher diminishing sense of her South Africanness Claire has not gone out of her way topromote such friendships. She can meet with these people and even enjoy them but doesn’tfeel a need to see them ongoingly. When she makes friends now it’s with people who sheenjoys regardless of their cultural background.All in all, Canada has proved to be a source of opportunity for Claire more than aplace of loss. It’s been a place of discovery because of her own self-growth and that’s beenmainly because of the career she chose.Of the experience of reflecting back and talking about all of this Claire feels that ithas been really great because it helps wrap things up for her, puts it in a nutshell. It’s likea ritual which feels really appropriate at this stage of her life where she has moved into a99clearer sense of both her losses and her connection to South Africa.Interpretive comments. Claire’s self-exile story is about shame. Shame threads itsway through her narrative even though for much of the story Claire does not recognise whatshe felt as shame. Shame was Claire’s shadow; it was always present but, initially, hiddenin darkness. It was only when she emerged into the light of self-awareness that Claire couldsee and then embrace her shadow and, thereby, loosen its previously unseen grip on her.The pervasiveness of shame in Claire’s life-story derives from the fact that it is afunction of who she is. Feeling undervalued, rejected, silenced, and disempowered as theyoungest child and only girl in a “crazy” family, Claire was predisposed to the abasementbrought on by association with a culture that she saw as inferior and immoral. Beingashamed and guilty she felt powerless to change things; being powerless she, in turn, feltincreasingly ashamed and guilty.Powerlessness seemed, to Claire, to be a condition of living in South Africa.Powerlessness was created and sustained by state terror and intimidation directed eventowards those, like Claire, who “did nothing”. For those who refused to conform, theirattempts at change were rendered ineffectual, distorted or inverted by a pervasive societalrepression. When Claire tried to “treat Gloria as an equal” she felt that she succeeded onlyin increasing the black woman’s suffering by heightening her awareness of her inferiorstatus. In Claire’s experience, a rotten system infected all who lived within it even, orespecially, those who opposed it.With shame as the root metaphor (Sarbin, 1986) for her life story, it was difficult forClaire to extract elements that were not shameful upon which to base a more positiveidentity. The joyous, the self-sacrificing, the socially conscious, the innocent acts of her life100in South Africa were all tainted by her being white, identified with what, she felt, was adeservedly ashamed people.Where the virus of shame has taken hold simple escape may be insufficient to limit,never mind reverse, its spread. In fact, the very attempt to get away may intensify itsvirulence. By wanting to leave South Africa Claire felt that she demonstrated her “lack ofcourage” thereby exacerbating her feelings of shame. By going she was abandoning peoplelike Gloria, in effect abandoning those principles which insisted that she “stay and fight”.Shame isolates the individual. Although there were other white South Africans whoshared with Claire the conifict between selflessness, the moral injunction to fight injustice,and selfness, a commitment to one’s own needs, Claire’s elitism (perhaps a defensivereaction against shame) caused her to feel that she was alone in her inner turmoil, that noone around her hurt as deeply as she did.Shame thrives in silence. In South Africa Claire felt that she had “no voice”. Her firstfive years in Canada were similarly characterised by voicelessness. In fact, because she“didn’t speak the same language” as others in her adoptive culture Claire’s muteness, herinability or unwillingness to speak for fear of being unheard or misunderstood, wasintensified. Simply going shopping she risked feeling inadequate, while interactions withneighbours proved intimidating, alienating, or invalidating. In her marriage she felt shutdown.In regard to the written word she felt equally voiceless. Although self-exile providedrefuge from the “grip of suppression” that blocked her ability to write in South Africa it alsoremoved her from the source of inspiration. The discouraging remarks of the journalisminstructor reinforced what she had felt in South Africa, both in her family and in society ingeneral, that “nothing she had to say” was of any value. This lack of a voice meant that she101was unable to express (even to herself) her despair, having to rely on someone else, herfather, to recognise and name her depression.In this silence the critical judgements of others seemed especially loud, clear, andpersuasive. Lacking a self-affirming voice Claire was unable to contradict the negativeevaluations of those, such as her friend, to whom all white South Africans were “arrogant”and “loud”, especially since Claire still concurred with these views. Instead she tried todistance herself from the source of the stigma. This is the tactic of the discreditable person(Goffman, 1963) of a van der Post who hides behind a partial truth, transforming himselffrom a South African into an African. Claire’s elitism served similarly to deny her SouthAfrican identity. Self-negation limited her ability to adapt to, and flourish, in an alien,sometimes hostile, environment.To counteract the effects of denial of self both from within and from without Clairehad to begin to articulate her self anew. Like Lessing she needed to discover her own“prodigious talent” and learn to speak her self in the language of both her old and newculture without denying either. This Claire began to do when she attended university andcame into contact with people with whom she could “resonate”. Having her words, and herself, heard and reflected back to her facilitated Claire’s self-expression, both oral andwritten.But while Claire began to establish a sense of self in a new culture she had not yetescaped the lingering shadow of the old. Away from her supportive community and back inSouth Africa on her first visit since leaving there Claire again felt shamed by, and ashamedfor, her homeland and, by extension, herself. The petty officials at the airport caused her tofeel embarrassed. In response to the resentment and disapprobation of family andacquaintances she felt a defensiveness arising out of guilt and shame. She again felt silenced,102her opinions even less legitimate than before because now she was a “Canadian”, someonewho had “run away”.But the visit also provided Claire with the opportunity for self-validation. Observingthe quiescent behaviour of South African women she became more aware of how far she hadcome. People who were like-minded, her “real friends”, not only affirmed the choice she hadmade to leave but, through their ongoing friendship, demonstrated to her that “even thoughshe was screwed up” when she lived in South Africa she was able to make some goodchoices for herself.Most significantly, on this visit Claire experienced a moment of reconciliation andresolution, a transformative event that acted as an antidote to the shame and guilt she hadcarried as a white South African. At the end of her visit with Gloria she embraced, and wasembraced by, someone she felt she had hurt and abandoned. Gloria’s hug represented asymbolic act of inclusion, of acceptance, of forgiveness. It was also an act of self-affirmationby Claire.When Claire hugged Gloria she did so publicly in contravention of social proscriptionand against her own earlier fear and powerlessness. Moreover, she was witnessedapprovingly in this act by a black everyman, a “guy on a bicycle” who, in effect, grantedabsolution to Claire on behalf of all “non-white” South Africans.But South Africa was no longer home. Canada, being the place where Claire hadbegun to find herself had become home. Here the women’s community had validated Claire’sworth as a person and taught her the value of assertiveness. Here, although she could notdirectly confront patriarchal South Africa, she learnt to speak her mind to her husband whowas a product of that culture.Feeling more secure, more at home, in Canada Claire could start to resuscitate and103incorporate previously denied elements of her past into her new life. She observed parallels(both positive and negative) between South Africa and Canada that allowed her to bridge thegap between the two. The beauty of Vancouver seemed to equal, even to replicate, that ofCape Town. She saw that Canada had (mis)treated its Native and Meti people in a mannerakin to South Africa’s (mis)treatment of the blacks.This latter similarity lessened the legitimacy of Canadian judgements of SouthAfricans and diminished the shame Claire felt at belonging to a pariah community. At thesame time it rendered Canadian culture more familiar and, hence, easier to relate to. Theselikenesses and Claire’s increasing sense of empowerment prompted her to become moreinvolved politically. With the benefit of distance (temporal and geographical) some aspectsof South African culture even began to compare favourably with their Canadian equivalents,politicians being just one example.The most profound change occurred when Claire engaged with her shadow. Thewords of the professor about cultural shame threw light on Claire’s situation revealing thestark outlines of her shadow. In an epiphanic moment (“I really got it”) Claire was awakenedto her denial and its effects on herself (as well as its potential effects on her children).Like Peter Pan, Claire had been separated from her shadow. To recover it she hadto return to the place where it was lost. This she did on her second visit to South Africa, avery different experience than the first. Having understood and acknowledged her shame shewas no longer subsumed by it. She could see past the tragedy of South Africa to its beautyand ebullience, and she could share in these with her daughter.Claire’s ability to feel some joy and even a tentative pride in her South Africannesswas made easier by the fact that the country itself, in particular the white community, hadalso begun to acknowledge its shadow. By attempting socio-political change South Africa104gave Claire less to feel ashamed of, less reason for her to disown it. Despite the evident fearof the whites and the continued suffering of the blacks there was an energy, a sense ofchange in the air that predominated over the fear and suffering.Claire’s guilt had also diminished, having been transmuted into regret. Rather thanfeeling responsible for, and wanting to change what could no longer be altered--her earlyunwitting mistreatment of blacks--she could acknowledge her culpability, regret her actions,without blaming herself. Similarly, in regard to her parents, guilt was re-experienced as loss.It is this loss--of family--that Claire still feels is irrecoverable.The latter half of Claire’s self-exile narrative is filled with a sense of hope andpersonal growth. As she herself pointed out, self-exile has been positive for her. Butdislocation, almost inevitably entails loss. The seemingly irreversible loss of family, forherself and for her children, has been the price paid by Claire for ridding herself of shameand of finding her self.Jane’s StoryBorn in South Africa in 1940, Jane N. has been in Canada since 1974. She came toVancouver after leaving the country of her birth and spending six years in exile in England.Currently Jane attends university where she is taking a degree in counselling. She also workspart time as a school teacher.Although, by the time she went into exile from South Africa, Jane had undergonesome traumatic experiences her early years were, in many ways, quite typical for a whiteSouth African. Jane grew up in a family that was liberal but not politically active. Afterfinishing high school, she went to art school where she met some people who were105politically involved. One guy, Gerry, whom she later married was from a very politicalfamily and through him Jane became more politically active.After two years at art school Jane left and, with Gerry, went to London, not with theidea of leaving permanently but to carry on with her art studies there. That didn’t work out.Her marriage broke up and she came back to South Africa and tried to get back into artschool. In the interim, however, the school had been taken over by the state which hadinstituted a committee run by the police to screen staff and students and Jane wasn’t allowedback in. Her parents also weren’t prepared to support her in going back to university to dofine arts there. She felt totally frustrated. There seemed nothing left for her to do exceptbecome even more political.Aside from feeling thwarted in her studies there were other reasons for Jane’sincreasing political involvement. While growing up, Jane hadn’t got on well with her motherwho, she felt, didn’t like her. She did get along better with her father but for the first twelveyears of Jane’s life, he was an alcoholic. She liked her younger brother but he was verydifferent to her. He was reliable and sensible and would never get involved politically. Incontrast, Jane was very political, and in politics, specifically the Communist Party (CP) shefound a family.But while alienation from family played its part in pushing Jane towards politics therewere also sound moral reasons as well as social pressures to become an activist. In fact, itwas hard not to be political in South Africa and membership in the CP was particularlyattractive. Amongst the youth who were political, to be invited to be a member of the CPwas the highest honour. In those days everyone wanted to belong but you couldn’t get in.Having found, in a political cause, a rootedness and direction she had lacked, therewas little to prevent Jane from completely giving herself over to that cause. Her whole106identity came to be associated with being political. Being a South African meant beingpolitical and Jane’s identity became totally, completely bound up with that. But if politicalactivism provided emotional and psychological refuge it also carried its dangers.In 1964, in the wake of Sharpevile (a massacre of black protesters by South Africanpolice), Jane was arrested. It was a very bad time. There were countrywide arrests,thousands of people were thrown in jail. Jane and her compatriots were held in isolation.Although imprisonment might have been an expected outcome of her politicalactivities it was, nevertheless, traumatic. The scariest part was being interrogated. Eventhough Jane says that she wasn’t really tortured she was made to stand for eight hours whileher interrogators kept up a barrage of questions. They then brought out an electric shocksuitcase with which they must have wanted to scare Jane, but she was so naive she didn’teven know what it was. When she got back to her cell, however, she realised what it wasand then she did get scared. The worst moment for Jane came when she was kept overnightin an isolation cell for blacks. It was July and cold and there was only paper on thewindows, the toilet was plugged up and the only blanket she had was stiff with blood, urine,and vomit.Having initially been arrested under “emergency” legislation that allowed for up to90 days imprisonment without trial, Jane and the others were finally brought before the courtfollowing a 30-day hunger strike by two of the prisoners. Jane was charged and found guiltyon three counts--belonging to the Communist Party, furthering the aims of communism, andfurthering the aims of a banned organisation--and given a total of three years imprisonment.Imprisonment was a very painful experience. Jane and the other convicted womenwere sent to a maximum security jail in Barberton where they were locked into a small celland treated badly. The wardresses tried to break the prisoners by creating a very107unpredictable environment. They would unexpectedly change the schedule, give surprisesearches, or tell Jane and the others that they could have certain things and then not allowthem to. Sometimes the wardresses would be nice and then, just when the women werefeeling comfortable, be horrible.The dynamics amongst the prisoners were bad too. Although these women had allknown each other before prison they didn’t have to live together. Perhaps being together for24 hours a day in the same cell was what made them take it out on each other. But it wasalso more than that.There was the question of trust. It was so threatening to the group that somebodymight try to curry favour with the authorities or sell out. The women had to make rulesabout how they talked to the guards and whether they would allow themselves to be takenout to speak to a senior officer in the prison system. It got so that people were watchingevery tiny little interaction with the wardresses to see if anyone was getting too friendly.At one point the authorities tried to manipulate the situation to their advantage byoffering to release Jane. Because she was the youngest this would have given them somegood publicity. Jane was tempted but she couldn ‘t accept. Just going through the process,though, caused a lot of problems for her.Although it was good to get out of prison, in some ways it made things worse.Immediately upon release Jane was a banned person, subject to 24-hour a day house arrest.Under banning orders she was cut off from all political activity prevented from seeing orcommunicating, even by telephone, with any other banned person. She couldn’t go into alibrary, a trade union office, or any public building including schools. Nor could she attendany gatherings which, under South African law, meant not being able to be in the companyof more than two other people at the same time. She was allowed no visitors.108The only way in which Jane could change her situation was to get her house arrestreduced, from 24 to 12 hours, by getting a job. So she worked for her father but still hadto report to the police every day. She also still had to live with her family. Her grandmother,who was 96 years old, was living with them and was such a terrible woman. Jane wouldclose her door and her grandmother would hammer on it to get in. It was unbearable.Jane felt that she had to leave, that there was nothing else for her to do. Lookingback, Jane now feels that if she had had a life other than politics she might have stayed. Noteverybody who was under house arrest left. But Jane had only been political and could nolonger be active because she was being watched, day and night, by the police. She was undera five-year ban and house arrest and once that expired the government would likely haveautomatically extended it for another five years. So, in 1968, she applied for an exit permitand was really lucky to get permission to leave because after that people like her were nolonger given such permits.Although Jane felt she had no choice but to go she felt conflicted. Despite the factthat lots of people left there was a judgement attached to running away. Even though manyof those people still worked in politics, there being a whole government in exile, those whostayed in South Africa (not the leaders but the revolutionary youth with whom Janeassociated) always judged those who left as running away from the problem. They werealways resentful. Jane knew she was doing something that wasn’t right and so she judgedherself as well.Guilt about leaving and the pain of separation was, however, ameliorated by the factwhile Jane was physically leaving the country, South Africa continued to be very much apart of her life. In London, there was a big South African political community in which Janebecame completely immersed. She worked for the African National Congress (ANC) which109had close ties with the CP and felt totally part of this family.After she arrived in England the ANC sent her to a sanatorium in the Soviet Unionto recover from her time in jail. It was like a big reward. Jane was made to feel so takencare of that she didn’t miss South Africa at all. Similarly in England. She was in London butwas living South Africa. She worked for the ANC where her job was to do a news reviewfor the leadership. She would read every single South African newspaper looking for tinynews items, a little strike here and a strike there, and put it all together. She loved that job.Working in the ANC office was very social. All these great minds would congregate there.One moment Jane would be typing a letter, the next she’d be witnessing a big political debatebetween Joe Slovo and “Doc” Dadoo. It was incredible.In London Jane really felt part of a community. People looked after each other. If aperson had a problem there were lots of places she could go to. You could just drop intoanybody’s house at any time and get food. Working around Tottenham Court Road, GoodgeStreet and Soho, was great.But being in exile in England was not all wonderful. In remembering the good partsJane recognises that it is easy to forget the bad, to separate her political working life, whichwas exciting and full, from her personal life which was almost nonexistent. She was quitedepressed. First of all, it took a couple of years to recover from coming out of jail and shewas in a big city that she didn’t know. Everybody talked about how it took three years toget used to London.When she first arrived in London, before she was working for the ANC, Jane got sodepressed she even went through the motions of committing suicide. She drank some wineand took some tranquilizers but quickly vomited them up. She wasn’t really serious--it wasjust a gesture--but she was depressed.110Jane had no life outside of politics. She and her fellow political activists were calledfull-time revolutionaries. They got paid according to how much they needed to live. Jane got17 pounds of which eight went on rent. That left her no money for cigarettes and she hadto go to the party leadership to ask for more. Jane also spent a lot of time in pubs althoughshe didn’t necessarily drink that much. A couple of relationships that Jane had didn’t workout well.Nobody’s life felt stable. They all shared a belief system that guided their lives thatif you were young and unmarried you would just have to accept never being married. Youjust couldn’t start a family and have kids in that kind of unstable situation. One of theconditions of belonging to the ANC was that if you were recalled to South Africa or sentanywhere in the world, Moscow or Tanzania or Algeria, you’d have to go. Even husbandsand wives wouldn’t necessarily be sent to the same office to work. People couldn’t count oneven being with their kids. That was a reality.Jane remembers only one person who had the guts to say that he wouldn’t go backto South Africa. He said that he wouldn’t be a member of the ANC because he couldn’t goback. Jane really admired him for that, because everybody else said they would go but knewthey would never have to. They would talk about what great revolutionaries they were andthat they would return if asked to, but deep down they would know that the chances of beingcalled back were very slim.So everybody just lived from day to day. It was a conscious thing. In some ways thisfitted with Jane’s pathology. She felt free, but it was also horrible and very confusing. Shewas floating, totally rootless. The only thing for Jane to hang onto was her clear politicalideals. Those values were so strong that they were the only stable thing.But those values were also like a creed. In fact politics started seeming like a strait111jacket, terribly limiting because it took Jane’s whole life. Jane had this growing feeling thatshe wasn’t doing anything for herself. This feeling was particularly acute when she cameback to England from the Soviet Union where she had been sent, for a second time, to attendthe CP school. Following her return to England, after a year and a half in the USSR, Jane’sjob changed. She no longer worked in the office. Instead, she was working at home, readingthe newspapers, totally alone all day. She knew that her work was meaningful but she didn’thave contact with people and so felt increasingly isolated.Jane also had a feeling of not being valued, not being satisfied. In large part this wasbecause of how the ANC and CP viewed and treated women but also because Jane’s ownthinking at the time, how she thought about women and their role, coincided with themovement’s view. She felt very conflicted about it. Intellectually she might functionsomewhat independently but this wasn’t really the accepted way to be. There were womenwho were real feminists and who behaved independently but they did it outside of theorganisation.Increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations and sense of personal invalidation thataccompanied her life in politics Jane began a gradual process of becoming somewhatalienated from the ANC and later the party itself. But because her entire identity was boundup with her political cause, because the CP was her “family”, this process, of which she waslargely unconscious, was very difficult and accompanied by a lot of guilt. She wouldn’thave had the strength or the will or have had strong enough alternative values to havejustified her leaving at that point. Jane had also just received extensive training in skills thatthe party needed and she knew that she was making a difference, a real contribution to thestruggle. Were she to leave she would have felt like, and been seen as, a traitor.During her second stint in the Soviet Union Jane had met Michael, a Canadian112attending the CP school there who had subsequently returned to Canada. The two of themhad talked about living together, but since Michael didn’t want to live in England that wouldhave meant that Jane would have to leave London and the movement there. Leaving to getmarried was okay for a woman. A man wouldn’t have been able to do that. In fact, it wasreally the only acceptable excuse for Jane to leave, because women followed men. And bymarrying somebody like Michael, who was very political, she would maintain a degree of“respectability” in the eyes of the movement.There was one guy, though, and only one, who said to her, “You can’t find happinessliving somebody else’s life, following somebody else,” and he was right. Nonetheless, in1974, five years after first meeting Michael, Jane left London and came to Vancouver.Immediately upon arrival, she absolutely