My exile was the posh end of exile - Sisonke Msimang

Writer and activist Sisonke Msimang has published what is described by some as a groundbreaking book, reflecting on her exile childhood in Zambia and Kenya, as well as the return to South Africa.

Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser about the debut memoir, Always Another Country, Msimang delved into the dynamics of exile during apartheid and the politics of class.

She says the book is not a definitive look at the subject of exile, but reveals in part how her experience of it was influenced by the inbuilt classism of the African National Congress (ANC).

One of the things that happened when that first generation, those people that left in the early to mid 1960s, is that as they crossed the border they carried their class position with them.

Sisonke Msimang, activist and writer

The way that the ANC has always functioned as a deeply classist organisation, was that they were mission educated Africans who were African middle class, which didn't mean that they did not have money, but they certainly had access to education and saw themselves in a particular way.

Sisonke Msimang, activist and writer

So Mandela and Tambo don't simply arise out of the hills, they are formed and shaped by a particular class position. When the ANC people went into exile, they were given choices.....

Sisonke Msimang, activist and writer

It's to say that my exile was the posh end of exile precisely because of the inbuilt classism of the African National Congress which is something I think we need to be honest about, even as it gives me beautiful nostalgic memories about my childhood, that is what it affords.

Sisonke Msimang, activist and writer

Click on the link below to listen to the full audio and learn more about Msimang's personal accounts....


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