Migrant comunities' coping with socio-political violence: a case study of Zimbabwe Action Movement in Johannesburg, South Africa

Ndlovu, Duduzile S.
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Abstract This dissertation is based on a qualitative study conducted in Johannesburg to explore the meanings that a group of Zimbabwean migrants attach to experiences of socio-political violence, called Gukurahundi. Violence has been shown to have traumatic consequences, but the meaning of the trauma is mediated by the context in which it occurs further on meanings have been shown to be central to the healing strategies and mechanisms employed to cope with the effects of the violence. Text from in-depth interviews and songs composed by participants in this study formed the narrative text of experiences of violence that was analysed using narrative methods. Key interpretations of the Gukurahundi violence found in this study were framed in political terms and coping strategies employed were also political. Coping is linked to the meanings attached to experiences and thus responding to socio political violence requires a consideration of the context and the meanings attached if it is to be relevant.