hated it. Jane thought that Michael wouldhave rented an apartment for them, but he hadn’t. He had a son from a previous marriagewho had been looked after by Michael’s parents. They were determined not to take care ofthis kid any more and moved out leaving Jane, Michael, and his child in their house.Jane was absolutely furious. At that point she was only here as a visitor and hadn’teven decided whether she wanted to stay. Suddenly she was lumbered with this situationlooking after a kid who wasn’t hers, but who had been told to call her “Mummy”.The situation was indescribable. Michael went to work, the kid went to school, Janewas stuck in the house, alone. For hours at a time she’d look out of the window and not aperson would walk by. She hated the quietness. Joh’burg was vibrant, London had seemedlike the centre of the of the world, Moscow was this big beautiful city. Suddenly she wasstuck in Dunbar. Jane thought she had come to the ends of the earth.Everything around her seemed totally, disgustingly green. South Africa was brownand London was grey. Vancouver was so overwhelmingly green it made her want to vomit.113Jane was totally miserable. She thought she was going to die. Her situation, redolent of whenshe had felt captive in her parents’ home during her house arrest, felt unbearable.Perhaps worst of all, her marriage to Michael was really terrible. He was veryviolent. Jane had known in England that he was violent but she thought it was because hecouldn’t adjust to living in that country. She was very unsophisticated in those days or maybeshe was just psychologically hooked into that kind of relationship. Were she in the samesituation now she would know that he wouldn’t change.But, at the time, Michael had represented an escape. Jane was aware of that and soshe felt very guilty about leaving London. The guilt stayed with her all the time. In fact, shestill feels guilty. If she hadn’t stayed with him there would have been no reason not to goback.But things were so bad that Jane didn’t think she would stay. In fact, in her mindthere was not one doubt that she was going to leave Vancouver, go back to London. She wasdrawn to going back. She had led this glamorous life, had a wonderful job, had flown allover the place. But it’s easy for people to say that they’re going to go back. It salves theirconscience even if, like Jane, they never do go back.After the initial shock of feeling trapped in Dunbar, things did get a little better. Janegot Michael to move out of his parents’ house and into an apartment on the East Side. Thenthey got married, moved into a house and had a daughter, Cindy. But Michael becameincreasingly violent, and when her daughter was about two and a half years old, Jane lefthim.Having a child made Jane feel really safe from the pull to return to London. She nolonger needed Michael, because she could now say, “I can’t leave because of my daughter”.When she left Michael an amazing thing happened; she started liking it in Vancouver.114Suddenly she started seeing some possibilities and began to do things that she would neverhave been able to do in London or South Africa, especially with a child.Jane started studying. She had studied a bit in jail and had some credits towards adegree. First she went to Langara and did a year there, then to Simon Fraser University(SFU) where she got a grant and scholarships and took a teaching degree. She also beganto become aware of feminist issues which she definitely wouldn’t have in Johannesburg oreven in London. She really started changing.But if things were changing in Jane’s personal life, politically the shifts were moretentative, more cautious. When she first came to Vancouver Jane stayed involved with theCP. Once again the party was her home and Jane just slotted right in. It was the only waythat she knew how to be and it was the only thing that give her respectability, both in herown eyes and in eyes of South Africans because she was still only functioning as a SouthAfrican. The only way to be acceptable to all her South African friends and comrades wasto join the local party because then they couldn’t say that she had left the movement.Unfortunately, the party in Vancouver, unlike the South African party was dead. Itwas so unbelievably boring that Jane only attended meetings in order to maintain her“respectability” but she never mixed with the others socially. Occasionally, she would go toa big function, a dance or a banquet, but they were not meaningful. She mixed just enoughto feel part of a community but had no personal friends in the movement.Together with some other South Africans Jane formed an organisation that workedon South African issues. She also joined the local branch of the ANC. Gradually over theyears she came to hate both groups. Everything that she had disliked about the ANC inLondon, the sexism and the power struggles, seemed intensified here in Vancouver.But Jane was so psychologically enmeshed with her political “family”115that she felt vulnerable to attack should she try to leave. Michael’s father was on the CentralCommittee of the CP and even if, in reality, he wasn’t that powerful, in Jane’s mind he was.If she offended the party leadership her name could be blackened and she would be out ofthe community. As a bad girl who didn’t toe the correct party line she would beexcommunicated, not just from the party in Vancouver, but everywhere in the world. Andthe party was the only place that she had known as a home.Despite her fears Jane slowly extricated herself from the CP. She also left the localANC group, although she still considers herself a member. The process, however, was slow,painful, and filled with ambivalence. Withdrawing from the party meant that Jane felt evenmore isolated even though, during this time, she was attending university as well as teaching.Jane was separating out from the CP but hadn’t yet created a new community forherself. She remained tenuously linked to the party, attending meetings less and lessfrequently. But then, just as she was on the point of puffing out completely, things startedto get really interesting. People started to discuss serious changes within the CP, thepossibility of making it a different kind of organization, re-examining Marxism, seeing whatwas wrong and maybe even giving up the name Communist because they didn’t want to beassociated with things that had been done in the name of communism.So the party became vital and alive and Jane started going to meetings out of choicebecause, for the first time, she could see something meaningful being attempted. Peopleseemed to want to make a real difference and not just go on in the old way, simply acceptingthings. Jane thought that there might be a real place for her.But even those who wanted to make changes were still pretty much trained to thinkalong traditional lines, except for a couple of people who didn’t function in that automatic116way. A big battle started taking place in the party because they were dealing with issues thatwere real. But this, too, developed into a power struggle and Jane was already sick of thataspect of politics.In the end, it was not just that Jane had begun to hate politics, the sexism and thepower games, that caused her to leave politics. In many ways she felt that she had no choicebut to get out. Her whole being just went on strike. She could no longer function, justcouldn’t do anything political.After having felt, throughout her political life, that if she didn’t read a newspaper shedidn’t exist, she could no longer read a newspaper. She kept on ordering, and then havingto cancel the papers because they would just pile up, unread. When she met people shewould often feel embarrassed because she didn’t now what the hell was going on in theworld. Even so, she could no longer bring herself to think or act politically. This is still sofor Jane.But leaving politics was difficult for Jane, so she did so cautiously, in lots of littlesteps. Before each step she would build up other resources in her life. Partially, that involvedcreating a new community. Having spent her adult life in a closed, self-sufficient communityJane found it really hard to make friends here in Canada.Jane still had this attitude that she didn’t like this place and these people. She alwaystalked about “this place” and “these people” as if she wasn’t one of them. One of the thingsshe didn’t like was that people seemed so low key, not responsive. Nobody ever got excitedabout anything. Life in South Africa and amongst the exile community in London was veryintense. In Canada everything was so laid back.Being so impassioned meant that Jane was always getting into trouble. At SFU shewould get sucked into discussions and get very emotional and excited and realize that she had117offended half the people in the room. Frequently after a class break people wouldn’t sit withher because they thought she hated them simply because she had argued with them aboutsomething that they had said in class.It was really hard for Jane to change her behaviour. For so long she had been withpeople who argued so much. South Africans wouldn’t get offended. They were impassionedand would scream at each other, argue back and say “You’re full of shit,” but they’d stillbe friends. But she couldn’t do that with Canadians. She had to be polite and careful andpick her words. She had to always tone down whatever she said ten or twenty times and thenit might be acceptable. She couldn’t just let an emotion come out and use whatever wordscame to mind.Jane felt that she did not know how to make friends with Canadians. For some timethe only Canadian she felt close to was her boyfriend. Other than him she didn’t really haveany close friends, only acquaintances. Both in London and in Vancouver she had SouthAfrican friends. She has always felt more comfortable with South Africans. Even now if shemeets a South African, even one she has never met before, somehow they speak the samelanguage and there’s a connection.With South Africans Jane has always felt that she could relax, that it is less effort,that she could be more herself. She finds that strange because she never really had a self,never was anybody as a South African. When she’s with South Africans Jane doesn’t feelthat she’s being judged as she does when she’s amongst Canadians.Unlike some other expatriate South Africans Jane’s sense of being judged doesn’tcome from her being ashamed about being a white South African. Jane has never felt thatshame because she really committed her life to the struggle and didn’t protect herself as awhite. Maybe it was easier to leave South Africa as a white and be safe, but lots of blacks118did it too. And she didn’t live a life that was any different from blacks in exile. She reallypaid her dues. The struggle was the main part of her life.Still, Jane has always felt isolated and wonders if, in some ways, it’s because she’sSouth African. She now has some good friends but they’re all pretty new and she’s reallyhad to work hard at it. It’s not the same as in South Africa where she seemed to makefriends without realizing it, without consciously developing a relationship.The friends that Jane has made in Canada she’s made consciously. It’s been adeliberate process and she can’t take them for granted the way she takes South Africanfriends for granted. Even though she would not have seen some of these people in 20 yearsshe could go to South Africa, phone them up and say, “I need to come and stay with you,”and they would say, “Airight, sure, come over”. She wouldn’t even give it a second thought.She couldn’t do that in Vancouver without a feeling of imposing.The one time Jane did start to make friends amongst Canadians was with other CPmembers, at the point where the party was breaking up. She felt that there were a couple ofpeople there that she would like to know. But even though there is still a tentative connectionwith some of those people, things didn’t really work out. The party eventually split. Noorganization took its place, people became scattered. Jane’s chances of meeting these peopleagain are slim because they would be involved in areas in which she is no longer active. Shewasn’t together with them long enough to really establish a close personal relationship andso lost them.It was only when she entered therapy that Jane started making lasting friends,building a community and making other significant changes in her life, although therapyalone hasn’t been responsible for all the positive gains she has made. For instance, to havegone to university and become a school teacher were huge achievements for her.119The most significant change for Jane, however, came about mostly as the result ofchance. Jane’s daughter had a boyfriend, Rob, who was Cree. He had been adopted into amiddle-class family, so-called sophisticated and successful but, in a way, quite racist. Rob’slife had been really terrible. He went through a particularly bad time during which he madea number of suicide attempts. Through this period Jane helped and supported him.Rob’s suicidal behaviour involved alcohol and possible cocaine addiction. Becauseher father had been an alcoholic this brought back a lot of memories for Jane, not visualmemories but memories of feelings. It was really traumatic for her to work through Rob’ssuicide attempts. Finally, in May 1993, Rob died in a fire in his house which may or maynot have been accidental. It was a very bad time for Jane. She had never experiencedanything like it before, even when her father died.The really strange thing was that through the experience of Rob’s death Jane felt, forthe first time, a connection to Canada. Prior to that time she had never, ever thought ofherself as being Canadian and, in fact, is still not sure that she does. Following Rob’s death,however, Jane began to feel more connected to this place. It was almost as if he gave herhis Canadianness, as if she became Canadian because he was Canadian and he was like herson.What Rob gave Jane was a connection to the people here, to their suffering. Thewhole situation with Native people in North America seems, to her, actually no differentfrom that of blacks in South Africa. Jane feels she has a real connection that is meaningfuleven though very painful. She feels that there’s a purpose for her here which is somethingthat she didn’t have before.At the same time, Jane’s experience with Rob again highlighted for her some of thenegative aspects of Canadian culture when compared to that of South Africa. The only120people who looked after Rob were Jane, his girlfriend’s mother and his coach’s wife (Robwas an accomplished athlete.) His family didn’t seem bothered, the therapist he was seeingrefused to respond to his suicide attempts because he said he was being manipulated. Thehospital released him. Nobody took him seriously.When Jane discussed Rob’s situation with others from the counselling departmentwhere she was a student the advice she got was, “Don’t get sucked into this, because you’remaking it difficult for your daughter”. Everybody was saying, “Stay away,” whichundermined her because that wasn’t her take on things. In the end she didn’t stay away, butshe was torn and so didn’t put as much energy in as she now thinks she should have.In South Africa people would have taken care of Rob, they wouldn’t have sent himhome from the hospital to go alone to his apartment after drinking a bottle of lighter fluidand spray paint. That would definitely never have happened within the movement in SouthAfrica. He would have gone to somebody’s home, he would have been put into bed, hewould have been looked after. Nobody would have made any judgements about it. He wouldsimply have been treated like somebody sick and would have been taken care of. Here theculture is that everybody’s responsible for themselves. You can help a bit but don’t getsucked in.For all its painfulness, though, her experience with Rob made Canada a real placefor Jane. Before these events Canada felt temporary, as if she was just squatting here. Itwould now be hard for her to say that she could leave this country, hard for her to saywhether she would like to live in Canada or South Africa.This is a significant change because, previously, Jane had decided that as soon as shehad finished her master’s degree she would go back to South Africa to work there. Thisdecision was strengthened when, in 1989, she and her daughter visited South Africa. The121government had unbanned all the political organizations and it was legal for Jane to enter thecountry again. It was the first time in 22 years that she had been back.It was an incredible experience. What was especially amazing was meeting all thepeople with whom she had been in jail and hadn’t seen or even written to. It was as if shehad seen them just yesterday, the connection was so immediate and so close. And eventhough Johannesburg had totally changed the atmosphere was so familiar. It was so exciting,such fun.There was such a good atmosphere there that Jane didn’t want to leave. She knewwith complete certainty then that she was going to go back to South Africa. She saw a placefor sale and thought, “I just want to stay here”. Even talking about it now Jane still reallywants to be there. But she finds the persistence of such longings strange because she has nowlived in Canada almost as long as she lived in South Africa and she questions why she stillhas the intensity about South Africa, what’s the difference between South Africa andCanada?Part of the answer Jane thinks, lies in the importance of her time at art school. Thosetwo years, despite her being very mixed up, emotional, and confused, were really the onlytime that she felt that she was doing something totally, personally for herself. ConsequentlySouth Africa, especially Jo’burg has a big connection for her, representing a time and placein which she doing something that she wanted to do.In fact when Jane visited South Africa she wanted to go back to art school. There wasthis sense of wanting to take up something that hadn’t been finished when she had livedthere. Unfortunately Jane couldn’t have managed it on her own and so put it out as apossibility to her mother to see if she would help out. But as with the previous time, hermother didn’t seem to want to facilitate her studying.122Regardless, Jane still felt an incredible pull to be back there. The difference betweenthis time and when she had lived there before was that Jane felt that she could function andbe useful in South Africa without having to be political in the way that she had been. Theneeds in that country are so great and so varied that she could go back and never haveanything to do with the ANC or politics and there would still be so many things that shecould do that would be valuable and important.And yet, were she to go back, she would not cut herself off from the politicalcommunity completely because she still supports what they do. But she wouldn’t want to bepart of that dirty game. She realizes that somebody’s got to do it but it’s not going to be her.There are now so many other possibilities for helping whereas, before, there weren’t. Onesimply had to be political. Unfortunately since Jane visited South Africa things there havechanged for the worse. Although politically there has been some progress, the level ofviolence has intensified. Jane would now be scared to go back.In addition, Jane is not sure that she could leave her daughter behind and Cindydefinitely does not want to move to South Africa. At one point Jane thed to get her daughterto come with her. Cindy was tempted because, in those days, she was swimmingcompetitively and Jane said to her, “If you went to South Africa and swam there you couldgo to the Olympic Games because the times are so slow you would make it on to the team”.Cindy thought about this and said “Okay, let’s go”. She was prepared to go and even do herlast year of high school there, but when she started thinking of the violence there and thatshe would have to learn Afrikaans she decided that she would never go. For Jane to havegone on her own would have been to sever herself, yet again, from family.So while it might be easy for Jane to say the words “I’m going to go back,” toactually leave Vancouver would be hard. In any case Jane has started to appreciate the123energy that’s here, in Canada, too. It’s different than in South Africa. It has a spiritualquality, which is non-existent in South Africa. It seems to her that among the blacks in SouthAfrica the spirituality has been lost whereas, here, amongst the First Nations people, ithasn’t.For Jane this sense of spirituality comes not only from the Native community but alsofrom the women’s community of which she is a part. It’s not a formal spiritual practice but,in the women’s group to which Jane belongs, there’s a sense of ritual that is spiritual whilealso connected to real life. In addition, evidence of spirituality is all around her in theculture. She just has to turn on the television and there it is. That’s not the case in SouthAfrica. There, it seems, everything has been put into the political struggle. Jane doesn’tknow if she could go back to South Africa and be without that spiritual component. Theperfect solution would be to alternate living in Vancouver and South Africa for six monthsof each year, just keep moving back and forth.But Jane knows of some people, who are very political, who have gone back to SouthAfrica and have found the adjustment difficult. One couple she corresponds with are verydepressed, they’re missing London. Another friend, with whom she was in jail, also wentback and is miserable, missing London.Jane is, therefore, aware that returning might not be all that she would want it to be.In fact, the time she visited South Africa there were a number of things which she couldn’tstand about the place. For example, the way people just shouted at each other on the road.They were so rude and crude and Jane realized, “God, Canadians are so civilised comparedto these people”. South Africans were so aggressive, especially when driving. Jane drove acouple of times but it was too scary.The sexism also really got to her. For example, one day her brother came home from124work and insisted that his wife get him a drink. Jane doesn’t know anybody here in Canadawho orders his wife around in that way, even people who are quite reactionary. And herfamily, by South African standards, is very progressive.So now Jane is not sure that she would go back even though a big part of her clearlystill wants to. If she were to die tomorrow, or in a week’s time she definitely would go. Shewould spend her last days there. She would want to be in that light, in that physical placewith all that energy and music. Even though, in many ways, it’s so terrible there, SouthAfrica is very upbeat. In a way Jane’s situation is tragic, especially because half her life ishere with her daughter. Whatever Jane chooses to do is a big loss.Interpretive comments. Jane’s story is, in many ways, an archetypal tale of exile,of displacement and banishment, sometimes externally imposed, sometimes self-inflicted, attimes both. It is about self and belonging, specifically the search for a sense of self thatbelongs and a belonging that allows for a “real” sense of self. The event around which thisnarrative pivots, Jane’s actual exile from South Africa is, to some extent, only the mostvisible exile in a life-story filled with metaphoric and literal exiles.From the beginning Jane lacked both a sense of self and a sense of belonging. Shedid not know who she was and she felt alienated from her family. In part she lacked anidentity because she did not know where she belonged. She began, therefore, in a state ofsymbolic exile.The displacement motif emerges repeatedly throughout the narrative. Jane felt thatshe did not belong at home. She left art school and South Africa. She was prevented fromreturning to art school. She was imprisoned in jail and then at home, cut off from hercommunity. She fled to England and subsequently to Canada. She left her marriage. She125eventually left the political movement that for years was more family than her family-of-origin had ever been.Each of these “steps”, however, represented not only an exile, a movement awayfrom something but also a progress, however faltering, towards something. Jane’s narrativemoves from fragmentation towards integration, progressing, through successive alternationsbetween self-abnegating dependence and isolated independence, towards a more integrated,albeit incomplete, inter-dependence, a more autonomous but connected sense of self. Thisstruggle to find “home” lends to Jane’s narrative an Odyssean quality full of false starts,blind turns, dangers encountered, and obstacles overcome.The greatest test for Jane, and the paradigm for her tale of exile, involved herattempts to separate herself from her chosen family, the Communist Party. In fact, the storyof Jane’s self-exile is as much, if not more, about her withdrawing from the constrainingsecurity of political involvement as about her leaving South Africa. Her leave-taking fromSouth Africa could, after all, be considered more an exile than a self-exile, more forced uponher than self chosen even though, nominally, the decision to leave was hers.England, physically a place of exile felt, in many ways, to be a place of homecomingas Jane returned to the fold of her political community after the internal exile ofimprisonment and house arrest in South Africa. In England she “lived South Africa”. Inleaving the political movement and coming to Canada, Jane exiled herself from her adoptivefamily and severed the thread that had kept her connected to South Africa.The extent to which Jane was enmeshed with her political “family” and, consequently,the difficulty she had in leaving it, is apparent in the Faustian arrangement she entered intoby joining the CP whereby, in exchange for the promise of community, identity, andmeaning offered by the party Jane forfeited future claims to her self. Once she joined up her126time, her energy, her beliefs, her very self, belonged to the cause. Since, at the time shejoined the movement, Jane did not feel that she had a self she, no doubt, saw or at leastintuitively felt the gain to be all hers.In joining the CP Jane was, of course, not driven by Faust-like pride and ambitionbut rather by an existential, albeit unconscious, longing borne of an alienation from familyand society as well as genuine