(Re)creating community: experiences of older women forcibly relocated during apartheid
Kolobe, Patricia Stockie
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This article explores sense of community with a group of older African women, who were forcibly relocated during apartheid. The situation of a marginalised group, with a history of disconnection from younger generations and from place, provides an opportunity to consider the relevance of community in later life. The research was conducted at a day centre for older people in the North West Province of South Africa, more than 50 years after forced relocations took place. Eleven older women (70 years and older) participated. Qualitative data were obtained through visual research methods and group discussions and were thematically analysed. Findings were that place and sense of belonging as well as elements of community were relevant. Participants reported limited connections to place in either childhood or current communities. Post relocation, a sense of belonging was expressed only in relation to a shared-interest community of peers that addressed their needs for safety, emotional support and instrumental care. Also, generational relations were strained, giving rise to a sense of loss of a community where both young and old were responsible for each other. Constrained resource communities have a profound impact on opportunities to create a sense of belonging.
- Faculty of Health Sciences