Sound Portraits

Merle, a woman from Durban in her late 30's.

Merle describes herself as a 'coloured' woman from Durban. She migrated to Australia in 2011, taking up a position as nurse. In her portrait she describes the conditions she experieced as a nurse working in the 'coloured wards' during the Aparthied, however, when this system was dismantled in 1994 she found herself working in the white wards. The image of torn linen shown here represents the stark inequality she describes between the two wards. Listen to her story below to hear about her life in South Africa and her experiences of settlement in Australia.






Malcolm, a man from KwaZulu Natal, in his 40's.

Malcolm is a Zulu man in his late 40s who migrated to Australia with his wife and children in 2009. In his sound portrait he recounts memories of living in apartheid South Africa, a time in which his life was highly regulated and restricted. A simple trip out of his neighborhood required him to carry a permit because he was black. In describing his migration journey and his experience living in Australia, Malcolm found that the city in Australia he lived in often felt like a 'ghost town' with few people greeting and acknowledging each other in the streets. This image represents his description of Australia as  'the silence land', a place in which he dreads growing old. 

Rachel, a woman from KwaZulu-Natal in her 20's

Rachel is a women from KwaZulu-Natal who migrated to Australia with her family when she was in her late teens.  In her sound portrait she describes her migration journey starting with a book on Australia in the local library. In her portrait she also describes the tiresome work of having to constantly explain where she is from -her 'identity' or 'background'. Rachel also gives insight into what is it like to be connected to her identity as a South African through her parents. 

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