social and ethical motives. And the CP, unlikeMephistopheles, had some good intentions and beneficial effects, both politically, for SouthAfrica, and personally, for Jane, as evidenced later by her persistent nostalgia for thecommunality and genuine caring she experienced in the movement. But as a foot soldierenlisted in a greater cause there was a personal cost for Jane, the subsuming of a self to thedemands of ideological conformity.Jane’s account of her joining the CP corresponds to Malan’s (1990) disparaging viewof white South African activists as engaging in politics as a cover for their personalproblems. But one need not share Malan’s cynicism or Jane’s characterising of her personalissues as pathology to recognise the potential significance of personal factors in the decision(or non-decision) to become politically active.The almost accidental manner in which Jane felt she entered into politics reflects themix of circumstance and choice with which life altering experiences sometimes seem tooccur. Emphasis on circumstance may, however, belie the powerful forces, both personaland social, which underlie what may appear to be accidental or opportunistic.It was, to some extent, Jane’s understandable inability to recognise, at the time, thepersonal factors in her political choices that accounted for the difficulty she subsequently hadin extricating herself from dependency on the movement even at the point where she hadbecome disillusioned with it. This splitting of the personal and the political is particularly127evident in her recounting of her time in England in the first phase of her exile followingdeparture from South Africa.As the initial phase of her exile proper, her time in England embodied all theconflicting elements of Jane’s exile narrative. It is, in some ways, both the zenith and nadirof her story and it is evidence of Jane’s split-consciousness at the time that, in describing thisperiod she had trouble “putting it together”.Jane’s first tendency was to remember the “fun” and “glamour” of her politicalinvolvement, the wonderful treatment she received in the Soviet Union, the intensity of dailycontact with the political elite of the South African exile community. Only after furtherreflection did she recall the “non-existence” of a personal life, the isolation, the suicideattempt, the rootlessness of a floating existence.This splitting, the sense of dividedness and ambivalence, is a common feature ofexile. It is a particularly strong element in Jane’s narrative surfacing before, during, andafter her leaving South Africa. Given this sense of a divided self, the term self-exile takeson added meaning for Jane. For much of her life Jane was in exile from her self, that is splitoff, dissociated, from aspects and potentialities of her self.Taken in this sense, Jane’s self-exile narrative is characterised by the opposing buttied forces of alienation and dependency. As a child she did not feel that she belonged to,but felt dependent on, her family of origin. In prison, although she was with her chosen“family”, she was in a situation of enforced proximity and dependence upon her fellowinmates who functioned both as guardians and guards to each other. In England she had toadopt a posture of obeisance and conformity, “toe the party line”, in order to be taken careof, psychologically and materially, by the paternalistic father-figures at the head of thepolitical movement.128Escape from the confines of politics came only in the form of further dependency.With Michael she was captive to yet another family, forced into the role of “mother” to hischild to whom she referred only as “the kid”, trapped in the nauseatingly green placidnessof suburban Vancouver.Each of the successive “families” to which Jane attached herself offered her security,but at a price. Each inflicted its own form of violence or neglect. Her mother rejected her.The party disavowed her value as a person, other than in her political role. Michaelphysically abused her. Michael’s father represented, to Jane, an old-testament patriarch withthe power to banish her from the security of a political Eden lest she violate the implicitsanctity of the CP.In Canada the push-pull of Jane’s existence persisted. In escaping the limitingconfines of the party she also lost the support and sense of self with which the politicalcommunity had provided her. Her uprootedness was re-emphasized. This engendered a deepambivalence. Jane “knew” absolutely that she would leave Canada but made no active moveto do so. She left the ANC but still considered herself a member.In order to “find” her self, to achieve a sense of integration and belonging, Jane hadto abandon the false security offered her by each of the successive families to which she hadattached herself and create her own family. This she did, in part, by having a daughter,which legitimated her remaining in Canada. Cindy, unlike Jane, was rooted in her country.Cindy, offered the opportunity, some might say the bribe, to further her swimming careerby following her mother to South Africa chose, both literally and figuratively, not to “swimfor” (that is, neither to represent nor travel to) South Africa. By deciding to stay put Cindy,in effect, made the decision for Jane to remain in Canada as well.But perhaps even more importantly for Jane’s sense of connectedness to Canada were129her “family” ties to Rob. Through sharing in Rob’s suffering and death/suicide Jane achievedsome form of redemption. Rob gave her his Canadianness. But he did more than this. Hegave Jane her self. Rob was able to do this because he acted as a link between the disparate,fractured parts of Jane’s life.Rob, like Jane, was a displaced, decontextualized individual. A Native, born andbrought up in a racist white family, he was, as was Jane, in exile from his own family andculture. He was an outcast. He also embodied the suffering of all First Nations’ people inCanada, which, to Jane, was more like than dislike the oppression of the blacks in SouthAfrica on whose behalf she, for so long, committed herself politically. Through Rob, Janerecreated a context of meaning which she felt had been lost when she came to Canada andsevered her political ties.Furthermore, Jane entered into Rob’s life in a way that she did not, or could not,enter into the lives of black South Africans despite her dedication to their cause. Jane wasvalued for what she could give to the cause but not for, and in, her self. Thus Jane wasforced to keep her personal and political worlds separate or, rather, to mesh her personalworld with the political so that the former existed chiefly as an expression of the latter.Through her relationship with Rob Jane began to integrate her political beliefs withher personal needs and in so doing re-enact, and reauthor the “pathological” elements of herlife that formed the sub-text of her life-narrative. Jane “mothered” Rob , who was “like ason” to her in a way that her own mother never did for her. His death by alcohol embodiedelements of her father’s life and death allowing Jane to grieve, belatedly, her father’s death.Through immolation, Rob died, but Jane was resurrected, phoenix-like, from his embers.He gave her a “purpose” for being here in Canada. Through the personalizing of politicalmeaning Jane finally felt that she could begin to make a home in exile.130Despite, or perhaps because, of her discovery of purpose in Canada, however,ambivalence continues, at the time of the interview, to characterize Jane’s life. Having asense of purpose in Canada has offset, but has not replaced, her hankering for an unfinishedpast in South Africa. It has, however, made it more difficult for her to go back, in space andtime, to the site of that lost opportunity. Although she has engaged in activities that havenurtured and nourished her sense of self--going to school, discovering feminism and nativespirituality--she has been unable to recapture, and thus move on from, the one time in herlife when she did something “totally” for her self, attend art school. Having failed to realizeher dream of being a visual artist she still longs to live in that special “light” of SouthAfrica.But the idealised past for which she longs is no longer unalloyed. The dream has beentainted by endemic political violence in South Africa and by some unfavourable comparisonswith her newfound life in Canada. When Jane returned to South Africa for a visit, there wasa recognition of how she had been changed by living so long outside of that country. Forexample, having earlier thought that South Africans were passionate and intense, andCanadians bland, she came to feel that South Africans were aggressive and Canadianscivilized. Whereas, before, she saw Canadians through South African eyes, she hassubsequently, to some extent, come to see South Africans through Canadian eyes. At thesame time, however, her friendships in Canada can never replicate the ease, the “athomeness” she felt in her friendships with South Africans.In feeling that she is in limbo, being rooted in two places simultaneously, notbelonging completely in either place, Jane seems condemned to remain in exile. For,although exile has allowed Jane to find her self, part of that self remains attached to a timeand place no longer recoverable without loss of a self that has taken root in a new131environment. For Jane this is tragic. Whatever choice she makes, to live in Canada or SouthAfrica, represents a loss. Jane’s story, thus, remains unfinished. She has yet to find home.Paul’s StoryIn 1973 Paul H. left South Africa for Europe with his wife, Sarah, and nine-monthold daughter, Hannah, not knowing where they would end up. After a brief period of travelthey came to the U.S.A. and then to Canada. A scientist by training, a doctor by profession,and a story-teller by avocation, Paul lives with his wife and four children in Vancouver.When, twenty years ago, Paul left South Africa he was enacting a process ofuprooting that, as a Jew, had been part of his family heritage. Paul’s maternal grandmotherEthel, was an immigrant from Plungyan, Lithuania which she left in order to escape thepogroms and the persecution of Jews in the Baltic States. She was brought over to SouthAfrica as a young woman by her brother who had immigrated some years before and hadbecome a farmer in the Calvinia district in the Cape Province. Paul’s paternal grandfather,likewise, came from Plungyan. Although they were from the same Lithuanian town Paul’sgrandparents met and were married in South Africa.On his father’s side Paul’s forebears came originally from Hungary, emigrating fromthere to British-ruled Palestine. Paul’s father came to South Africa as a child with his parentsand never went back to Palestine even after it achieved independence as the state of Israel.Having immigrated at the young age of six, he completely lost his ability to speak Hebrewand, instead, became fluent in the then official languages of South Africa, English andAfrikaans, especially in the latter.Paul’s childhood was spent in rural and semi-rural South Africa. He was born and132lived his early years in a little village called Fishhoek on the coast outside of Cape Town.When he was about four years old his parents moved to the South African interior, toFicksburg, where they bought a hotel. Ficksburg is a little village on the Caledon River closeto the border of Basutoland (then a British Protectorate surrounded by South Africa, now theindependent nation of Lesotho). Paul’s family spent about ten years in Ficksburg and onSundays the family would often drive into Basutoland to get to know the area. After tenyears the hotel business failed and Paul and his family, including two sisters and a brotherall born in Ficksburg, returned to Cape Town.Those early years were mostly secure, happy years for Paul. He had a loving family.He had a father who worked hard and was able to put him in private school and, later,support him through his first years in university. Paul did experience a few incidents of anti-semitism, in the form of name-calling and some threats, but nothing that was ever physicallyhurtful. But if these were predominantly years of security they were also years of insularity,of ignorance about the oppressive nature of South African society. Looking back Paul feelsthat he was living in a white cocoon.Paul’s parents were, in many ways, typical of white South Africans. In Cape Townthey lived in a middle-class house on a nice street. They weren’t abusive towards blacks butthey fitted in with the pattern of white behaviour. They paid the help in the house the goingrate which was not very high. Paul doesn’t recall being particularly abusive towards blackseither, either in his spoken or body language or in his thoughts. He just accepted thesituation as it was. He accepted that there were maids who came in to clean the house, andgardeners, and that they were separated from their families who usually lived hundreds ofmiles away in the Transkei or elsewhere in the interior.Right up until matric Paul didn’t really question South Africa. In fact, at high school133and university, he often felt defensive about his country and its apartheid policies becauseof the way the world viewed South Africa. Paul felt that he had to defend the status quobecause that was the way things were and any alternative would lead to chaos and disaster.Paul took the government line without really thinking his position through or actuallylooking at the arguments. It was purely a reaction. He’d find himself saying, “Hey, that’sunfair to attack us, you don’t really know us, you don’t really understand us. Look at theother countries in Africa. They’ve killed more people since liberation than before liberation”.He believed that even though black people in South Africa didn’t earn as much or have thepotential to earn as much as elsewhere in Africa, at least they were alive. They had somefood. And if things were so bad in South Africa, how come there were a lot of black peoplecoming down from the surrounding countries such as Malawi, to look for work there?In part, Paul’s defensiveness for his country came out of ignorance, in part from anidentification with the Afrikaner and what he stood for, or at least the good elements of theAfrikaner. As evidence of this identification was Paul’s love of the Afrikaans language. InFicksburg where he had attended an Afrikaans elementary school, theatre had been one ofhis favourite pastimes. But, interestingly, Paul would only act in Afrikaans plays. Paul lovedthe Afrikaans language, loved speaking it, loved the poetry of it. In fact, he loved it to suchan extent that he even outdid the Afrikaners in their own language.At the age of nine in Ficksburg, Paul entered an eisteddfod where he read anAfrikaans poem. He was competing against Afrikaans boys, but read with such expressionthat he won the gold medal. That love of Afrikaans, of poets like “Oom Lokomotief”(“Uncle Locomotive”) has always stayed with him. Even when, after returning to CapeTown, he attended a private Hebrew school, Herzlia, he would only participate in Afrikaanstheatre, refusing to act in English or Hebrew plays.134As much as he loved the language, encounters with individual Afrikaners and withwhite culture in general, often proved less positive. These encounters were to produce cracksin the protective cocoon in which Paul had been living. One particular incident occurredwhen Paul was about sixteen. He’d gone to a farm during the summer holidays and wasinvited by the farmer to go on trek with the sheep and the black shepherd. But on themorning of the trek, the farmer who’d been wonderfully warm and welcoming to Paul andwhose wife was all red-cheeks and apple-pie, started shouting at one of the African labourerson his farm. Paul was shocked because he had never seen anybody talk to a black man likethat, as if the black man was no better than a horse.But while cracks were appearing in the cocoon there was no great rebellion on Paul’spart. So when his first leave-taking occurred it was not particularly because he wanted to getaway from South Africa. In 1968, at age 20, Paul had married. He had finished hisbachelor’s degree in science at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and wanted toexperience other things. He managed to get into a research institute in Israel, the WeitzmannInstitute, which offered graduate degrees in theoretical nuclear physics. Also, at that time,the Zionist Federation of South Africa was keen to get young Jewish South Africans toexperience Israel, hoping that they might like it and stay there, and they helped sponsor him,paying all his fees for two years as long as he remained in the graduate program.Paul spent from ‘69 to ‘71 in Israel. Living there, in an international studentresidence, he was suddenly catapulted into contact with the rest of the world and intoexperiencing other political viewpoints. He engaged in discussion with immigrants from allover Europe and America. There were a Polish couple, a French couple, an Israeli couple,a Brazilian couple. Not only did he encounter different perspectives but people also askedhim about his country.135Initially, upon being questioned, Paul found himself wanting to be an objective storyteller about South Africa without committing himself to one side or the other. He would saythings like, “This is the government view point. This is why apartheid came into being.Theoretically, there’s separate but equal development amongst the different races”. Paul feltthat the way the government looked at things made some sense. If you can retain each ethnicgroup’s cultural heritage then you can support that approach. Paul was trying to justifyapartheid in the theoretically good sense of it. And then Paul would try and give theopposition point of view, saying, “In actual fact even though they say separate and equal,it’s most certainly not equal,” and so on and so forth. He would try to be an independentstory-teller.But the reactions, by others, to his words were often very emotional and, as a result,Paul began to think, “Do I really believe in what the government says about apartheid ordon’t I?” He realized that he had to make some decision, some commitment. Coincidentallythis began occurring towards the end of his stay in Israel, in 1971, at about the time of thedeath of his father when he felt the need to go back to South Africa and be with his motherand family through the grieving process, and to stay there for a while.So the final breaking of the cocoon really occurred in South Africa. Paul first put hishead out through the cracks in Israel, but on arriving back in South Africa, after having beenaway for two years, he found that he was no longer the same person he had been before andthat he had to make a commitment. This was very clear within the first few months afterreturning home and dealing with his father’s burial and talking to the family. Even now, itremains so strong and so clear in his memory that there was no turning back, that he had tomake a commitment.For Paul and Sarah making a commitment meant deciding that they would leave the136country. But Paul hadn’t yet finished his master’s degree. He had completed all his coursework but hadn’t chosen a thesis. He decided to do his thesis in South Africa but to leaveimmediately after its completion. For the year and a half after they got back Paul workedon his thesis. He switched from nuclear physics into bio-engineering and did a project at theGroote Schuur Hospital and UCT. In early ‘73 Paul, Sarah, and Hannah left South Africa.But in those one and a half years of waiting to leave, Paul underwent ametamorphosis. It was clear to him that the reason for leaving was that he was notcomfortable to live any more in South Africa as it was. He had this sense of being a splitperson, that he was living a lie, that no matter what he said with his words--that he didn’tlike apartheid, that he didn’t agree with it--he was still living this comfortable middle-classexistence, able to finish his degree at UCT, with food on his plate, able to go to the moviesand to the theatre. As that split got stronger and stronger Paul and Sarah felt that they hadto take a stand.Up to that point Paul had never joined any political party, had never helped in anyblack cause. He and Sarah decided that it was important to make some gesture. They founda black school that needed help, Fezeka High in Nyanga, and became friendly with theprincipal and vice-principal. They then went back to their families’ neighbourhoods, wentto rich business people (Paul’s father-in-law owned a big lumber yard and knew contacts inthe business world), went to friends of Paul’s late father and started soliciting donations.They collected money for a theatre, for a fence, for books, for scientific instruments.They wrote a letter to the Bantu Education Department asking permission to bring whitestudents from UCT on a voluntary basis to give lectures and extra lessons to the blackstudents. But the letter they received in reply refused their request, saying that it was againstthe Bantu Education Act to have white students teaching in a black school. Nevertheless,137Paul and Sarah did everything else that they could.In those fifteen months that he worked with the school, Paul had a furious energybecause he knew that he didn’t have much time left in South Africa and he wanted to dosomething before he left. He got friends of his involved. His parents-in-law came to a prizegiving at the school and they donated money. These were people who wouldn’t normallyhave gone to such events.Despite his commitment to Fezeka High, however, Paul knew with an absolutecertainty that he would soon leave the country. There was a sense of inevitability about it.He felt that it was the black person’s country. They were the majority. Paul did not feelguilty but, regardless of what he did or didn’t do to help, if he stayed in South Africa underexisting conditions he would still be benefitting from an unjust system and he just couldn’tdo that any more.In those days, in early ‘73, the apartheid policy was still completely entrenched, therewere no signs of the system disintegrating and life for most whites was still fairly good.Paul’s mother and sisters and friends couldn’t understand why they were leaving and, inorder to make the break, Paul and Sarah had to separate from friends and family, becomea self-supporting unit together and isolate themselves. This was made easier by the fact thatthe two of them always saw eye-to-eye on the issue of leaving South Africa. Maybe becausethey married so young and their ideas were formed in unison, there was a congruencybetween the two of them. The decision to leave was a joint one and it became strong to thepoint that it brooked no argument.There were also other factors that made it easier to leave. Paul and Sarah wereyoung, had just been married for a few years, had just had their first baby, had noprofessions, no house, no roots. They were going to have to put down roots somewhere and138just being married with a child was a risk in itself. They were at a point of decision making,of transition and, somehow, that gave Paul some confidence. He had to go out into that newworld and he might as well choose a place that, in his conscience, he felt better about.Israel had been ruled out because Paul and Sarah were opposed to the militaristicpolicies of the government there. For the two years that they had lived there they hadresented being pawns of the state and they didn’t want either themselves or their children tobe put into that position, or to be sent to Lebanon to fight. Other than Israel, however, thecountry they ended up in could be anywhere, but it had to be out of South Africa.Friends thought that Paul and Sarah were crazy. They were going with a nine-monthold daughter and no objective in mind, no place to go to. And although he had made a firmdecision to leave, there was still a conflict. Fundamentally, Paul loved South Africa, thesimplicity of that country. Even now there is a part of Paul that is forever South African andwill never be anything else, because his childhood was there and there was a magic to beinga child in that country. But although Paul’s childhood had been wonderfully magic andsimple and basic, with wonderful friendships, he didn’t want Hannah to live the lie he had.He didn’t want her to grow up split, speaking one thing while living another.In the final analysis, Paul and Sarah simply needed to feel cleansed, that they wereliving a truthful existence. This was so even though the black people they had been workingwith were saying, “But you’re the type of white persons we would want to remain in SouthAfrica”. That didn’t seem to help. It did, however, deepen Paul’s sense of conflict. He felttorn because he liked those people and they, in turn, seemed to like and care for him andhis family.Paul recalls how, one night, shortly after his eldest daughter was born, he heard aknock at the door of the little flat they were living in in Green Point, Cape Town and there139stood Banzi Lubelwana, the vice-principal, and Mr. Ndandane, the principal of Fezeka High,and their wives. They were carrying piles of gifts, clothes, and toys for the new baby. Theycame in so formal, dressed in suits, just the four of them, and were worried whether theneighbours would be concerned that these black people were coming to visit Paul’s family.So there was a weeping, wounded part of Paul that would have loved to have said tothese people, “Yes, I want to stay here, and maybe build a new South Africa with you andI want to be part of it, whatever it would be”. Nevertheless, Paul and Sarah felt they had togo. It wasn’t enough just to help at a black school.And, in the end, the people from Fezeka High seemed to respect Paul’s decision.They said, “If you have to go then we want to honour you”. And they did. They invited Pauland Sarah to be guests of honour at the graduation ceremony of the matriculation class ofFezeka High where they presented the two of them with a book and Paul with some shirts.Despite the sadness of the occasion there was a wonderful sharing that occurred thatevening. The black people had a custom that the recipient open his gifts in the presence ofthe giver so that the joy of giving and receiving could be shared. As Paul unwrapped theshirts and the book there was a chorus of “Oohing and “Aahing” from the school assembly.The book that Paul and Sarah received was one on tribal costumes of South