About Nest

NEST (Narrative Enquiry for Social Transformation) is a research network launched in July 2015 with the aim to foster the theory and practice of narrative as a field of study through interdisciplinary research and empirical investigations into questions of human experience, development and social change

Its members are drawn from the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as creative and community-based constituencies. The current configuration of the NEST network allows for an articulation between the Arts, Social Sciences and Socio-psychological work.

NEST is informed by the principle that narrative is one of the defining features of what it means to be human. Personal and collective senses of self, experience, desires, fears and hopes are developed in and through narrative meaning-making, providing recognition and validation, and deepening our sense of human dignity across lines of difference and existence.


The transformative possibilities of narrative lie in the ways in which it enables people to:

  • Give coherence to their lives and the world around them;
  • Develop forms of critical consciousness and thinking;
  • Imagine possible alternative social realities and futures;
  • And, ultimately, not only to read them-selves and their place in the world but also to be read by others.

It is people who make culture and culture that in turns remakes us, and this process is always political and potentially transformative.


NEST seeks to undertake research that traces ideologies, experiences and identities across time as constructed through inter / cross generational experience and storytelling; the reconstruction of (cultural memory); and transmission of unofficial histories and alternative narratives by ordinary people, particularly in families, communities, educational and creative contexts. Its research agenda incorporates a wide range of theoretical and critical conceptual and creative work that can be undertaken from multiple disciplinary perspectives and methodologies.


The following constitute the core thematic threads of NEST:

  • The narrative formation of consciousness and subjectivities
  • Marginality, the body, affect and narrative
  • Narrative form and symbolic representations in multiple modalities: textual, visual, archival, aural and performative.
  • Intergenerational narratives.
  • Developing knowledge and praxis through empirical projects


Although registration will be possible on site at the conference, places are limited and you are strongly encouraged to register online now! Please follow this link to complete your registration online

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Keynote Speakers

Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Professor of African Studies - University of Ghana

Akosua Adomako Ampofo is a Professor of African Studies at University of Ghana. She is the founding Head of the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy, CEGENSA, (2005-2009); the Director of the Institute of African Studies (2010-2015), and has served on numerous statutory boards and committees and is a member of various continental and international editorial boards, professional and civil society associations.

Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Professor of African Studies - University of Ghana
Molly Andrews
Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London

Molly Andrews is Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London. Her research interests include political narratives, the psychological basis of political commitment, political identity, patriotism, and aging. She is currently working on a project called “The Unbuilding of East Germany: Excavating Biography and History.”

Molly Andrews
Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London
Gabeba Baderoon
Author of Regarding Muslims: from Slavery to Post-apartheid

Gabeba Baderoon is the author of Regarding Muslims: from Slavery to Post-apartheid (awarded the 2017 National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Best Non-fiction Monograph Award) and the poetry collections The Dream in the Next Body, The Museum of Ordinary Life and A hundred silences. She is a recipient of the Daimler Award for South African Poetry and is a member of the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund.

Gabeba Baderoon
Author of Regarding Muslims: from Slavery to Post-apartheid


Professor Tawana Kupe
Acting Vice-Chancellor
Professor Tawana Kupe, Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor Tawana Kupe, Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of the Witwatersrand

09:00 - 10:00 AM

Molly Andrews
Professor of Political Psychology

The Narrative Architecture of Political Forgiveness. Chair: Bhekizizwe Peterson

10.00 – 11.00 AM

Chair: Sibulelo Qhogwana

Discussant: Hugo Canham

Dina Ligaga: Un/reading the trafficked body: Vulnerability in Sanusi’s Eyo

Sharlene Khan: Vital Statistics of a Citizen

10.00 – 11.00 AM

Chair: Dominica Dipio

Discussant: Cynthia Kros

Nereida Ripero-Muñiz : A Dialogical Approach to Narrative: The Case of Somali Migrant Women in Nairobi and Johannesburg.

Arita Balaram: Narrations of Identity Among Indo-Caribbean Youth in the
U.S.: Navigating Discourses of Belonging and Legacies of Indentureship


Grace Musila: Comic calibrations of violence in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Danai Mupotsa: Feeling and Ugly
Lynda Gichanda Spencer: The Vulnerable Subjectivities.

Migration & hybridities

Maureen Amimo: Re-thinking Travel in Binyavanga Wainaina’s “Discovering
Home” Through Portraiture.
Brittani Smit: Intergenerational Transmission of Colorist Ideology in
Contemporary Jamaican Fiction.
Grace Whistler: ‘What-it’s-like’ for The Other: Fragmented Narrative and
Identity in Meursault, Contre-Enquête.

