Thinking with Archipelagos

Rose Lim

Rose Lim is a PhD candidate with the English department at Stellenbosch University. Her research areas include African women’s writing with particular interest in women’s language, their multivalence and regional distinctiveness.

Rose was invited to present a paper at the recently concluded Archipelagic Memory Conference (2 – 4 August), organised by the University of Mauritius in collaboration with King’s College London and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She spoke on “Archipelagic Thinking and the Prisms of Mozambican Women’s Multivalent Articulations” focusing on the writings of Paulina Chiziane. In the presentation, she discussed Chiziane’s literary narratives, ruminating on the fractured regional representations found in Mozambique via the prisms of its women’s polyvocal articulations. She contended that history, memory and the divergent emergence of women-centric language in Chiziane’s Afro-Luso writings converge and find meaning with the polyphonic cadence exuded by archipelagic thought and its imaginaries. Drawing attention to the notion that these writings have errantly disengaged themselves from the thrall of hegemonic conventionalities, instead electing to journey unfettered in the fluid spatialities proffered by interlinking with archipelagic-centric sensibilities.

This enriching conference was attended by international delegates of intersecting specialisations and disciplines. Notable keynote speakers included Prof. Ananya Kabir, Prof. George Abungu and Prof. Stef Craps. Aside from the panel sessions, the delegates visited the related Intercontinental Slavery Museum and the UNESCO Heritage Aapravasi Ghat. Rose would like to warmly thank Prof. Tina Steiner for her encouragement and support. Also appreciative thanks to the delegates from Johannesburg for their invitation to the private visit at Beau Bassin Jewish Memorial. Finally, a profound thank you to the exceptional organisers of the conference, and their generous sponsors, which allowed interconnecting thinkers of Archipelagic thought to gather, share and learn from one other.

from left: Rose Lim, Dr. Edgar Nabutanyi and Associate Professor Ahmed Mulla