Africa.Earlier, when Paul had been asked what he wanted from Fezeka he had said, “I don’t wantanything”. But they insisted on giving him a gift so Paul said, “Well, give me a book thattells me something about the black people,” because the irony of living as a white person inSouth Africa under that system was that it prevented whites from learning about the blackpeople. Paul knew very little of their language, of their culture.Actually Paul had spoken a bit of Sotho (the language of the Basuto) when he wasa child but had lost it all. But otherwise here was a big hole in his childhood. Various black140people had just sort of weaved through his life without him really knowing about them. Paulfelt that, as he was going to go away from South Africa, he wanted to take away somethingas a symbol of his connection to that country and especially to the blacks.There was in fact another symbol of Paul’s connection to South Africa, also providedby Fezeka High, that remained behind in that country. In commemoration of, and gratitudefor, the work they had done, the school named its theatre after Paul and Sarah’s daughter.Paul still has a picture of the commemoration plaque. When years later, during rioting in thetownship, the school was burnt down, the theatre, ironically, remained standing.At the end of the night of gift-giving, Paul was asked “Where are you going?”because he still didn’t know where he and his family were going to end up. In that sense,they were going into exile. They were going to buy a caravan and travel in Europe and lookfor a land. Paul was thinking vaguely of Scandinavia, but really had no idea where they weregoing to finish up. He only knew that he couldn’t live in South Africa any more.Paul did not, however, have to spend long wandering in the wilderness. After a shortperiod of travelling in Europe he decided to contact the supervisor of his master’s thesis inCape Town. It turned out that this man had actually left South Africa and was in Atlanta,Georgia and he made an offer to Paul: “If you’re not doing anything, drift overt to Atlantaand we’ll see if maybe you can get into a doctorate program”. So after nine months oftravelling they sold the caravan and came over to Atlanta.Then, just as Paul started on his doctorate, his supervisor was offered a job inCanada. He, in turn, offered Paul the opportunity to go with him to Hamilton and continuehis studies there. Paul had no idea what Canada was like but decided to take the opportunitythat had been presented him. He went to the Canadian embassy in Atlanta to ask for astudent visa and the official there persuaded Paul to emigrate. The official said, “You’re141crazy to go as a student. Why don’t you go as a landed immigrant and you can work. Youwon’t have any problems”. The man probably looked at Paul’s qualifications and thought thatan engineer would be good for Canada.So getting into Canada was remarkably easy even though Sarah didn’t fulfil all theimmigration requirements since she was pregnant with their second child and couldn’t havethe necessary X-rays taken. So, instead, they went on what was called a minister’s permit.Just as getting into Canada was easy, adapting to living in Canada also proved to berelatively painless for Paul. Effectively, most of Paul’s post-secondary training occurredhere. He finished his engineering degree then switched to medicine and trained as a doctor.Being in university here, going through the program with other Canadian students, made itmuch easier to acclimatize, to become Canadian. Paul was simply accepted as a colleague,as one of the guys, although with an odd accent. It made emigrating very easy and Paul stillhas friends across Canada from his university days.Being with Sarah also made leaving South Africa easier because the two of them wereself-sufficient. They really relied heavily on each other and learnt to share. Paul would lookafter kids while Sarah studied and vice-versa. If Paul had a problem he could bounce it offSarah and if she had a problem she could bounce it off him. Having two heads together tosolve problems, they always found a solution. They learnt to live on very little money andto appreciate that.It was actually a wonderful experience being a newly married couple in a foreigncountry. In fact Paul’s advice to any young couple is that a very good way for them tosolidify their marriage would be to leave their home country and go to a new place, becauseit’s like being thrown onto an island where the couple has to survive. Paul feels that he andSarah could now go to any country and do fine because of the survival skills they learnt.142But while adapting to Canada seemed unproblematic, even exciting to Paul, comingto terms with his broken ties to South Africa was more difficult. For those first years therewas a total separation from South Africa. It was as if, the minute he left, it was behind him.The only way that he could deal with that wrench, that wound, that separation, was to closethe door and not look back. And it needed a good ten years of separation before he couldbegin to reconnect with South Africa.In those first ten years, if and when Paul encountered people who wanted to knowabout South Africa, he most certainly was not overflowing with information. He was notashamed of being a South African, but on the subject of his country he tended to be quiterestrained. If someone asked him a question he might reply, “What do you want to knowabout South Africa?” but he never volunteered any information.It wasn’t so much a denial of his past that caused his reticence, as that he didn’t seemto have an interest in, or an energy for, sharing about South Africa. In some unconsciousway, he didn’t want to talk any more about South Africa. It was too painful for him. He justwanted to leave it behind. The door was closed. That chapter had ended and he hadembarked on a new chapter.In keeping with cutting his ties to the past, Paul also didn’t actively seek out a SouthAfrican community in Canada. When he and his family first came to Hamilton, in ‘74, thereweren’t many South Africans there anyway. Occasionally, inevitably, he would bump intofellow South Africans and they would laugh at his jokes and it was a little easier to developan immediate connection. But Paul didn’t particularly seek out South Africans and he neverjoined any South African groups. He was in a new life and was just going to do whatevercame his way.But even as Paul embraced, and was embraced by, the present and future that was143Canada, the past that was South Africa could not easily and summarily be dismissed. Paulnever questioned whether it was right or wrong to have left. It was the only decision hecould have made. But Paul retained a strong emotional attachment to his childhood years inSouth Africa. He had a sense of loss, of regret of not being a child there again. Moreover,not only could he not become a child again, but South Africa was no longer the same place.It had become another, a different world, not the world of his childhood any more.Because it was impossible to return to a vanished past, Paul needed to find othermeans of trying to achieve the same ends. Eventually an alternative way of recapturing thepast came to him. After having shut South Africa out of his life for almost ten years, hegrew interested in reading stories by South African writers, especially those of HermanCharles Bosman (one of the best known Afrikaans short-story writers). There is one storyin particular, “Under the Withaak”, that he has read and reread innumerable times. It’s abouta leopard and has an almost spiritual, mythic, undertone to it.Perhaps more importantly, a little later Paul shifted from being merely a story-readerto become a story-teller, recounting tales from his South African childhood. Through his ownstory creations Paul was keeping his link to South Africa alive or, rather, reviving thatconnection.But Paul was also hoping to do more than just create a link for himself to the past.He felt a regret that his children, living a different life in Canada, couldn’t repeat some ofthe magic that he had experienced in South Africa. His hope was that, through hearing histales, his children would have a history that they could feel a part of. All of Paul’s childrenhave listened endlessly to him telling his stories.There was also another reason for Paul becoming a story-teller. Despite his claimsthat he fitted easily into Canadian society there were, and are, times when Paul feels that he144is not understood by the culture he has come into. Sometimes when he tells people aboutsome experience from his past he can sense by their responses that they get only part of whathe is telling. The listener would almost have to have lived through those experiences in orderto really understand them, the texture, the colour and so on. But Paul desperately wantspeople to better understand the cultural context from which he comes and, therefore, tounderstand him better.Unfortunately, as a scientist and a doctor, Paul had no creative way of expressing hisemotional attachment to South Africa until he hit on the idea of story-telling and theatre. Hispursuit of this new direction culminated recently in him performing, on stage, a one-manmythico-biographical account of growing up in South Africa. It’s gratifying for Paul whennot just a South African but a non-South African comes up to him after a performance andsays, “I listened to you and it was as if I was there and I felt it,” because then Paul thinks,“Ah, I’m getting through”.This teffing of stories, to his children and to others, didn’t begin, however, untilabout five years ago. It took that long, some fifteen years after leaving South Africa, beforePaul could begin to tell tales about his past, because a tremendous wounding had occurred.It was a wound that was in part self-inflicted but without any choice. And it needed thoseyears of isolation to let the wound heal before he could retrace the steps and talk about thattime creatively.One factor that facilitated the healing was simply that Paul had grown older. As theyears passed and he looked back through the tunnel of time, events changed in their symbolicmeaning. What may have hurt or wounded him terribly at one time could, with the benefitof time, be looked at differently.In his play, Paul tells of one such symbolic transformation. When he was a young145boy in Ficksburg a black man called Sidwell, who worked for Paul’s father, one day calledPaul to join him and a group of other black workers who were standing around talking.Sidwell proceeded to show Paul how to make a certain hand gesture, teaching him to inserthis thumb between the index and middle fingers of his clenched hand. When the young whiteboy successfully imitated the hand sign, Sidwell and the others laughed and Paul thought thatthey were delighted at his accomplishment.But then, some years later Paul discovered that, in South Africa, the gesture,implying sexual penetration, meant “Fuck” and he felt humiliated at the thought that hehad been the ignorant butt of Sidwell and the others’ private joke.Paul carried with him the memory of what he thought had been a cruel mockery until,many years later, a native Brazilian provided him with an alternative meaning for theapparently crude gesture. The man pointed out that in many African cultures this sign is asymbol of fertility and power. With this new insight Paul rethought his encounter feeling thatSidwell, instead of mocking him, had perhaps, instead, initiated him into a shared andpowerful secret. Through this, and other, stories Paul revisited and reinterpreted the past.He began to feel a sense of forgiveness towards both the country, South Africa, for thewound it had caused him, and towards himself for being a white South African.Although such reformulating of past experiences has occurred as part of what, toPaul, is primarily an inner journey, external events have played their part in helping Paulreconnect with his South African identity. Of particular importance has been the emergence,in the past ten years, of a new South Africa. With that emergence has come the realizationfor Paul that what he and like-minded people were thinking when he lived there wasn’t sooutrageous. Then, they were talking of a multiracial state with one man one vote. Now,suddenly, it’s a possibility, although Paul crosses his fingers and hopes that the transition to146a stable multiracial state can be accomplished with relatively little bloodshed.As part of this change in South Africa there was also the release of Mandela. Morethan the actual man himself, the symbol of Mandela was important to Paul, the symbol ofa man undergoing a wounding, coming through that experience and not focusing onvengeance, not being embittered. There’s almost a Ghandi, Jesus-like quality in that. Theman had been incarcerated for 27 years and when he came out he was, and is, still preparedto say, even to right-wing Afrikaners, “We can talk, we can find some room for you”. Thoseare remarkable words.There have also been other stories coming out of South Africa, other scenarios ofchange, reconciliation, and tolerance. In contrast to Paul’s remembered episode of theAfrikaner farmer talking to the black man like he was a horse, there is the recent story ofthe son of F.W. de Klerk, the President of South Africa, becoming engaged to a colouredwoman (a woman of mixed black and white racial heritage). Or, there is the image of deKlerk himself saying, “We made a mistake. We acknowledge that apartheid was a mistake.Let’s try and forgive each other and build together”.What all of this does is help Paul to look back on that strong force that made himsay, “I can’t stay here, I can’t live a lie,” and say instead, “Okay, let’s forgive,” if that isthe right word, or at least “Let’s look at it again, and look at it with less fierceness”. Whatit means is that the lie that Paul felt he was living no longer seems so much of a lie becausesome of those people who, in a sense, forced him to live that lie have now admitted that itwas wrong.If de Klerk and all the Afrikaners were, to this day, still saying, “Apartheid iscorrect, it’s the only way, the black man deserves to be treated like this,” and gave a wholevariety of reasons why, that would only perpetuate the lie, it would widen the split. Even147though these events are happening thousands of miles away from Canada, all of them--thechange in South Africa, the ability of the Afrikaners to acknowledge their mistakes, ofMandela, in spite of everything, to forgive them for their mistakes--have had their affect onPaul.How could they not? Paul will die with a part of him still South African. Until tenyears ago Paul might not have been able to acknowledge that fact. The last ten years,however, have been different. Paul has been much more able to look back, to integrate thepast with the present, and more willing to share that integration with others as he doesthrough his play. In the first ten years in Canada Paul wouldn’t have been ready do to sucha thing. The events would not have been clear enough in his psyche, his consciousness, forhim to have put them together in a way that he could stand up in front of others and, ineffect, give his story away. The play has been another step in his healing process.Paralleling his inner journey back to South Africa Paul has also undergone a spiritualreconnection with his Jewish identity. For Paul and his family those first ten years in Canadawere spent in a spiritual wilderness. They had no interest at all in any spiritual or religiouscommunity. They were much more humanistic in outlook. Paul had grown up in a verytypical South African-Jewish family which was quite assimilated. His family was semi-kosher, he went to synagogue on high holidays, had a barmitzvah and attended a Jewishschool. But he and Sarah, who is also Jewish, didn’t want their kids to go to Jewish schooland for the twelve years of their married life didn’t belong to any synagogue.When Paul’s daughter came to the age of batmitzvah the family had to make adecision whether to continue in their secular, humanistic, ways or to align themselves witha spiritual community. At that point they discovered an alternative synagogue, Or Shalom,where they felt accepted. For the past ten years they have committed themselves to148supporting this community. They also joined the Peretz Schule (a more secular Jewishorganization with East European Socialist roots) but couldn’t commit themselves fully to boththe Peretz and Or Shalom. They have remained primarily involved with Or Shalom andparticipated in the drama program at the Peretz Schule. It was with the help of the dramateacher there that Paul developed his play.The play, or at least an excerpt from it, acted as the serendipitous catalyst for a veryreal link back to Paul’s past. The incident was a coda to his involvement with Fezeka Highalmost twenty years before. In 1992 there was a festival for immigrants held in Vancouver.Paul was waiting to recount one of his a tales and on the stage with him was a black SouthAfrican drummer, Themba Tana, who had also immigrated to Canada. At the time Paul andThemba didn’t know each other.When the two of them were introduced Themba mentioned that he was originallyfrom Cape Town, from Nyanga. Paul responded, “That’s interesting because I helped atFezeka High in Nyanga, where Mr. Ndandane was the principal,” to which Themba said,“What! I went out with Mr. Ndandane’ s daughter”. Themba was approximately the same ageas Paul, had grown up in Nyanga, knew Mr. Ndandane, had gone out with his daughter.Paul had grown up at the same time, very close by but had no way of connecting with him.And years later the two of them were sitting in Canada on a stage sharing this commonality,having grown up in different worlds but in the same country. They were both so happy atdiscovering a shared, albeit separated, past. It was very emotional for Paul.Themba also told Paul this amazing story of a recent trip back to South Africa as aprofessional drummer. One night he was walking with friends through Nyanga when,suddenly, there were sirens and lights coming towards them. Within two seconds, twentyyears of living in Canada were stripped away and Themba was simply a terrified black man149running from the police, jumping over fences to get away.Since coming to Canada Paul, too, has gone back to visit South Africa. Like Thembahe too felt, in being in that country, the years in Canada fall away (although as a whiteperson, this was not terrifying). Each time Paul went back it was very easy to slide back intoa certain way of talking, a certain way of thinking, back into living the lie, speaking againabout how bad this or that was but still getting into the car and going out to a nice restaurantor a movie and not truly seeing the black people.Within a few days there Paul would become South African again, would again findhimself speaking Afrikaans. It was really strange that he could adapt so easily. This senseof almost never having left was sometimes unwittingly reinforced by old acquaintances whowould bump into him on the street and would think that they just hadn’t seen Paul for awhile, completely unaware that he’d been in Canada all these years. Just because Paul hadbeen away he didn’t necessarily appear any different.On these visits, the sense of belonging but not belonging made connecting with oldfriends a mixed experience. Since leaving South Africa neither Paul nor Sarah had kept upa correspondence with any of their friends there, but when they visited they made a pointof phoning people and meeting them. It was good to see old connections. Paul and Sarah feltaccepted by them. But even though, during the few hours they spent together, Paul mightfeel close to some of these people, there was the knowledge that he was not going to remainthere and he would have to say goodbye. So each little meeting was a mini-death.The trips back did serve to give his children a taste of their family roots. On oneholiday the two older children stayed for a brief time at Paul’s school. After returning toCanada from another trip, 13-year old Hannah wrote two poems about South Africa whichcaught the sense of the split, both inner and outer, that Paul had felt living there.150The last time that Paul visited South Africa was in 1986 so all his trips occurredbefore the recent liberalising changes in South Africa. Each time, therefore, Paul wouldalways go back to a country that was still under apartheid as he’d known it. This had theeffect of confirming for him the rightness of the decision he’d made, in 1973, to leave.Although it was always good to see his family and he felt welcomed by friends, the sensethat there had been no change in the country reaffirmed for him that he had had to leave, hadto do what he was doing. And each time Paul came back to Canada he would feel like hewas coming home.To Paul it seems peculiar, almost paradoxical that he would claim to be so split, sowounded by his love of the country and of its language, Afrikaans, then go into exile, beunable to talk about South Africa for a number of years here in Canada, and yet go backthere and so easily slip into speaking Afrikaans, into his South African identity. To Paul, thisseeming contradiction reminds him of the saying, “The greatest love is a silent love”. Hisleaving, his not wanting to look back, not wanting to talk about South Africa for all thoseyears in Canada must have masked a deep, unconscious love. Now, at least, he’s beginningto verbalize that love.At least Paul hopes that what comes through in his stories is the love, not any dislikeof South Africa. His overriding feeling now is one of love. But Paul first had to go throughthe process of silence and distancing before he could break the silence and, through wordsand stories, return to the past.Paul has not yet developed a similar passion for Canada. It may be that the storieshe eventually creates about Canada are ten to fifteen years in the future. At present hisstories are still mainly rooted in South Africa with only a few about the transition to Canada.Very little is coming out of his imagination about his life here in Canada although that, no151doubt, will come.Paul has a vision that some day, after South Africa has had time to go through itstransition, he might go back as a visitor and tell stories of the kind that he has been tellingduring the interview, of a South African who left his country and had to survive in a foreignland. He would talk of what the value was of this, what this South African gathered fromhis journey in a foreign land, and bring this knowledge back with him as a gift to SouthAfrica.The need to take something back to South Africa derives not only from a need tomake the symbolic return real but also, perhaps, to make recompense for the way in whichPaul left his country. As Paul sees it, his reasons for leaving South Africa were, in a way,very selfish. He left because of a driving personal reason, because of a split that was drivinghim crazy and his need to be whole, to be complete again. In some symbolic way, his exile,his isolation, his subsequent reading, and then telling stories about, South Africa was, andis, a way of making himself whole again, somehow completing the circle.Interpretive comments. Paul’s self-exile narrative is, in his own words, a story ofwounding and healing. Ostensibly, the wound was that of self-exile but there were, in facttwo woundings, separate but linked, the “self-inflicted wound” of self-exile arising out of aninitial, unchosen injury which was the loss of purity, of childhood innocence and wholeness.This loss of purity resulted from a betrayal, the telling (and living) of a lie by those in whomPaul trusted and with whom he identified.The lie was that Paul’s childhood was not an incorruptible paradise but built on whatwas, for others, a hell. The lie was embodied in the disjunction between the Afrikaansfarmer’s warm welcome to Paul and his abusive words to the black labourer. This discrepant152behaviour reflected a society that was two-faced; the face that Paul had believed in, “all red-cheeks and apple-pie”, belied by the other face out of which came words that spoke to aperson as if he was an animal. The division between these two faces occasioned the split inPaul’s cocoon.What made the split so painful for Paul was his realisation that it existed not only inthe external world of South Africa, in the separation of, and inequality between, the racesbut in himself, between what he had thought to be true and good and what he came to seeas false and unjust. Even though Paul had been protected from knowledge of this lie by themagic circle of childhood innocence, once he became aware of its falseness he was forcedto recognise his complicity in its maintenance, the extent to which he had been part of thedeception and vice-versa.To emerge from a cocoon is to shatter its wholeness, however illusory, just asAdam’s bite into the apple destroyed its integrity. Once the bitter knowledge of therottenness at its core has been tasted Eden can never be returned to. For Paul to have triedto return to his paradise would have been for him have continued to be fed by, and feed into,the lie. But while paradise had been lost, or rather, because it had been lost, it could noteasily be forgotten and so Paul hungered persistently after what could never be trulyregained. It is the attempt to recover this lost purity that drives Paul’s narrative.For Paul, his deep sense of betrayal by South Africa came, in part, from his strongidentification with the Afrikaner (or, as he hoped, “just the good elements of the Afrikaner”)given expression through his love of their language. Although it is not unusual for twentiethcentury Jews in the diaspora to assimilate into the culture of their adoptive country,manifesting what Kalmar (1993) has termed the eji (embarrassed jewish individual)phenomenon, the desire to downplay ethnic differences in order to minimise the risk of153discrimination, it is unusual for South African Jews to identify with Afrikaans culture as didPaul.Most, although not all, Jews who came to South Africa chose to live in cities ratherthan in the country and to assimilate into English-European culture, often adopting a liberalpolitical outlook in which the Afrikaners were cast as the villains in the apartheid drama.Afrikaners were the architects and prime proponents of apartheid (although many English-speakers were happy to benefit from it even while