Crossing borders: conscious journeys with my family

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This work of creative non-fiction encompasses episodes of travel motivated by the author’s desire to expose her children to different cultures and philosophies as an antidote to her own experiences of growing up during apartheid. The journeys are undertaken over a period of 18 years, starting in 1993, just before the birth of a democratic South Africa. Crossing borders refers to both personal and physical expansion, juxtaposing the isolation of apartheid with the freedom to explore that which was foreign. The main theme is that of leaving home to extend one’s view of self in relation to the world, inculcating the possibility of a global community of mutual respect. Minor themes are identity and searching for roots and a sense of belonging; religious tolerance, equality, respect, climate change and children’s rights are some of the issues grappled with in countries as diverse as Cuba, Greenland and Sweden. Although each chapter focuses on a different country, themes of dispossession, discrimination, colonialism and struggle run throughout. The author uses travel as the vehicle to educate her children beyond the borders of a family and a country emerging from a repressive past , teaching them to challenge stereotypes and showing them that people are not that different on the other side o f a man -made divide. Underpinning this family memoir is the joy of travel and discovery of a wealth of culture, history and mythology through the children’s eyes. The children’s development is traced from infancy through adolescence to early adulthood and concludes with the hope that the foundation has been laid to make a constructive contribution to a more empathetic society.

Includes bibliographical references.