Chapter 2 ‘Your Surroundings Don’t Make You; You Must Rise above all that’

The Home in Life Histories as Site of Resistance to Racial Violence, Cape Town, South Africa

In: The Individual in African History
Elena Moore
Search for other papers by Elena Moore in
Current site
Google Scholar

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



In this chapter, I focus on the ways in which Coloured families in Cape Town, during the period 1950–2015, responded to political and racial violence. I demonstrate that participants in this study, through the interactions with their family members and in their homes, engaged in a myriad of daily practices that challenged political and racial violence. By drawing on biographical narrative interviews with Coloured families, the chapter demonstrates that notwithstanding the conditions of being forcefully removed, and subjected to ongoing spatial and racial violence during and beyond apartheid, participants in this study used the home and intimate relationships to develop responses to everyday violence throughout the life course. By analysing these practices of resistance, I shift the focus on the ways in which a ‘struggle for a home’ was achieved by drawing on the home and family as critical forms of capital in enacting resistance.

  • Collapse
  • Expand