decrying it) and Paul’s identification withthe Afrikaner would likely have increased his sense of woundedness once he uncovered thelie.It is probable that Paul gained his affinity for Afrikaans culture and language fromhis father who, despite being originally Hebrew-speaking and from a British colony, cameto speak Afrikaans better than either Hebrew or English. As an emigre from a Palestinecolonised by the British, Paul’s father may have empathised with the Afrikaners for whomthe traditional enemy was not, as is conventionally assumed, the blacks whom theysubjugated and saw as inferior, but the British who defeated and colonised what theAfrikaners believed to be “their” country.It is perhaps no accident, then, that Paul’s break with South Africa coincided withthe death of his father. In returning from Israel to South Africa to lay his father to rest healso came home to sever and bury his ties to his father’s adopted land. But to simplyabandon South Africa would have been to have left it and himself in a state of impurity. Toregain his faith in the world (and, by extension, in himself) Paul needed to attempt to restoresome purity to that world. To do this and to offer recompense for his sin of omission, hisunwitting collusion in an unjust system, Paul worked with a “furious energy” on behalf ofFezeka High before inflicting the wound of exile on himself.154A self-inflicted wound is a paradoxical phenomenon. It may be, simultaneously, botha self-denying and a self-enhancing act. Against both nature and reason a person harmshimself. But self-injury may be a means of limiting further harm. When Paul could no longertolerate the split in himself he wounded himself further (“split from” his country) in ordernot to exacerbate the wound and to allow the healing to begin.The depth of Paul’s initial wound derived partly from his recognition of hisinvolvement in the lie. Learning the truth about South Africa not only sullied the purity ofhis childhood it also challenged his sense of himself as a good person. Having uncovered hispart in the lie, he could no longer think of himself as pure or whole (that is, havingintegrity). Hence his need to be “cleansed”.The question for Paul was who betrayed whom? If he was the innocent victim of anact of betrayal then his moral integrity, although not his trust, could remain intact. If, on theother hand he was the betrayer, then he was complicit in the lie. The first two parts of theparable of Sidwell reveal how, for Paul, everyone in South Africa was guilty of betrayal, ofthe lie. If everyone was culpable (although not necessarily equally so) then perhaps Paul’scollusion was lessened or, at least, mitigated by virtue of its being shared.When Sidwell called Paul over and taught him the hand gesture, Paul felt “taken in”(that is, included) by the black community. When he later came to believe that he had been“taken in” in another sense (that is, duped) Paul saw how a poisoned environmentcontaminates everything and everyone within its sphere. Not only had the whites, especiallythe Afrikaners, betrayed his trust (and his love), so had the blacks. If all of society,oppressors and oppressed alike, were duplicitous and untrustworthy then there was no wayto remain in South Africa and not be part of the lie. Even after having left South Africa andreturning there as a visitor from Canada it was too easy to “slip back into living the lie”.155The sense of having been made dirty by the lie of South Africa, of having beenimplicated in, and penetrated by that lie, meant that even the entreaties by some blacks thathe was “the type of white” that they wanted and needed to stay, were insufficient to convincePaul of the possibility of redemption while remaining in South Africa. The stain of SouthAfrica was such that only a splitting off from the source of the stain itself held out hope forits erasure. Otherwise the privileged nature of his life--going to the movies, to university,having food on his plate--belied any words he might have said.If words spoken (and gestures made) in, and in regard to, South Africa could not betrusted, then one way for Paul to avoid implicating himself in the lie was to opt for silence(at least as concerns South Africa). Thus, for the first ten years of self-exile, Paul chose notto talk about his country except out of politeness when questioned. To talk about, to lookback to, South Africa would have been to have risked turning into a pillar of salt, to haverisked not only being immobilised, unable to move forward into the future away from thecorruption of his homeland, but also being dissolved back into a rising tide of painful (andsullying) memories.For Paul the language of deception was also the language of stories, like those he toldin Israel when trying to be an “objective story-teller” about South Africa. For the first tenyears of self-exile Paul did not tell stories. He spoke primarily the “safe” language of scienceand medicine. But if science helped him avoid speaking the lie (and about the lie) it createdanother untruth, that of self-denial. To re-enter his denied self he had to once again ventureinto the world of stories of the kind he loved to perform in Afrikaans as a child.But if he was to step back into a magical childhood realm he had to tread carefullylest it, once again, prove a deceitful and treacherous place. At first he approached that worldby reading the stories of others. His choice of stories is revealing. The writings of Herman156Charles Bosman and others like him reflect a time in South African history when “it was Jisnbeing an Afrikaner. . . .There was laughter, fun, and a lust for living” (van der Post, 1990).Unlike more recent Afrikaans writers such as Breytenbach (1984), Brink (1992), or Malan(1990) whose works are characterised by irony, cynicism, and embitterment at the worm inthe bud of the Afrikaner soul, Bosman’s more light-hearted stories evoke a land and a timevery much like the one Paul remembered, or imagined, his childhood to have been.These idealising, mythologising tales revived and nourished the dreams of Paul’sbroken past allowing him to recapture some of the lost purity and to mend, or bypass, therupture of exile. Having taken words in he could then begin to put them out, to express hisself. In his play (a performance of which I attended) he did this through an interweaving ofautobiography and mythology (both African and North American Native). Mythologyuniversalizes the particular (and vice-versa) linking the merely human to the transcendent.By mythologising his story Paul made meaning out of the humiliation, the loss of faith andof purity, of the wounding he has experienced.But just as myths can reveal hidden truths so they can deceive and obscure. Thedanger for Paul in myth-making was that he would recreate and repeat the lie he was tryingto undo. Just as Bosman’s stories idealise a South Africa that perhaps never really was,Paul’s childhood stories evoked a time and place that existed primarily in his shelteredchildhood imagination.However, unlike when he was a child, Paul’s stories were not merely a mouthing ofAfrikaner mythology. They included stories of his own awakening and disillusionment.Significantly they included tales of black heroism and martyrdom as exemplified by Mandela.To Paul, Mandela was a symbol of the restoration of purity to an impure world. He was theantithesis to the Afrikaans farmer and his wife. What they split, Mandela tried to heal.157Not coincidentally Paul’s breaking of his partial silence on South Africa wasparalleled by the unsilencing of Mandela. Released from life imprisonment (which in SouthAfrica, unlike in North America, literally means for the duration of the prisoner’s life)Mandela, like Jesus, was miraculously resurrected, given voice. Rather than speaking wordsof vengeance, seeking retribution, he was (and, as of this writing, continues to be)magnanimous, “Christ-like”. Mandela stands as a symbol, in extremis, of Paul himself.Mandela, wounded by his country, emerged triumphant, unembittered, unvengeful towardsall whites, Paul included. Paul, also wounded and betrayed by his country can only try toemulate this Christ-like behaviour.Also important to Paul has been the fact that Mandela’s release was an indication thatthose who perpetrated the lie (or at least some of them) were willing to acknowledge theirpart in the lie. De Klerk, on behalf of all whites, confessed to the “mistake” of apartheid.De Kierk aside, there were other words and events which allowed Paul to reclaim hisSouth African identity. A black Brazilian, himself perhaps the descendant of African slaves,gave Paul the words which helped him transform the story of Sidwell from one of brokentrust and rejection to one of shared trust and inclusion. Themba Tana, Paul’s unknown black“other” in South Africa, shared his story and a stage with Paul. Hannah wrote poems whichreflect the split which Paul experienced, indicating that his eldest child understood hiswound. The Fezeka High theatre, a place of story-telling that bore Paul’s last name remainedstanding, alone amongst the school buildings destroyed in the fire sparked by black angertowards whites.In tandem with this “inner journey” of reclamation of his South African past Paul alsorediscovered his Jewish identity. Paul was not only cut off from South Africa, but as anassimilated Jew had been “split off’ from an even older and deeper cultural heritage.158Although Paul could not find sanctity in Israel (which, to many Jews, is their “natural”homeland) because its militaristic policies replicated the lie that Paul was escaping he could,nonetheless, return to his Jewish roots. By joining the Jewish community in Vancouver Paulended his wanderings in a “spiritual wilderness” and began to heal the cultural wound ofexile passed down to him through his forebears.The final chapter in Paul’s healing journey remains to be written. He dreams of oneday returning to South Africa with his stories, the prodigal son making an offering of thestory of his life in exile. In imagining this return he sees himself as a “visitor” to SouthAfrica. Although a part of him “will die South African,” Canada has become “home” andhe will return to his birthplace only as a sojourner.When, or if, he returns, there is no guarantee that Paul’s “gift” will be welcomed ina post-apartheid South Africa. But it may be less important whether or not Paul ever actuallymakes it back to the place of his childhood to present his offering, and that it be accepted,than the fact that he can imagine doing so. By fantasizing a return in which he reciprocatesfor the gifts given him by South Africa (his magical childhood, the presents from FezekaHigh) he completes, if only in thought, the magical circle broken in childhood.Validation InterviewFollowing the narrative interviews, each of the co-researchers was presented with heror his case study account (the researcher’s rendering of the individual’s story) and asked toread the account to check for accuracy and to make any necessary corrections or desiredchanges. The co-researchers were also asked to give their reactions to reading their ownstories.Paul commented that he had “really enjoyed” reading the account and that he had no159major changes to make. He found reading his own story “very moving” an experienceenhanced by the fact that the narrative had been rewritten in the third person. Reading anaccount of his experiences written as if it was someone else’s story gave Paul a perspectiveon his experiences which he had not had before, allowing him to feel both part of the storyand separate from it.Claire commented that, in reading her story, she noticed that in recounting earlierexperiences (her years in South Africa) her terminology had been “more extreme” than whenshe had discussed more recent events, when her language seemed “more moderate”. She feltthat this discrepancy was reflective of the fact that, in the past, her thinking had been more“rigid”, and that her thoughts now on those same experiences is “not as extreme aspresented”. As a result, she made some changes to the account that toned down some of the-statements such that they reflected her present thoughts and feelings, rather than how she hadfelt when telling her story.Jane had a somewhat similar reaction to Claire but to an even greater degree. Shestated that she felt “uncomfortable” with the first part of her account (the time in SouthAfrica, London, and the Soviet Union) although she acknowledged that what I had writtenreflected what she had told me (as well as how she had expressed it). She particularly feltuncomfortable with the strength of her negative comments about the political movement ofwhich she had been a part. As a result, Jane made quite extensive alterations to the tone(and, to a lesser extent, to the content) of the description of the first half of her narrative,her time in South Africa, England, and the Soviet Union. The second half of the story,covering her time in Canada, she left virtually unchanged, saying that it reflected her actualexperiences very accurately.Thus, for both Jane and Claire, there had been a shift in perception between the160telling and the reading of their own stories. In initially recounting their experiences they hadfelt a greater intensity than when subsequently reading the account of those experiences. Itseemed as if the telling was closer to a re-enactment, while the reading was more of acritical assessment, of the experience of self-exile.It is noteworthy that, particularly in Jane’s case, the change in perspective betweentelling and reading, mirrored the process that all three co-researchers seemed to go throughin their actual self-exile, at first rejecting or negating aspects of their past (in order to makethe break from it) and later achieving an accommodation with that past as they re-integrateddisowned aspects of their selves into their current lives (See below, Chapter V,“Comparative Analysis”, for extensive discussion of this process).161CHAPTER VComparative AnalysisSo, we are to live by our own fictions and recognize them for what they are.Elsbree, The Rituals of Life.Put simply, a story is a series of events linked together in a progressive narrative.The way in which events are linked constitutes the story’s structure, while the meanings ofthe narrative events constitute the story’s themes. Structure, themes, and events are, thus,interdependent and a comprehensive narrative analysis must consider all three elements:narrative structure, themes of meaning, and events that move the story along.Narrative Structure: Self-Exile as a Rite of PassageAs with all stories, the story of self-exile has a beginning, middle, and end; uprootingis followed by the search for a new home and, eventually, by the putting down of roots ina new environment. This process, with its sequential, overlapping phases, resembles thestructure of a rite of passage which van Gennep (1965) saw as falling into three stages:separation, transition aiminality or marginality), and incorporation.In separation, one leaves (psychologically or physically) an established existence inwhich one has a definable place. In incorporation, one enters a new existence inwhich one has earned a place. As drama [or narrative], separation and incorporationconstitute the beginning and end. The transitional or liminal phase is the middle ormeans. (Cochran, 1990, p. 73)Strictly speaking exile itself is not a rite of passage, which is a “ceremon[y]accompanying an individual’s ‘life crisis”’ (van Gennep, 1965, p. vii). Rather, it is the storyof self-exile, the retelling of the events, which is equivalent to a rite. As one of the162participants, Claire, noted, telling her story was “like a ritual”.Story, however, mirrors (and orders) experience and both the actual experience ofself-exile and its telling follow the sequence and logic of a rite of passage, with itstransition from a lower state to a higher state. . . .The first part involves separation andconifict. One was firmly entrenched in a stable world.. .which is ruptured. [In] themiddle [or] transition.. . one wavers between two worlds. . . .Through ordeals andtortures, instruction and revelation, one is ceremonially destroyed and cast into hellto be reborn. . . .The basic logic of a rite of passage is that one must first be destroyedto be elevated to a higher level of existence. The two movements of the middle arecatastrophe and loss as the old world withers, and the endurance of hell as the newself incubates. .. .During a rite of passage. . . a person dies and is symbolically reborn.(Cochran, 1990, pp. 42-43)In self-exile, where a dominant theme is “home”, or a sense of place (home is lostor abandoned, then searched for and, finally, discovered or recovered), being “reborn” issynonymous with “finding (or coming) home” where home is both a physical place and asymbol of belonging. Home is more than an external structure or concept but rather anextension of self and vice versa:Home: it is a metaphysical principle and an ontological condition embodied in aplace: the location which affirms who I am, projects what I may be, and vindicateswhatever I have had to do to get there. (Elsbree, 1986, p. 39)Coming (or finding) home, then, means coming back to (or finding) one’s self.Since going into self-exile means both leaving, and searching for, home, there is botha linearity and a circularity to self-exile, a passage forward in and through space and timeas well as a circling back to the beginning. As a progression from separation to incorporation(dis-integration to re-integration, dissolution to resolution) self-exile constitutes a “quest-cyclein which the conclusion is the starting point renewed and transformed by the quest itself’163(Frye, 1990, p. 214).15The first stage, separation, begins with internalised exile (a sense of disentitlementand exclusion) followed by internal exile (increasing separation from community and family)through to actual departure from the homeland. The second phase, transition, includes themetabasis from homeland to adoptive land (including the time in transit before fmalsettlement) and the initial years in the new country. The third phase, incorporation, is thetime during which integration of, and by, the new culture (acculturation) occurs as well asincorporation (reintegration of the past with the present and future), in effect a symbolichomecoming in exile involving a sense of inclusion, connectedness, and putting down ofroots in the new environment.’6While events can be related in a progressive fashion, themes cannot. To the extentthat it is possible to do so themes are examined as they emerge from the events within thestructural framework of the rite of passage. However, the attempt to fit all events and themesinto three distinct phases, inevitably leads to some distortion. Processes of separation,15 As a metacycle or total quest myth, the self-exile story incorporates all four narrative(or dramatic) modes: tragedy (fall), comedy (spring), romance (summer), and irony (winter)(Cochran, 1990, following Frye). The first stage, separation, is dominated by the tragicmode in which the person “strives not in sunshine but under a growing shadow”. As theperson moves towards, and into, the second stage, transition, the ironic mode increasinglyemerges. In irony “effective action is difficult”. The third phase, incorporation, ischaracterised initially by comedy “filled with reconciliation, reintegrations [italics added],impending harmony” and eventually by romance, “the realization of design or making dreama reality” (all quotes from Cochran, p. 35).16 Like Frye, Elsbree (1982) also sees all stories as falling into particular categories.Although it is harder to delineate the circular progression of the self-exile narrative usingElsbree’s taxonomy, various phases of self-exile do correspond to one or more of his fiveclasses of story. The separation and transitional phases include fighting a battle, enduringsuffering, and taking a journey (not necessarily in that order), while the incorporation phaseis comprised of consecrating a home and pursuing consummation.164transition, and incorporation do not occur in neat, linear, stages. It may, therefore, be moreaccurate to talk of elements of separation, transition or incorporation which may occur atdifferent times for different people. By the end of her account, Jane, for example may beconsidered to still be in a transitional phase not fully settled in Canada. Nevertheless, someof her experiences were clearly of an incorporative nature. Paul, on the other hand,experienced only a short transitional period, finding it quite easy to adapt to his adoptivecountry, even as he underwent some of the experiences characteristic of transition.Regardless of its limitations, however, the rite of passage is, I believe, a useful model forunderstanding the experience of self-exile.Themes of Meaning and Narrative EventsThemes are abstract concepts derived from the meaning given to actual events.Therefore, themes of meaning and narrative events are, here discussed together.Separation. The dominant themes of the separation phase of self-exile are exclusionand personal deficiency. Subordinate themes are awakening, disillusionment, loss of trust,threats to the integrity of se/ commitment, disempowerment, conflict about leaving, andunfinished business.A superordinate theme of self-exile is exclusion or non-belonging; a sense ofseparateness not only gives rise to, but permeates the story of self-exile. Although the actof departure, by abruptly severing the individual from his context, ruptures his life and lifestory, it is only one event (albeit a pivotal one) in a tale of exclusion begun some time beforethe leave-taking proper and continuing for some time after.165Therefore, although cultural dislocation occasions discontinuity in life-story it also,conversely, represents continuity of narrative. And while the saga of non-belonging becomesthe self-exile’s own story, the elements which go to make it up are already present in theenvironment prior to her being aware of them, forming the context from which her personaltext (her identity) is derived and in which it is constructed.The protagonist thus steps into an already scripted narrative of exclusion. In fact,these elements may not only precede his awareness of them but may even antedate his ownlife. (This is not an argument for environmental determinism, but rather an acknowledgementof contextual influence.) Paul’s conviction, despite his deep attachment to South Africa, thatit was not his country and that, therefore, he had to leave was embedded in, and arose outof, a legacy of deracination passed down in his family through generations of enforceddislocation. Likewise, Claire’s certainty, extending as “far back as she can remember,” thatshe would not stay in South Africa, was a by-product of her mother’s dissociation from aninferior colonial culture.A sense of otherness and disconnectedness from community and country constitutesa form of internalised exile as the person comes to feel that she does not truly belong (as didClaire) or that he has no real right to that place (as did Paul). Regardless of whether thesense of exclusion is primarily self-chosen (as it was by Claire’s mother) or societally-imposed (as it historically has been for the Jews) and even if the individual is unaware of thislegacy and its effects it can, nevertheless, sew the seeds of eventual self-exile.For the self-exile, an inherited sense of separateness from the society in which shehas grown up is not the only possible source of exclusion. Feelings of non-belonging canoriginate closer to home, within the self-exile’s own family. As a result of maternal rejectionand family dysfunction Jane felt that she did not belong to or in her family-of origin.166Similarly, for Claire, her mother’s dislike for her and her parents’ “craziness” helped impelher from home.Clearly not every instance of familial rejection or dysfunction results in self-exile,although it may be a contributing, even prime, factor (especially where such experiences arereinforced by, and interact with, other experiences of exclusion and disentitlement). Claireleft South Africa, in large part, because of needing to get away from family in order to “findherself”. Jane’s leaving was an outcome of events precipitated by her involvement with apolitical group that represented, in part, the family she lacked (as well as a legitimate meansof social activism).But feelings of cultural and/or familial exclusion, however strong, need not on theirown (or even primarily) predicate self-exile. Equally, despair over social and politicalconditions (pervasive injustice, endemic repression) and a felt inability to change theseconditions need not necessarily cause people to leave their country. For Jane, Paul, andClaire, it was a combination of factors--personal and political--that culminated in self-exile.To the extent that social or psychological forces can affect a person without his beingaware of their influence he is a passive character in his own unfolding drama. It is byawakening (at least to some extent) to these forces, both internal and external, that theindividual becomes an active participant in his own story, not simply a protagonist but alsoauthor (or co-author) of that story.For the white, liberal South African, awakening is the moment of “rebirth” or “birthinto. . . second consciousness. . . . essentially the discovery of the lie. The great South Africanlie” (Gordimer, 1983, p. 119). (Note, here, how precisely Gordimer’s language mirrors, orrather prefigures, Paul’s own description of his awareness of the “lie”.)For all three co-researchers this awakening, unsurprisingly, occurred during167adolescence or early adulthood, the period (in Western culture) that marks the onset ofidentity formation. At this point, however, awareness is focused more on the socio-politicalsituation and the person’s part in maintaining or/and opposing it than on personal factors.Thus Claire experienced the effects of shame, Jane lacked a sense of self, but neither wasaware of exactly what it was they were experiencing, or why. Paul had a sense of a split butdid not fully understand its cause or its nature. (For the self-exile, conscious awareness andunderstanding of the personal, psychological factors involved in self-exile comes later,mostly during the incorporation phase, when distance and life-experience allow for insightthat is lacking when the