chapter  9
14 Pages

Material Ethnographies of Multilingualism: Linguistic Landscapes in the Township of Khayelitsha


In a recent collection of essays on transition in contemporary South Africa, Fine Lines from the Box: Further Thoughts about Our Country (2007), the author Njabulo Ndebele suggests that ‘what is going on in [South African] townships carries the defi ning characteristics of our new society’ (2007: 104), and adds that “[t]he informal settlements and all the problems they present-are they not a vital context in which we can defi ne, plan and build for ourselves?” (2007: 104). Dlamini (2009: 112) likewise points to the important role that townships have played and continue to play ‘in the constitution of the public sphere, the evolution of nationhood, citizenship and identity in post-apartheid South Africa’ by providing a “fertile ground for embodied agency and the possibility for emancipatory politics” (154).