Boundaries and crossing points: children, geography and identity in the Fish Hoek valley

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University of Cape Town

This paper is about children and young people who attend a formerly 'white' state school with an increasingly diverse student population, and live in a highly segregated environment. I take a closer look at the way these schoolchildren work within, around and against divisions of class and 'race'? in a specific place and time in South African history, to understand which factors promote and obstruct the possibility of diversity and integration in their everyday lives. How are they negotiating the landscape, discourse and practice around them? And how do they create and verbalise ways of being themselves? Data for the study was collected by a variety of methods, to enable children to express themselves by engaging them in the research project through visual, group and individual exercises, discussions and interviews. Initially, maps of the area drawn by and commented on by the children show that apartheid history and an environment shaped by this history has a deep impact on these children's daily lives, and general stereotypes about places and people prevail. However, as the research project progressed, a more nuanced picture emerged of a generation of young South Africans who express an ideal of non-racism and negotiate a racially defined physical and social environment in their own particular ways.<