person is still in the thick of events.)Awakening brings with it a sense of disillusionment, even betrayal, and a concomitantloss of faith and trust. For the co-researchers what formerly seemed true was revealed as alie or hypocrisy, what was trustworthy became discredited, what was seen as positive becamenegative, what had previously seemed neutral was now perceived as callousindifference. Disillusionment seemed to occur regardless of whether the awakening was sharpand painful as it was for Paul in his encounters with the two-faced farmer and with Sidwell,or more gradual as with Claire’s dawning awareness of her parent’s hypocritical attitudetowards blacks. Claire’s experience was, in may ways, typical of that of the young, whiteSouth African growing up in a liberal family:The sensitive child listening to such [political] discussions may well have beenconfused by his parents’ liberal pronouncements, given the second class status of thewell-loved maid or gardener. Confusion often turned to confrontation as the growingadolescent challenged adult acquiescence in ‘the system’. (Frankental & Sham, 1986,p. 213)Feelings of disillusionment and betrayal may arise even (or especially) where a basisof trust is lacking or limited. Despite Jane’s fractured, tenuous relationship with her parents,she experienced their refusal to assist her with her studies (when she could not re-enter art168school) as a betrayal. To Jane, this failure of support paralleled and underscored the state’sexclusionary behaviour. Jane’s inability to fully accept her parents’ lack of assistance wasdemonstrated by the fact that many years later, as a visitor from Canada, she still sought hermother’s help (yet again refused) to attend art school in Johannesburg.The absence or loss of trust, of a just(fied trust (Baler, 1994) in those around one(family and/or community) may render the world unsafe and untrustworthy and occasion awithdrawal or split from that world. This may create (or further) the sense of internal exile,a severing from one’s established community (and possibly family) even while ingeographical proximity to them. Thus, alienated from, and unsupported by her family, Janewas driven further into politics, although this was not entirely a reactive response. While,in Jane’s case, distance from family and community resulted in her joining an alternativecommunity (the CP), Claire, who mistrusted not only the politics of her parents and of thecommunity in which she had grown up, but also the political alternatives that she saw aroundher, retreated into a protective, but isolating, elitism.In all three of the stories told here awakening prompted, or at least coincided with,a temporary leave-taking from South Africa that was part of the search for self. Thesejourneys, foreshadowing later permanent self-exile, constituted minor rites of passage withinthe larger self-exile narratives.In some traditional societies a journey is prescribed for individuals undergoingtransition between social roles (Turner, 1967). Temporary absence makes manifest the factthat such individuals, lacking clear societal roles, are structurally invisible within theircommunities, “at once no longer classified and not yet classified” (p. 96). The period ofabsence is intended as a defining as well as a sacralizing time (van Gennep, 1965) so thatthe travellers return from their journey with their powers potentially enhanced, their vision169clarified, their paths clearer.Each of the people in this study journeyed to and from what was, in effect, her orhis cultural motherland--Claire and Jane to England, Paul to Israel. Although “mother”potentially represents a source of refuge and nurturing, for these three people motherlandproved to be a place of limited, or false sanctuary, widening the breach that had originatedat home.For Paul, Israel was the site where his “white cocoon” cracked open, where he wasconfronted by the contradictions in his country (both South Africa and Israel) as well as inhimself. For Jane it was the place where her first marriage ended, an event which replicateda pattern of family disintegration. Upon her return she was shut out from the one place (artschool) where, in contrast to the rest of her life, she was doing something “totally forherself”. Claire, despite her intention to make England a permanent home, was unable tosustain a life there and felt compelled to return to South Africa. In England her casualcontact with politics (a member of the IRA) created problems for her when she came backto South Africa.The time away was, thus, a time of transition enhancing the dissolution of childhoodwith its relative safety, innocence and ignorance, and marking the entry into the disillusionedand disillusioning world of adulthood. As such it was a time of clarification. Upon returningto the home country the path of each of participants was, in some ways, clearer. Claire feltreconfirmed in her decision to leave. Paul recognised the need to make a commitment which,for him, meant leaving South Africa since remaining in that country was, to him,incompatible with remaining whole. For Jane, her return from England heralded the onsetof her deepening political involvement.A questioning of the world also evokes doubts about the self, about one’s place in that170world. The pressure of awareness may force formerly hidden fault-lines into the open so thatthe person experiences a split in the self, a threat to the self. Threats to the integrity of theseVare tied into a recognition of personal moral accountability. Whereas ignorance shieldedthe white South African child from knowing complicity in an oppressive system, knowledgeremoved the defense of innocence. For the co-researchers awareness brought with it theburden of responsibility which, in turn, created the demand for commitment.Whether or not such pressure to commit may be experienced as a crisis is, in part,dependent upon whether, and to what extent, the individual feels ambivalent about becomingpolitically or social active. For Jane, for whom the most desired life options had been closedoff, the decision to embrace and be embraced by the CP seemed, at the time, relativelyunproblematic, even desirable. Likewise, Paul found it easy to throw himself into workingfor Fezeka High, doing so with a “fierce energy”. Claire, on the other hand, caughtbetween her desire to see change and her doubts and fears about such change, felt anambivalence that deepened her shame, guilt, and powerlessness.Given the historically overwhelming power of the state and the endemicdiscrimination in South Africa, powerlessness was felt by many to be a condition of life inthat country. Attempts at change were (until recently) largely doomed to either failure oronly very limited success. Claire, thus, saw her attempts at creating a haven of equality forGloria perverted when the black woman moved on to other, less liberal, employers. Paul feltdeeply the inadequacy of his gesture towards Fezeka, that it was insufficient to restore eithermoral balance to society or purity to himself. Jane, through incarceration, banning, andenforced dependency on her jailers and her family, was most effectively rendered powerless.Despite Jane’s claim that she “was not really tortured”, deprivation and interrogation of thekind that she experienced is, indeed, considered by some researchers (Allodi & Stiasny,1711990) to constitute torture. In fact,a South African survey of detained and tortured persons indicated that, although menwere more often physically tortured, women experienced more frequent psychologicaltorture, and had more of a wide range of psychosomatic and psychological problems,both during detention and after release. (p. 144)Thwarted personal and political effectiveness can give rise to feelings of futility,disempowerment, even hopelessness that then create, or add to, feelings of personaldeficiency (which, along with exclusion, is a dominant theme in both the separation andtransition phases of self-exile). Inherited and internalised feelings about exclusion anddisentitlement, experiences of disempowerment, loss of faith and integrity, guilt, shame: allor any of these may contribute to a sense of personal inadequacy and deficiency in the self-exile. For Paul, the sense of personal deficiency arose from his feeling impure, lackingwholeness and integrity, having been tainted by the pervasive corruption of his environment.Jane’s feelings of deficiency derived from, amongst other things, rejection and a lack ofidentity while, for Claire, deficiency was associated with shame and guilt, feelings intensifiedby her failure to act, her “lack of courage”.Feelings of personal insufficiency may increase isolation and marginality. Claire,believing that friends and family did not share her experience, retreated into elitism as aresponse to her sense of otherness. She had to look forward and outward to friends who hadalready left to find what limited support she could. Paul and his wife felt increasingly cut offfrom friends and family and drew closer together as they prepared to leave. Jane felt judgedby, and thus separated from, those in her community who saw her as abandoning thestruggle.The desire to leave a troubled situation (regardless of the legitimacy of doing so) maycreate feelings of conflict and ambivalence. Although all three co-researchers believed that172they had no choice but to leave South Africa they also felt deeply conflicted about going(Claire because she thought that should stay and help, Paul because he would have liked tohave tried to create a new South Africa, Jane because there were others in equally difficultcircumstances who made the choice to stay).In a sense, when she left South Africa, Jane was not going into self-exile, Englandbeing a continuation for her of South Africa. It was when she departed England for Canadaand chose to leave the South African community there, that her self-exile began. But inquitting England, too, and again despite her certainty that she had to go, she felt deeplyconflicted and guilty. To cope with such feelings Jane felt that she had to leave in a way thatallowed her to retain a modicum of “respectability”, both in her own eyes and in those ofpeople in the political movement of which she was a part. Leaving to get married, especiallyto someone in the CP, legitimated her leave-taking.Self-exile involves change in life circumstance. But “changes of condition do notoccur without disturbing the life of society and the individual, and it is the function of ritesof passage to reduce their harmful effects” (van Gennep, 1965, p. 13). That is, the way inwhich departure occurs influences subsequent experience (for the person leaving as well asfor the communities she is exiting and entering).Neither Claire, who felt very isolated, nor Jane who was isolated, underwent any kindof ritual or ceremonial leave-taking. The difficult nature of their circumstances, their deeplyconfficted feelings about leaving, Claire’s shame and guilt, Jane’s guilt, meant that each ofthem left, in effect, without the blessings of those they were leaving behind. This left manyunresolved issues that followed them into self-exile.Paul, too, left with unfinished business, but his involvement with Fezeka High andthe symbolic acts of farewell, (the gift-giving, the ceremony at the school, the naming of the173school theatre after his daughter) constituted rites that eased his departure. The book of tribalcostumes which Paul took with him, could act as a physical and symbolic reminder of hisconnection to his home country, a talisman that protected his attachment to home. Throughthe ceremony at Fezeka, Paul received the blessing of those he was leaving in a way thatneither Claire nor Jane did.Transition. For the self-exile, leaving the home country (or, as in Jane’s case, anextension of that country) marks the shift from the separation to the transition phase. Thereis, however, no clear demarcation between the two stages and the process of transitionbegins even as separation continues. Thus, the superordinate themes that occur in separation,exclusion and personal deficiency, are also characteristic of the transitional phase of self-exile as are some lesser themes such as disempowerment and ambivalence. In addition, twonew themes emerge: identity instability and identity denial.As implied by the term, self-exile, at least initially, is more a moving away from thana moving towards. It is a move away from a devaluing and devalued environment. In orderto facilitate the process of leaving, the negative aspects of home are emphasized. At the pointat which she or he left, each of the self-exiles intensely disliked or felt alienated from theenvironment that was being quit: Claire hated Johannesburg, Jane hated the sexism andracism of the movement, and Paul felt that South Africa was built on a lie.Because, for the self-exile, the situation being escaped impels more than the sanctuarypromised pulls, the eventual place of exile is seen less in terms of what it is than what it isnot, e.g. not the source of shame and disempowerment (Claire), of impurity and betrayal(Paul), of dependency, conformity, and lack of self (Jane). The person going into self-exile,to some extent goes blindly. Paul did not know where he was going to live only that it could174not be South Africa (or Israel). Claire knew that she was going to Canada but not where inCanada, nor how she would live nor what she would do once she got there. Her romantic,valorizing notions of Canada based on her friends recommendations, ill prepared her for theshock of relocating. Jane only came to Vancouver after some delay. Vancouver and hermarriage to Michael were straws to which she clung (tenuously, ambivalently) to prevent herfrom falling back into the despair of life in London.Because self (text) is interwoven with place (context), uprooting threatens theindividual’s sense of self. The transitional period is a time of identity instability as the self-exile wavers between two worlds. Unfamiliarity with the new environment, lack ofpreparedness for change, absence of supports (material, psychological, emotional, spiritual),unresolved issues from the past, all influence the degree of instability (culture shock, self-shock, personal invalidation) experienced.Of the three participants in this study, Jane underwent the most traumatic experienceof dislocation, an experience prolonged and exacerbated by its being a triple dislocation:first, imprisonment and banning, second, exile to England, third, self-exile to Canada.Despite the large South African political community in London, for Jane, the lingeringeffects of incarceration, the unfamiliarity of London, the constraints and uncertainty of lifein the CP, and her lack of identity outside of that provided by politics, meant that life therewas little more than a “floating existence”. When she emerged from this exile it was into yetanother unfamiliar environment, a violent marriage, and with still little sense of self outsideof her constricting political identity.For Claire too, dislocation caused stress and identity disruption. Wanting, but beingunable to “nest” with her newborn, stranded amongst people whose behaviour sometimesseemed strange, even hostile, she lacked a sense of stability, of purpose, of identity outside175of that of wife and mother, an identity which she experienced as a devalued one. While herhusband offered some degree of support he also embodied elements of a patriarchal SouthAfrican culture which Claire felt diminished by. As a result of these stressors she wentthrough a depression.Of the three, Paul experienced the least disruption. Despite his not knowing wherehe would end up, many of his supports stayed in place across the transition process. He andhis wife, Sarah, formed a very tight unit. Paul had a career, contacts, funds which meantthat his landing in Canada was cushioned. To the extent that Paul seemed to undergo cultureshock it was primarily a positive experience, of the nature proposed by Adler (1978), in hisalternative view of culture shock as a source of opportunity and growth. (Jane and Claire,on the other hand, would have to wait for some time to experience the benefits of culturaldislocation.) To some extent, Paul’s transition phase was muted, limited.While the difficulty each of the self-exiles experienced in adapting to the new culturediffered, all three underwent a similar process of identity denial. For a period followingdeparture (Claire and Paul from South Africa, Jane from her political community) eachnegated his or her cultural identity.17 Both Paul and Claire felt that they lacked the energyto talk about, to evoke their South African past. Paul only answered questions on SouthAfrica when asked and did not seek out a South African community even though he felt acertain comfort and affinity with other South Africans whom he happened to meet. He foundsecurity in the world of science and medicine, and was unable, or unwilling, to tell storiesabout South Africa. Claire, largely avoided contact with other South Africans and found that17 use the term “cultural” here in its broad sense to denote more than just national orethnic heritage. While Paul and Claire downplayed their South Africanness, Jane negated herpolitical identity, the world of political activism being, for her, the culture in which she hadlived.176she could not write stories about South Africa even though she felt freed from the “grip ofsuppression” which had blocked her from writing while living there. Similarly, for Jane,after withdrawing from political activity, her whole being went “on strike” to the extent thatshe was unable to read the newspapers which, formerly, had been her life-blood.Lack of energy, (of interest, of motivation) may, however, be not the cause, but theeffect of self-negation, masking underlying feelings of which the self-exile is unaware andthat are difficult to confront. (They are difficult to confront partly because the person isunaware of them, and the person remains unaware of them, in part, because they are difficultto confront). Paul asserted that talking about the past was too painful. This was the pain ofhis “silent love” for South Africa. For Claire, unacknowledged shame caused her to denyher cultural heritage.The spectre of these unacknowledged and, hence, unincorporated elements from theperson’s narrative, threaten the self-exile’s attempts to create a new self, a new personalstory unblemished by the negating elements he is escaping. The past is discrediting and somust be abandoned, cut loose. The impulse to erase the old self is, perhaps typical of theexile, maybe especially so of those, like white South Africans, who wish (or wished) notonly to undo their own past selves but to erase the past of the country in which those selveswere created and which continued to cast its pall over their lives. James Wood (1994)captures this desire, and its essential unattainability, when he writes of one of South Africa’smost famous (or notorious) exiles, the Afrikaner poet Breyten Breytenbach, that,the political South Africa he longs for is [a] forlorn impossibility, a place burned freeof history and time and memory; a place like the endlessly renewing self, waking upeach day to make itself anew. (p. 28)It is this impossibility of a self (even an endlessly renewing self) burned free ofhistory which the self-exile confronts, for even a decontextualized identity carries the traces177of its abandoned context. Breytenbach (1993) himself recognises the limits of his ownlonging for self- erasure when he writes “We cannot run away from the past--indeed, ourpast is the actual running” (p. 147). Physical separation alone cannot eradicate the hold ofan unwanted psychological legacy.Nonetheless, the desire and attempt to avoid and evade one’s past is strong for theself-exile and may be an essential part of the transition process, part of the necessarydisintegration of the old self-narrative preceding reintegration into a reconstructed life-storyin the incorporation phase. Identity negation is a product of the sense of personal deficiencyeach of the self-exiles carries with himself, and which he is trying to overcome. Like Paul,whose turning away from his past was an attempt at cleansing, at making himself wholeagain, the need to be made whole is a common feature of all three stories collected here.Although the struggle to come to terms with the past may be experienced largely asan internal struggle, it takes place in relation to external events. A text is not only sustainedby a context but, in turn, perpetuates that context (Cochran, 1990). The self-exile may bringwith her, or recreate in the adoptive country, some of the very conditions which she is tryingto escape. She may also remain particularly sensitized to those things in the surroundings thatremind her of past experiences. The negative attributes she wishes to be rid of may bereflected back by people and events around her, reinforcing already internalised self-negatingmessages and, thus, making psychological movement difficult.Claire, for instance, felt caught by the judgements of others, judgements with whichshe concurred. She found it easy to agree with her friend who saw all South Africans asarrogant. When her husband recounted to her the sexist and racist jokes which he had heardat the “Lunch Club” Claire’s negative impression of South Africans, of whom she was one,was further confirmed. Jane, too, felt trapped by the anticipated (or feared) actions of former178allies. One reason she was wary of leaving Michael was because she imagined Michael’sfather to be a more powerful influence in the CP than he, perhaps, was, with the power(similar to that of the old CP patriarchs with whom she had worked) to excommunicate herfrom the party, not only in Canada, but worldwide.The difficulty for the self-exile in evading those things that evoke invalidating aspectsof the past is made more difficult by the fact that those same features may also have been,and still be, a source of some validation, especially in exile. For instance, as much as Clairewished to escape South Africa (the place and its people), once in Canada she missed someaspects of her abandoned homeland: the physical beauty, the commitment of the politicians(even those with whom she disagreed), the inspiration to write (even as she felt blocked fromdoing so). The self-exile’s feelings may thus be characterised by ambivalence. Underlyingthe desire to separate from the past may be an unexpressed pull towards that which has beenleft, an undertow that needs to be acknowledged before incorporation can occur.The need to deny and escape invalidating aspects of one’s self-narrative can createand/or increase feelings of exclusion, isolation, and liminality. Marginality is most acute forthose who are not only severed from these, still active, ghosts from the past, but whoexperience difficulty moving into the present. Paul, for reasons already noted (familysupport, a ready made adoptive community, the mentorship of the professor, a ceremonialleave-talcing from South Africa, relatively little apparent shame or guilt about the past) wasmore able to connect with his new culture. Nonetheless, he still felt that he was not wellunderstood by Canadians who could not grasp the context from which he had come. Hisinability, at that stage, to communicate that context, maintained his sense of feelingmisunderstood.Neither Jane nor Claire, on the other hand, found it easy to connect with Canadians.179Encounters with people in Canada often created any or all of feelings of humilation, mistrust,discomfort, alienation, and being judged. Claire felt that she belonged neither to theCanadian nor South African community. She devalued both cultures, their politics, theircommunities. She made a half-hearted attempt to get involved politically with South Africansbut did not follow through. For Claire, her sense of deficiency arising from her shame-filledfamily history and her invalidation as a woman and a white South African, compounded, andwere compounded by, her lack of integration in the new culture.Jane, unlike Claire, was secure in her South African identity, having clearlyestablished a sense of herself as oppositional to the white regime. She felt that she had paidher dues, lived just like the blacks had in exile and felt no shame about her SouthAfricanness. She did, however, feel guilt at abandoning the cause. She also felt a sense ofotherness in regard to Canadian culture and, increasingly, to her former political family. Herbehaviour at university distanced her from others and perpetuated her isolation. Hersituation, like that of Claire, was a difficult one. As a single mother, having escaped anabusive marriage, struggling to work and study, cut off from her community, she had littlesupport.Lack of community can intensify feelings of powerlessness, futility, andpurposelessness and thus add to the sense of personal deficiency. Claire felt depressed,robbed of her voice, silenced. Jane, feeling trapped, unable to move back or forward,maintained a certainty that she would leave even as she made no move to do so. Paulremained split. He adapted successfully to the new environment but did so at the cost ofavoiding a painful, but meaningful. He also felt that he was in a spiritual wilderness. In fact,during transition, all three self-exiles were in a kind of wilderness. Wanting not to look (andget drawn) back into aspects of the past they, sometimes, lost their bearing.180However, for all that the transition phase may predominantly be one of struggle(catastrophe and loss), there may also be moments, indicators of progress as the self-exilemoves towards incorporation. In being in suspension, in limbo, the self-exile oscillatesbetween being held by the past and moving into the future.For the three individuals in this study, this wavering between past and future foundexpression in the visits to South Africa which each of them took during this period. Liketheir earlier, temporary, travels away from South Africa, the journeys from Canada back toSouth Africa represented minor rites of passage, acting as agents, or foci, of change, as wellas re-enactments, or evocations of past events. Visiting their country of origin each wasreminded of what they had left and was made aware of what had been lost, what hadchanged, what had been gained. This was both a disconcerting and confirming experience.Upon returning to South Africa for the first time since