14:00 - 15:30
Room: Arts – Lecture Room 5
Stream: Text, Paratext and Context in African Autobiographical Narratives
Chair/s:
Tom Odhiambo
“The same but not quite”: Respectability, creative agencies and self-expression in black middle-class Soweto homes
Shonisani Netshia
University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg

In this paper, I explore notions of South African black middle-class respectability, focusing on the use of crocheted doilies by two homemakers in Naledi Extension 2, Soweto, Johannesburg – my mother, Geneva Maphangwa and Mam’ Ramuhulu. I explore their use of crocheted doilies as a means of decorating their homes, upholding status, and presenting themselves and their families as respectable. I regard crocheted doilies as metaphoric connectors, linking maternal generations, as well as signifiers of respectability. I also highlight how my mother’s and Mam’ Ramuhulu’s preoccupation with maintaining good status, cleanliness and order is linked to a form of respectability that is embedded with notions of good moral standing.

In examining the roles that Victorian lace and its contemporary derivative, crocheted doilies, play in colonial and post-colonial contexts, I identify the Victorian era as the possible origin of using crocheted doilies to cover surfaces. I unpack how the Victorian impulse to decorate every available surface could be a forerunner of way in which doilies are used in my mother’s and Mam’ Ramuhulu’s homes. Homi K Bhabha’s (1994) notions of desire, the displacing gaze and mimicry, are applied and used as connective devices throughout the paper.


Reference:
Tu-A41 Autobiography 5-P-001
Presenter/s:
Shonisani Netshia
Presentation type:
Panel
Room:
Arts – Lecture Room 5
Chair/s:
Tom Odhiambo
Date:
Tuesday, 11 September
Time:
14:00 - 14:15
Session times:
14:00 - 15:30