leaving, Claire again feltashamed and silenced. She also, however, experienced a sense of movement. By observingthe differences between herself and other women in South Africa she could recognize andmeasure how much she had changed. Her meetings with her “real” friends validated not onlywho she had become but allowed her to see parts of her past in a more positive light, lettingher know that she had not been completely “screwed up” when she lived in South Africa.Her meeting with Gloria, to some extent, released her from past shame and guilt. Thecumulative effect of these events was that, upon arriving back in Canada, Claire felt that shewas coining home. Such events were of an incorporative nature and representative of amovement from the transition towards the incorporation phase.For Paul, return to South Africa revealed to him how easy it was to slip back intothe lie. This experience helped confirm the rightness of his decision to leave. There wasalmost a deja-vu like quality to Paul’s return as he donned his old, familiar, but181disconcerting attitudes and behaviours, feelings reinforced by encounters with acquaintanceswho were unaware that he had even left. There was, however, also a reiteration of the senseof loss as each of his farewells from old friends was experienced as a mini-death.For Jane, the trip back was more difficult, the pull to return still intensely felt. Thedifferences between Jane’s experience and that of Claire and Paul, speak to the differencesin how and why each left. For the latter two the sense of, and desire for, separation wasstrongly felt and clearly articulated. Claire had known from when she was very young thatshe would leave. Paul came to believe that South Africa belonged to the blacks, not to whiteslike him. Jane shared no such certainty. She, much more evidently than the other two, wasforced out from her homeland, the conditions there such that for her to remain was virtuallyimpossible. Her subsequent self-exile to Canada may not have occurred had the initial exilefrom South Africa not taken place.Jane, doubly rejected--by mother and by country--was influenced much more stronglythan were either of the other two, by the bonds of rejection (Sennett, 1980),the way a person continues to be determined by forces or people who haveconsciously been thrown off. The structures underlying the emotions need not changejust because the emotions now bear a minus sign before them: minus-love can be asprofoundly shaping as love--more so, if it happens that what is denied persists, whilewhat is acknowledged dies with its day. (Mars-Jones, 1994, p. 15)Jane, on returning to South Africa was filled with a certainty that she would remainthere. Driven by a desire to complete what remained unfinished, she attempted to recreatethe past by returning to art school (and, in similar fashion as before, with her mother’sassistance). At the same time however, Jane did experience a shift in her perceptions thatallowed her to move forward, to let go, to some extent, of her fierce attachment to SouthAfrica. In comparison to Canadians, South Africans had begun to seem uncivilised andaggressive, while the violence in South Africa felt terrifying, factors that diminished that182country’s attractiveness to her.Incorporation. In the incorporation phase the self-exile emerges from the difficultiesof transition and begins to experience a sense of reintegration and to realize hoped-foreventualities. If separation represents the incompletion phase of a life story, the birth ofyearning, incorporation is the completion of that story, the fulfilment (or beginning offulfilment) of the (possibly unconscious) desires sought after at the start.Incorporation, thus forms the opposite pole to the separation phase. In contrast to theexclusion, personal deficiency, disempowerment, identity instability and denial that occur inthe separation and transition phases, the incorporation phase is marked by inclusion andbelonging, increased seif-worth and empowerment, a sense of renewal, integration, andidentity acceptance. There are also other themes--symbolic transformation, reawakening,making sense of the past, and cultural linkage--which emerge during incorporation. Theselast are, perhaps, less themes of meaning than processes by which the incorporation takesplace.Not only do themes alter across the stages but narrative movement and direction alsodiffer in each phase of self-exile. Where psychological movement in the separation phase isprimarily uni-directional, an egress from homeland and the past, and the transitional phaseinvolves a wavering between the old and new worlds, incorporation is marked by apurposeful bi-directionalism as the self-exile creates an identity in the new context and, atthe same time, re-incorporates formerly severed or hidden elements of self, constructing anarrative that bridges the gap between past and present.As Rushdie (1991) notes, one of the potential benefits of dislocation is “stereoscopic183vision. . . . a kind of double perspective because they, we, are at one and the same timeinsiders and outsiders in society” (p. 19). This, broadened, dual perspective, however, canonly come fully into play when the past as well as the present and future are open to view.It cannot occur with the cyclops-like, uni-directional focus of the separation and transitionphases, during which the self-exiled person, to facilitate his exit, either turns away from hispast (Paul and Claire from South Africa, Jane from the CP) or, alternately, maintains anostalgic fixation (Zwingmann, 1989) on that past (Jane in regard to South Africa).Alternating back and forth creates a kind of split or double-bind in which the self-exilesimultaneously tries to separate from, and reconnect with, the past.However, before the self-exile can reopen her narrative to a blocked past, she needsto feel that she has begun to establish a secure identity, begun to anchor that self, in thepresent. By beginning to attain a stable sense of self in the new country, the self-exile feelsless threatened by former, potentially negating elements of a past self.So, although the two processes (incorporation of, and in, the new culture and reincorporation of the past) seem to occur simultaneously, in fact, the first period ofincorporation requires acts which create a sense of inclusion in the new culture.Incorporation began for Claire when she left the isolation of suburban motherhood to attenduniversity where she found a supportive, validating, environment amongst like-minded peoplewith whom she could “resonate”. When Jane left a violent, isolating marriage she started tomake a life of her own in Canada, attending university and becoming a teacher. Paul’sincorporation, in some ways began immediately upon arrival in Canada, facilitated by hisjoining the academic community.Co-incidentally (or perhaps not, given that white, South African self-exiles tended tobe middle-class and educated) university played a significant role in the incorporation process184for all three participants in this study. Departure (or events leading up to departure)interrupted these studies. Jane’s self-exile saga began at the point where she was denied entryinto art school. Claire and Paul both left South Africa having completed degrees (a BA andMA respectively) but not their academic careers.For Claire, and Paul, university provided a place of growth and community, a senseof continuity in their interrupted lives. For Jane, who alienated, and felt alienated from,some of her fellow students, university gave her a sense of personal growth and competence,but not of belonging; it neither helped her connect her with other people nor reconnected herto the past.Steps taken towards inclusion establish a supportive environment in which anintegrated life-story can be constructed. But such acts are more than mere stage-setting,themselves constituting part of the restorying process. (As Jane noted, going back to schooland becoming a teacher were enormously significant steps for her.) These acts are, however,stage-setting to the extent that they provide the context in which the self-exile undergoes anepiphany, a significant event (or series of events) that creates a kind of symbolictransfonnation in which the past is opened for review and reintegration into the life story.Just as separation involves an act of awakening, so incorporation entails reawakening.What was blocked is allowed in, although in an altered form, and becomes part of theperson’s new identity. Claire, hearing the professor’s remarks on cultural shame, was madeaware of her own shame and how it had impacted on her life. Paul’s encounter with theBrazilian helped him to transform the story of Sidwell’s gesture from an exclusionary,demeaning, one to one of inclusion and empowerment, while his meeting on the stage withThemba Tana, the black drummer from Nyanga, facilitated his reconnecting with acommunity that he had not only left, but from which he was excluded as a child. Through185her involvement in the life and death of Rob, the Cree boyfriend of her daughter, Jane feltthat she was granted the gift of life or, at least, of life in Canada.Such transformative experiences are part of the process of identity acceptance as theself-exile creates a personal narrative incorporating previously disowned aspects of the past.The actual events, and their subsequent telling and retelling allow the exile to restructure themeaning of the past. Experiences of loss, shame, humiliation, grief, become, instead,elements in a story of recovery, self-worth, hope. Thus, Jane’s story of Rob became a meansfor her of re-authoring her painful separation from South Africa, from her family, and fromthe political community. It helped her, to some extent, to make sense of, and come to termswith, those experiences. Claire’s encounter with Gloria and the “black guy” on the bicycleassisted her in undoing some of the shame and guilt she had felt.While the transformation involved in such epiphanic moments is experiencedinternally it is mediated through external events. Even events that are not geographicallyproximal exert their influence. Because the self-exile continues to feel a part of his countryof origin (Paul commented that a part of him would forever be South African) incidents inthat country, although physically distant, help precipitate or facilitate personal change.Events taking place in her homeland influence the self-exile because the personal textwhich she carries with her, that is her, remains informed by the context in which it wascreated, even if at one remove. Paul’s woundedness, Claire’s shame, persisted despite thechanges they had made in their lives, in part because the source of those feelings remainedextant. The continued existence of apartheid influenced how Claire, Jane, and Paul felt aboutthemselves. Once those conditions began to change, the selves forged in those circumstancealso began to change.This is not to say that personal transformation for the self-exile cannot occur in the186absence of change in his native homeland, only that change is facilitated by events takingplace in the environment in which that self was created and to which the person remainsattached. Both the self-exile himself, and others around him still tend to identify him withhis country of origin. Once South Africa’s story was altered, the story of individual SouthAfricans, even those who had departed, also changed. They began to be seen, and could seethemselves, differently. Perceived before as pariahs, perhaps as essentially irredeemable,following the election they were viewed more positively, as being capable of, and willingto, change.The release of Mandela, the statements of de Kierk, helped heal Paul’s wound,undoing the lie by which he had felt compromised. Progress in South Africa meant thatClaire felt less ashamed and could even take delight in that country. For Jane, politicalmovement in South Africa (and changes in herself) increased her desire to go back not onlybecause she was legally allowed to return, but because she could now see a way to be therewithout giving up on her newfound self. She could imagine being in South Africa andparticipating in social change without having to belong to any political movement. (This, infact created a dilemma for Jane and exacerbated her ambivalence about remaining in Canada,since it opened up the possibility of return in a way that had not existed before for her.Hence, at the end of her narrative, Jane still felt torn between South Africa and Canada, thatwhatever choice she made involved loss.)The process of narrative transformation, of incorporation is assisted by guides ormentors, characters in the story who facilitate change. In fact, at each stage of the self-exilestory, there are figures, both symbolic and/or real, who act to either help or hinder the selfexile’s progress. Regardless of where their presence actually occurs in the story, however,these characters are actively invoked or re-invoked in the incorporation phase, integrated as187characters in the self-exile’s personal story. For Claire, Dons Lessing served as a heroine,an ideal figure, who had succeeded as a writer and as a person in exile. Lessing stood inopposition to van der Post who represented the shame and denial which Claire wished toeschew. Also for Claire, the black man on the bicycle was a symbol of acceptance.Jane, in recalling her exit from London and life in exile remembered the two men inthe ANC who spoke out against conformity and obeisance, the one saying that he would notremain in the ANC if it meant having to go back to South Africa, the other telling Jane thatshe could not make a life simply by following someone else. Both of these figuresrepresented alternative voices to those--the prison wardresses, the CP leaders, Michael,Michael’s father--who, Claire felt, had hurt or held her back. Even though, at the time, Janedid not heed the advice or follow the example of these two men, in retrospect they servedas inspirational figures, as individuals who, unlike Claire, knew their minds and were willingto risk expressing them; they served to confirm Jane’s newfound sense of autonomy. ForPaul, Themba Tana, the people of Fezeka, de Kierk, Mandela, Sidwell, were all evoked inthe telling of his story of self-exile, brought in as fellow travellers in creating a self-exilenarrative.Amongst the figures who may play a pivotal roles in the self-exile drama, perhapsnone are more important than the self-exile’s own family. For the three co-researchers(especially for Jane and Claire) parents played a significant part in their decision to leaveSouth Africa. Although children may also have been important to this decision (Claire’surgency about leaving was increased by thoughts of the danger to her children of living inSouth Africa, Paul did not want his daughter to live the lie of that country) it was in thetransition and incorporation phases that the role of children became increasingly significant.Because relationships with children are reciprocal in nature, it is both in what the188parents can give to their children and what the children can give to the parents that they maybe important in the self-exile’s life. What they give to their parents is a rootedness in thenew culture, a sense of belonging in the new country. Thus, once Jane had a child, she nolonger needed to hold onto Michael to justify her remaining in Canada. Children alsorepresent continuity. They present a challenge to the self-exile in regard to the legacy shewill pass on. Paul wanted to communicate to his children the context from which he hadcome so that they could better understand him and, thus, themselves. The fear, for Claire,of passing on her shame to her children was part of the impetus for her to confront thatshame.In confronting, and overcoming, the obstacles that prevent him from communicatinghis past, the self-exile feels increasingly empowered. Where the early parts of the self-exile’sstory is marked by feelings of disempowerment and personal deficiency, the latter partinvolves increased empowerment and self-worth (in respect to those previously denied aspectsof self). While, in the separation and transition phases, the self-exile may have seen herselfas a victim, or pawn, in the incorporation phase, her sense of agency (DeCharms, 1976)increases. This process involves an altered world view which is part of both cause and effectof personal change. For the self-exile, altering her world view requires making sense of thepast.For Jane and Claire, feminism played a significant role in this altered world-view.Where, formerly, the two women experienced their disempowerment as being the result ofpersonal failings, feminism allowed them to reframe this as, partly, an effect of being femalein a male-dominated (or, at least, predominantly male-oriented) environment. Through afeminist analysis Claire understood her voicelessness to be a consequence of having grownup female in a patriarchal culture (both familial and societal). Feminism not only gave her189the understanding, but also the support to change, for example, to no longer allow herselfto feel “shut down” by her husband. Similarly, Jane saw how the liberation movement haddevalued women’s issues, subsuming them beneath the supposedly larger struggle for racialfreedom.Another means of personal transformation for the self-exile may be provided byspirituality. Spirituality speaks to transcendent values that can bridge or override personal,ethnic, or cultural distinctions. Therefore, the self-exile whose personal and/or culturalidentity is damaged or tainted may achieve a renewal of self through spiritual values. ForJane, both the First Nations’ and the women’s community were not only social and politicalentities but sources of a spirituality that was lacking in a South Africa consumed by politicalstruggle. Paul, too, found meaning in Native American spirituality (expressed less in his self-exile narrative than in his play) but his primary spiritual awakening (or reawakening) camethrough his reconnection with Judaism, a connection which also linked him to his culturalroots. But apart from the healing benefits of spirituality, joining a “spiritual” community(such as the community of women or of Jews) provided the South African self-exiles witha sense of self and belonging not tainted in the way that membership in the white SouthAfrican community was.In incorporation, however, the three self-exiles may have found personal validationnot only through identifying as someone other than a South African but also through comingto terms with their South African identity by means of finding points of cultural linkage, ofequivalence and comparability between South Africa and Canada. Through a process ofbridging, of equating, elevating, and denigrating various aspects of the two cultures, a senseof integration was created. Claire, for example, saw the shaman in Saskatoon as being likean African witchdoctor, and the treatment of Meti and First Nation peoples in North America190as akin to that of blacks in South Africa.In this process of linking and comparison, aspects of South African life, even thosethat had been viewed negatively, sometimes came to compare favourably with their Canadiancounterparts. Claire, critical of the politics of her birthplace, nonetheless preferred theconsistency of South African politicians to the fickleness of Canadian ones. While, in thetransition stage such comparisons may cause confusion and ambivalence as the personfluctuates between the two cultures, in the incorporation phase they are a means of reevaluation that allow the past to be reintegrated. Comparisons, both positive and negative,while potentially creating dissatisfaction with either the past or the present, can also createa sense of continuity. The beauty of Vancouver being equal, even similar, to that of CapeTown made it easier for Vancouver to be home to Claire.Jane, like Claire, also saw parallels between South African blacks and First Nations’people. To her, Rob (and, by extension, all First Nations’ people) suffered just as had theblacks in South Africa. Through her involvement with Rob she again felt meaningfullyengaged, but without losing her sense of self as she had before. Even as Jane, perhaps,tended to over-romanticize Rob and his suffering, she came to de-romanticize aspects of herpast in a way which allowed her to feel more favourable towards Canada. For example,where, previously, Jane had felt that South Africans were direct and Canadians uptight, shecame to feel that the former were aggressive and the latter civilized.In adapting to her new home and integrating the past with the present and future, theself exile nears the end of her journey:Taking a journey... .is, perhaps, the most mysterious of archetypal actions.. . .theinitial momentum is the need to break away, or to find a new home, identity, orcommitment, or to return to a remembered place after years of absence. (Elsbree,1986, p. 37)191For the self-exile, all three of these impetuses--escape, renewal and return-- motivate themove into exile. For incorporation to occur, that is, for narrative resolution to be achieved,all three desires must be answered.Whether or not these goals have been achieved and whether, therefore, the end of thejourney has been reached, may become clear when the self-exile journeys back home to visither country of origin and then returns to her adoptive country. By venturing back the self-exile is tested as to whether, and to what extent, she has both left her old home (and self)and found a new home (and self) in exile.For Claire the answer was clear; returning to Vancouver after visiting South Africashe felt that she had come home. She could speak of, and remember, South Africa in a waythat was not painful as it was when she had lived there (and during her first years inCanada). Thus, as Claire escaped her shame, transmuted her feelings of guilt (towards blacksand her parents) into regret, she could once again delight in the beauty and energy of SouthAfrica, in spite of the evident fear and suffering there. Canada, to her, was more a place ofopportunity than of loss.For Paul, all his trips back to South Africa had occurred during the transition phase(both his own and South Africa’s) before the recent political changes there, and re-enteringSouth Africa, therefore, meant re-immersion in the lie. And although Paul, like Claire feltthat Canada had become his home he felt a need to regain access to a previously closed offmagical childhood in South Africa. This Paul achieved symbolically, through story telling.By recounting tales about South Africa he could journey back to his native land, taking hisaudience with him, and then return again to the present in Canada.For Paul and Claire, the transformational experiences which they underwent allowedthem to mend the rupture of separation, to re-enter and resuscitate the positive elements of192a previously disowned self-narrative. Where, earlier, the negative features of the self-exilestory, the shame, or wounding coloured everything, as those elements were reinterpreted,the positive aspects could emerge.For Jane, on the other hand, the experience of self-exile remained mixed. For herthere was both resolution and irresolution. Jane felt reconciled to her separation from thepolitical community from which she had exiled herself. She still considered herself an ANCmember but felt no need to enter again into “that world”. But being out of the politicalcommunity also meant that she was cut off from South Africa and, for her, South Africa,in many ways, remained her home. The pull to return there was rooted in the sense ofsomething unfinished. While, for Claire, Canada represented opportunity, for Jane, SouthAfrica, in particular art school (and what it symbolised), was a missed opportunity which shehankered after and which, at the time of telling her story, she had been unable to recapture.For Jane, therefore, incorporation remained incomplete. While she saw the value inpolitical activity, she could not, would not, go back into that “dirty game”. In fact, to someextent, the unwillingness to completely re-enter the past was true for all three co-researchers.They might have revived the past, come to see the good in it but could only, would only,enter into it in a limited way. Neither Paul nor Claire could again live in South Africa. ButPaul dreamt of one day returning there as a visitor to give something back to the countrywhich had given his magical childhood, and Claire could once again delight in her place ofbirth.True homecoming, therefore, may remain elusive for the self-exile. But perhapsseparation from home is not limited to the exile, instead being true for all who share in themodern condition:The belief that home exists, that there is a specific, sacred place that guarantees one’s193being, has been dying a slow death.. .and seems nearly extinct now. One of thecharacteristics of the journey in so much contemporary literature is how frequentlythere is no Ithaca. The narrative stops, but the journey has not ended; it is merelyrecessed. .. .That home no longer exists; that at best there are temporary layovers inthe particular part of the planet where one happens to be; that exile, physical and/orpsychic, may be a pennanent condition [italics added]--such are the facts. . . (Elsbree,1986, p. 41)194CHAPTER VIDiscussionComparative analysis of the three accounts by self-exiled, white South Africansshowed a number of commonalities both in narrative structure and in themes of meaning.The structure of self-exile for the white, English-speaking South African was seen toresemble, in many respects, that of a rite of passage with three sequential, but overlappingphases: separation, transition (liminality), and incorporation (van Gennep, 1965). Reality,however, is always more complex than can be accounted for by any psychological modeland, thus, the actual experience of self-exile for the co-researchers did not follow thesequence of a rite of passage in an exact manner. Rather their experiences matched thegeneral structure of a rite of passage but individual experience varied. Elements of each ofthe three phases occurred out of order and appeared at different points for differentindividuals. Nonetheless, there was sufficient evidence to for the model to be considered avalid description of self-exile.The research also found that many themes of meaning were shared by the three coresearchers. The separation phase (the period preceding the decision to leave and continuinguntil the point of departure) was dominated by a sense of exclusion and personal deficiency,with subordinate themes of awakening, disillusionment, loss of trust, threats to the integrityof self, commitment, disempowerment, conflict about leaving, and unfinished business.The transition phase, which formally began when the self-exile left her country oforigin (or, as in Jane’s case, an environment that acted as an extension of that country), infact overlapped with the separation phase such that the process of transition began even asseparation continued. Because of this overlap the dominant themes of the separation stage195(exclusion and personal deficiency) were also characteristic of the transition phase, as weresome lesser themes such as disempowerment and ambivalence. In addition, feelings ofmarginality (exclusion) and inadequacy (personal deficiency) were exacerbated and givenrenewed expression through experiences of identity instability, and identity denial (culturalidentity in particular).The incorporation phase (the period of integration of, and into, the host culture aswell as re-integration of a denied past) saw a reversal of the themes of meaning of theseparation and transition phases. In contrast to the exclusion, personal deficiency,disempowerment, identity instability and denial that occured in the separation and transitionphases, the incorporation phase was marked by inclusion and belonging, increased self-worthand empowerment, a sense of renewal, integration, and identity acceptance. There were alsoother themes--symbolic transformation, reawakening, making sense of the past, and culturallinkage--which emerged during incorporation. These last were, perhaps, less themes ofmeaning than processes by which the incorporation took place.LimitationsThe research on self-exile presented here shares the limitations common to casestudies generally. First, the findings are not generalizable to a population, only to theoreticalpropositions. Second, the research and findings may be limited by the inability of individualco-researchers to articulate their experience. Although each of the interviews in this studywas marked by a high degree of articulateness and apparent openness, hidden areas and blindspots may have existed because of co-researcher inability or unwillingness to share certainexperiences. Thirdly, there may be limits in the researcher’s own perspective. Despite myattempts to bracket my experience, my own experience as a self-exile could well have196influenced the co-researchers’ telling of their stories and my subsequent attempts atinterpretation and analysis.Beyond these general limitations there may be others, more specific to this research.The small number of participants may have weakened the findings. Because of the varietyof experiences of the participants, there was the danger, in searching for commonalities, ofignoring or glossing over important distinctions. At the same time, the coincidentalsimilarities (e.g. in age, period of leaving South Africa) may have meant that somecommonalities were due to cohort effects and that the fmdings, therefore, might not hold trueat different times (both for other white, South African self-exiles and for self-exilesgenerally).A further limitation of this research arises from the restricted nature of the accounts.These were focused on self-exile (from the time of the decision to leave South Africa upuntil accommodation to the new culture). However, from the few details given by each ofthe participants, of familial and personal history prior to the decision to leave, it becameclear that issues involved in self-exile were a reflection of themes already extant in theindividuals’ lives. That is, self-exile was not a self-delineated experience but rather one thatinvolved underlying life issues. Because of the restricted focus of this study, however, thelinks between self-exile and these issues could not be fully explored or elaborated. Thepossible links do, however, suggest rich possibilities for further study.Implications for TheoryAlthough the present research concerns self-exiles, (and then only a very specificgroup of self-exiles) it, nevertheless, potentially adds to the psychological literature oncultural dislocation by confirming, disconfirming, extending, or refining, various of the197psychological theories and models of cultural dislocation.Most models of uprooting and relocation have tended to focus on the post-arrivalexperience, leaving largely unexplored events undergone by the individual prior to departure.But because cultural dislocation involves both continuity and discontinuity of self as theindividual moves from one environment to another, an understanding of experiences priorto leaving is essential for understanding events after arrival in the new culture. An approach,such as the one used here, that looks at the dislocated person’s self-narrative both prior toand following departure (as well as during transition), provides a fuller overview of theexperience of cultural dislocation.In addition, a narrative approach, even while allowing for discovery and examinationof the common elements of the self-exile experience also emphasizes the individual aspectsof each person’s experience, an important factor since each person’s identity, while createdwithin a common context (common to others in the same culture) is, in the final analysis,unique to him or her.Traditional models of cultural dislocation have described the process of adaptation toa new culture as following a U-curve (Lysgaard, 1955)--or a variation thereof, e.g. the Wcurve (Gullahorn & Gullahorn, 1963)--with the relocating individual moving from initialeuphoria through a period of depression (as the difficulties of adjustment hit home), to finaladaptation. This present study shows that at least one limitation of these approaches is that,for the self-exile, the initial euphoria may be severely restricted or even non-existent, anyrelief at having left being muted by the sense of loss, grief, and other possible effects ofdislocation.The findings of the present study tend to confirm some elements of Ishiyama’s (1989,1991) validation theory while, at the same time, disconfirming other of its aspects or, at198least, complicating the picture that it offers. Validation theory is based on the experiencesof voluntarily relocating individuals for whom incidents of invalidation would, in alllikelihood, be different than for self-exiles (and, similarly, for refugees or “true” exiles).For the South African self-exiles in this study the denial of identity that occurred inthe separation phase meant that, during this phase, possible sources of validation were alsopotential causes of invalidation. That is, while elements of South African culture from whichthey felt cut off and which might have served to confirm their sense of themselves were alsoassociated with feelings of invalidation, representing facets of what they felt to be adiscredited or discreditable (Goffman, 1963) identity. Because they were trying to escape anegatively identified past, the participants tended to disavow some associations with, or avoidcircumstances that would evoke, that past. It was only in the incorporation phase that suchaspects of the past began to be considered as unequivocally validating. Thus, future researchmight extend and refine validation theory by examining its applicability at different stagesof a person’s moving into the new culture and also to different categories of dislocatedpersons.In demonstrating the impulse to escape a negating past the findings presented hereextend Zaharna’s (1989) theory of self-shock, the opposing pulls on the newcomer to aculture to both confirm and disconfirm her sense of self. Self-shock theory focuses on thetendency of any newly arrived individual to feel the inadequacy of her position (due todisjunction between self and the new culture) and to alternately (or even simultaneously) seeher previously established sense of self as a source of both potential self-confirmation anddisconfirmation. The former self may be seen as both the source of the person’s lack offacility in negotiating her way in the new culture and, at the same time, an importantsanctuary from invalidating experiences in a new environment.199For the self-exile, however, the picture may be more complicated. For all of the threeSouth African self-exiles, aspects of a previously established sense of self were felt to bedisconfirming and discrediting not only in relation to the new culture, but in and ofthemselves. Thus, the past was not a viable place to look to for self-affirmation. As a result,for the self-exiles, re-integration of disowned facets of their past selves did not occur untilthey had begun to create a secure sense of themselves in the adoptive culture (Canada) suchthat the old self did not threaten the new identity. This finding may have value for furtherunderstanding of self-shock (Zaharna, 1989).Although white identity development is not the focus of this study, some of thefindings potentially confirm and extend the work of Sue & Sue (1990) on the racial/culturalidentity development of the white (liberal) person. The progress, for the white self-exileSouth Africans, from initial ignorance of, and (unwitting) complicity in, a racist system,through awareness of societal oppression (resulting in rejection and denial of their own whiteidentity), to an eventual integrated identity which integrates an acknowledgement of anoppressive legacy with a newfound awareness of racist oppression, mirrors the stagesoutlined by Sue & Sue (see above, Chapter III, “Review of the Literature” for a moredetailed explanation of the stages). This present study, by viewing white identitydevelopment through a narrative paradigm, may help increase understanding of how whiteidentity transformation occurs, rather than simply reiterating what occurs. That is, ratherthan just naming and describing the general features of the stages, this research provides alook into the phenomenology of the development of the liberal white identity. In addition,this research also extends some of the understandings of the RICID model to a culturaldislocation experience.Perhaps the most important aspect of this present study is its re-emphasising of the200importance of context for the creation and maintenance of identity, and thus on thedestabilising effects of change of context on the individual’s sense of self. By confirming theclaims of various postmodernist theorists (e.g. White & Epston, 1990; Gergen, 1988, 1990)and personologists (e.g. McAdams, 1988a, 1988b, 1990) that the self is contextually createdand co-authored, this research helps shift the focus away from so-called internal processes(,predominant in traditional psychological approaches) to relational processes. (See below,“Implications for Practice”, for discussion of the importance of context in cross-culturalcounselling).Klineberg (cited in Furnham & Bochner, 1986) has posited the idea of the foreignsojourn as a miniature life history. Certainly, for the co-researchers in the present study,individual themes that came to the fore in self-exile (such as shame, impurity, lack of self)were ones that were evident in the person’s life prior to the exile experience. Thus the crisisprecipitated by uprooting may be thought of as a magnifying lens through which one canlook at the person’s entire life-story.Assuming that the story of self-exile is a window through which to view life themesin general it is, perhaps, significant that the dominant themes that emerged in the self-exileexperience, personal deficiency and exclusion, reflect “the core experiences of psychologicaltrauma [generally]... disempowerment and disconnection from others” (p. 133). 18 If theexperiences of disconnection (i.e. exclusion) and of disempowerment (a primary element inpersonal deficiency) are common not only to the self-exile experience but to all psychological18 For McAdams (1988a), the two most fundamental needs of humans are intimacy andpower (a connection with others and the ability to act) and thus the most severe crises wouldbe those involving the loss or thwarting of these needs through exclusion anddisempowerment. Nietzche, Adler, Freud, Dostoyevsky (all cited in Barrett, 1962), likewise,all emphasized the centrality of love and power to human life.201trauma, an understanding of the self-exile experience--its losses and its healing--is potentiallyuseful in understanding psychological trauma generally, and in particular those involvingtransition.Implications for PracticeThe potential value of this research for practice derives, in part, from its focusingon a previously neglected area in cross-cultural research: the self-exile experience. Eventhough this study concerns a distinct group of self-exiles, the findings may provide the cross-cultural counsellor with a theoretical framework that reflects more accurately the experienceof self-exiles generally than do models derived from other dislocated groups. By ifiuminatingthe issue of personal volition in leaving one’s homeland, this research may alert thecounsellor to factors of choice in uprooting, and how the degree and nature of such choicepotentially impacts on the culturally dislocated person.Just as research interviewing may incorporate elements of therapy (Colaizzi, 1978)so therapy can involve aspects of research interviewing. The value of narrative interviewingfor gaining insight into a person’s experience as he himself has experienced it has, I hope,been demonstrated by this study. In addition, the therapeutic value of telling one’s story(Birren & Deutchman, 1991), of giving testimony, and of bearing witness (Agger & Jensen,1990), has been well documented.When one has suffered terribly, and particularly as part of a whole social pattern, apublic acknowledgement is absolutely critical. . . .This has been spoken about a greatdeal with regard to the torture that occurred in South Africa. It is very important thatthese events become part of the public record, that they be acknowledged. Otherwise,there’s an incompleteness. We need our identity--who we are, what has happened,our history--to be mirrored in the larger social fabric, to be valued, so that if a partof our lives is then erased or unacknowledged, there’s a terrible gap there and it’sexperienced as a kind of betrayal. And we have been betrayed, we’ve beenabandoned. (Griffin, interviewed in O’Connell, 1994)202For the culturally dislocated (or any other) client who feels unheard, misunderstood, orstructurally invisible (Turner, 1967) within society, simply having the counsellor (or anyother empathic person) listen to his story may be therapeutic.This research also has practical implications for the application of validation theory(Ishyama, 1989, 1990). Recognising that the self-exiled client’s reaction to potentially self-validating aspects associated with her past is dependent on her relationship with that past mayassist the counsellor in assessing the appropriateness and potential value of using validationtechniques at a particular point in the counselling process. The client from another culturewho, in the transition phase, may be ambivalent towards, or rejecting of, certain aspects tiedto her culture may, in the incorporation phase, be open to these same features. (Claire, forexample, for some time after arriving in Canada felt ashamed of being identified as a whiteSouth African while later, in the incorporation phase, she no longer felt such an aversion).Thus, a client’s openness (or lack of same) to a potentially validating experiencelinked to the past, may be an indicator as to what phase the client is in and, thus, of somehelp to both counsellor and client in anticipating the possible progress of therapy. If someaspect of the client’s culture of origin that might otherwise be validating is felt to beunacceptable to the client this could mean that incorporation has not yet begun. Counsellingmay then focus on why those elements are seen as threatening or negative and what needsto occur for these facets of his past to be let in again. The model may also be of use innormalizing the client’s experience. (In applying the rite of passage model of self-exile toan individual’s experience, it is important to do this in an open and flexible manner, to seeit as a descriptive, rather than a prescriptive or proscriptive, framework)Just as it was for theory, certainly the most important implication for practice lies inthis study’s emphasis on contextualizing a client’s experience as a means of assisting her to203understand and work through issues. Agger and Jensen (1990) in their work with exiledcouples experiencing psychosexual problems stress the value of contextualization:In order to work through this crisis [of psychosexual problems in exile] we believethat the consciousness of why this happened plays an important part in a reframing.In this reframing process, a connection is established between the ‘political pain’brought about by a repressive system and the ‘private pain’ which is experienced asindividual symptoms, impotency and isolation. When the private symptoms are seenin a new context--reframed--they can again be experienced as political pain, and theresult can be more collective activites and less pathology... . The importance of thiskind ofactivity is related to the re-establishment ofa coherent identity [italics added].(p. 102)It may, therefore, be not only desirable, but imperative that the counsellor be awareof the impact of socio-political events in the culture of origin on clients’ so called personalproblems and that, to this end, the counsellor inform himself of political and social issuesin that culture. Where the counsellor lacks such knowledge there is potential value in havingthe client give the counsellor this information, this having the dual benefit of empoweringthe client while educating the counsellor.In addition to being aware of factors in the client’s country of origin that may be partof the client’s life-story the counsellor should also try to be aware of ongoing developmentsin that country. Each of the three self-exiles in this study commented that they were affectedby events taking place in South Africa many years after their departure. The release ofMandela, the end of official apartheid, had significant impact on how Paul, Claire, and Janefelt about South Africa and thus about themselves, since they still identified as SouthAfricans. While in the examples given here, the events (and their effects) were generallypositive, such events can equally easily be negative.It is also important to recognise, that for those who left for socio-political reasons,that not only does the political influence the personal, but that the converse is also true, thatthe personal impacts on the political. Because those themes that emerge in dislocation (that204hinder adaptation or adjustment or accommodation to the new culture) may tie intounderlying personal themes, the counsellor, in working with an uprooted client, may, atsome point, need to focus on ongoing life themes.Implications for Future ResearchGiven the limitations of this study (noted above) replication of this study could serveto either confirm, disconfirm, extend, or refine its findings. Such confirmation,disconfirmation, extension, or refinement might be facilitated by extending the research toa survey of a representative sample of displaced people. Also, studies with different butrelated groups (from other cultures) might aid in assessing the applicability (or not) of thesefindings to other groups.SummaryCultural dislocation potentially poses a number of threats to the dislocated individual’spreviously established sense of self. For the self-exile (who is nominally free to remain inher or his country of origin but chooses--both for reasons of conscience and a desire toescape--to leave) this occurs, in large part, because of context interruption (Barudy, 1989),the loss of the socio-cultural milieu in which the self-exile’s identity was created andmaintained. A qualitative, phenomenological approach (using a case study method) wasutilized to explore the experience and meaning of self-exile for white, English-speakingSouth Africans living in Canada, and to examine the impact of cultural dislocation on theself-exiled person’s sense of self (identity). Identity was defined as self-narrative, jointlycreated by the individual and the culture in which he or she lives. Three co-researchers (twowomen and one man) who were self-exiled from South Africa participated in this study.205During individual in-depth interviews which were audiotaped, the co-researchers describedtheir experience of self-exile from the time that they had made the decision to leave SouthAfrica up until a point where they felt they had come to terms with living in Canada. Acomparative analysis was conducted to uncover structural and thematic commonalities. Theself-exile experience was seen to be structured as a story with a beginning, middle, and end,which structure resembled a rite of passage, with three sequential but overlapping phases:separation, transition, and incorporation (van Gennep, 1965). 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The press release: Symbolic communication in life history interviewing.Journal of Personality, (1), 205-238.Williams, C. L., Garcia-Peltoniemi, R. E., & Ben-Porath, Y. S. (1988). Refugee mentalhealth: The importance of primary prevention. [Video]. Minneapolis, MN: Universityof Minnesota.Wood, J. (1994, January 9). An Afrikaner trapped in no man’s land. Manchester Guardian,p. 28.Woods, D. (1987). New York: Holt.Yin, R. K. (1989). Case study research: Design and methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Zaharna, R. S. (1989). Self-shock: The double-binding challenge of identity. InternationalJournal of Intercultural Relations, j, 501-525.218APPENDIX ALETI’ER OF INITIAL CONTACTTHE SELF OUT OF CONTEXT:IDENTITY RUPTURE AN]) REPAIR IN SELF-EXILED SOUTH AFRICANSI am a graduate student in counselling psychology at the University of BritishColumbia (U.B.C.) conducting research into the effects of cultural dislocation on personalidentity. This research is being done for my Master’s Thesis under the supervision of Dr.Larry Cochran (Dept. of Counselling Psychology, U.B.C., 822-5259). I am specificallyinterested in understanding the experiences of South Africans self-exiled in Canada. I am,therefore, looking for individuals interested in participating in such a study.The people I would like to interview are ex-South Africans who have resided inCanada for at least five years and who see, or at the time of leaving South Africa, sawthemselves as going into self-exile rather than being forced out or simply emigrating. Thatis, South Africans who chose to leave but who left primarily for reasons of conscience.Your name was mentioned to me as someone who might fill these criteria and whoalso might be interested in participating. Your participation would involve meeting with meto tell your story, including your thoughts, feelings and perceptions about the period fromwhen you decided to leave South Africa up to the present here in Canada.I do not anticipate needing any more than four hours of your time for the actualinterview. However, should you require more time to comfortably tell your story, I willmake that time to meet with you. All efforts will be made to find a setting that you will findcomfortable, convenient, and private.The interview will be audiotaped. The taped data will be written up, deleting ordisguising your name and any identifying information. All taped recordings of interviews willbe erased upon completion of this research project. Your participation is purely voluntaryand you are free to withdraw from participation at any time.If you are interested in taking part or if you have questions regarding this study,please call me at the number below. Your involvement will, I believe, provide anopportunity for you to recall and reflect upon an important period in your life.Thank you.Lawrence Feuchtwanger,Researcher.874-2007219APPENDiX BCONSENT FORMTHE SELF OUT OF CONTEXT:IDENTITY RUPTURE AND REPAIR IN SELF-EXILED SOUTH AFRICANSThe purpose of this research is to explore and more fully understand the experiencesundergone by self-exiled South Africans in leaving their homeland and moving into a newculture. Specifically, the research will attempt to examine the impact that cultural dislocationhas on personal identity. This study is being done for my Master’s Thesis under thesupervision of Dr. Larry Cochran (Dept. of Counselling Psychology, U.B.C., 822-5259).Your participation will involve meeting with me to tell your story, including yourthoughts, feelings and perceptions about the period from when you decided to leave SouthAfrica up to the present here in Canada. I do not anticipate needing any more than fourhours for the actual interview. Should you require more time to comfortably tell your story,I will make that time to meet with you. All efforts will be made to find a setting that youwill find comfortable, convenient, and private. Your participation will, I believe, provide anopportunity for you to recall and reflect upon an important event in your life.The interview will be audiotaped. The taped data will be written up disguising ordeleting your name and any identifying information. All taped recordings of interviews willbe erased upon completion of this research project. Your participation is purely voluntary.You are free to withdraw from participation at any time.If you agree to participate in this research, please sign two (2) copies of this consentform. You will keep one copy and I will keep the other. If you have any further questionsor concerns about the research or procedures, please feel free to contact me at the numberbelow.Thank you for your time.Lawrence Feuchtwanger (Researcher) 874-2007.***************************************************************************I have read this form and consent to participate in this research project. I understand that myparticipation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw from the project at any time. Iacknowledge receipt of a copy of this consent form.Date:_________________________Name:_______________________________________Phone:______________________ Signature:Researcher’s signature:___________________________

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