13:00 AM - 14:00 PM

Grandparents’ Narratives

Chair: Bhekizizwe Peterson
Open Discussion
Hugo Canham, El Kotze, Nkululeko Nkomo, Sibusiso Nkomo:
Triggering Objects: Narrating grandparents through the Affective Object
Hugo Canham, Edzani Dongola, Sanele Ntshingana, Simone Peters:Methodological reflections: the NEST Grandparents Project

Narratives of Language Identities

Chair: Jill Bradbury
Discussant: Desmond Painter
Hannah Botsis: Desire and Derision: the role of English in narratives of multilingual South African students
Ivan Katsere & Jill Bradbury: A Colonial Lingua Franca is not enough: narratives of Zimbabwean families in Johannesburg.
Ntebaleng Makgalemele & Jill Bradbury: The linguistic capital gains of English: childhood narratives of loss
Bonolo Letshufi: “Coconuts?”: Narrative identities of Black English-speaking

Grandparents’ Narratives

Discussant: Jill Bradbury
Ayanda Mahlaba: To the Black Women We All Know Who Didn’t Die:
Ordinary Black Women as Narrators of History

Narratives of Language Identities

Chair: Mapule Moroke
Discussant: Roshini Pillay
Marie Minaar-McDonald: Rethinking Social Work Policy through transformative practices

Discussant: Bhekizizwe Peterson
Fouad Asfour: Border thinking as positionality. Psychic restlessness as
theory inbetween

Chair: Jill Bradbury

Hannah Botsis (2018) : Subjectivity, Language and the Postcolonial: Beyond Bourdieu in South Africa. London: Routledge.
Discussant: Desmond Painter

Nereida Ripero- Muñiz (2017) : Metropolitan Nomads: a Journey through Joburg’s Little Mogadishu. Johannesburg: The MoVE Project, African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand.
Discussant: Jo Veary

Sharlene Khan (2018) : I Make Art. A project supported by the National Arts Council of South Africa.
Discussant: Danai Mupotsa

Finger supper

Panel conversation with Dada Masilo: Jill Bradbury & Lindelwa Dalamba

Professor Tawana Kupe
Acting Vice-Chancellor

Foretelling our futures: silences and restoring our stories
Chair: Jill Bradbury

Health Narratives

Chair: Simangele Mayisela
Discussant: Nkululeko Nkomo

Claire Penn & Victoria Hume: The story of
Blood Sugars: the Transformative potential of performed narrative

Victoria Hume: Understanding Delirium through music: violence, loss and

Narratives of (Dis)ability

Chair: Grace Musila
Discussant: Ruby Patel

Micheko Kaneko & Ruth Morgan: Construction of deaf Identity
though narratives in South African Sign Language (SASL)

Hape Peshoane: Speaking from the Margins: A Narrative study of
the experiences of Sexuality of Albino Women in Lesotho

Chair: Sibulelo Qhogwana

Discussant: Hugo Canham

Dina Ligaga: Un/reading the trafficked body: Vulnerability in Sanusi’s Eyo

Sharlene Khan: Vital Statistics of a Citizen

Health Narratives

Aderet Segev & Claire Penn: “The university is a foreign land”: the lived
experience of South African students who stutter
Joanne Neille: Disability and the South African Constitution: a Narrative
enquiry into the ways in which constitutional discourses are used to make
sense of lived experience by disabled adults in rural South Africa.

Melissa Phillips and Claire Penn: Narrative Mechanisms of Identity
Renegotiation poststroke.

Intergenerational Memory

Chair: Sope Maithufi
Discussant: Moshibudi Motimele

Femi Eromosele: Madness, Psychiatry, and the Places in between
in Selected African Fiction

Njabulo Zwane: On Brothers, Kings and Alternative Post-apartheid

Loren Cahill: Black Radical Imagination: An Intergenerational Oral
History Project

12.30 AM – 13.30 PM

Visual Narratives

Chair: Cynthia Kros
Discussant: Sharlene Khan

Victoria Appelbaum: Narrating Existence and Resistance: an object
biography of Peter Clarke’s The Trojan Horse

Beverley Barry: Telling stories of rock art to imagine a ‘future horizon’

Kurt Campbell: Night Writing: The Textual Ideation of Andrew Jeptha

Sope Maithufi: The creative impulse in Pitika Ntuli’s art

Intergenerational Memory

Chair: Lindelwa Dalamba
Discussant: Grace Musila

Mapule Mohulatsi: Locating the ‘We’ in Koleka Putuma’s Collective Amnesia

Addamms Mutata: Battered Bodies: Characterizing Apartheid Past and Present in Tsotsi

Manosa Nthunya: Entangled Narratives: The Use of Intertextuality in Zoe Wicomb’s novel, October.

Jacqueline Ojiambo: Oral Traditions in Wanjiru Kinyanjui’s The Battle of The Sacred Tree !

Adebayo Sakiru: An Inheritance of Loss: Half of a Yellow Sun as a Postmemorial Project

Lindelwa Dalamba (musicologist), Andre Petersen on piano, Chantal Willie-Petersen on double-bass and voice, Dylan Valley (Filmmaker).

Ethiopian Dinner

Lyric, Pause, Turn: How Radical Texts Narrate
Chair: Bhekizizwe Peterson

Gendered Narratives

Chair: Grace Musila
Discussant: Dina Ligaga

Dominica Dipio: African Motherhood Proverbs and Worldview: A Matriarchal Perspective

Amon Mwiine: “For us, our strategy worked very well... It was like, let the men sponsor the bills and women second”: Women’s accounts on selecting male promoters of gender sensitive legislation in Uganda.

Gendered Narratives

Chair:</b< Hugo Canham
Discussant: Lynda Spencer

Sibulelo Qhogwana: Narratives of the marginalized:
Deconstructing single stories on women classified as
maximum offenders

Sihle Motsa: It is Your Story, Just Not Your Story to Tell - Prioritising Third person Narratives.

Chair: Sibulelo Qhogwana

Discussant: Hugo Canham

Dina Ligaga: Un/reading the trafficked body: Vulnerability in Sanusi’s Eyo

Sharlene Khan: Vital Statistics of a Citizen

Narratives for Healing

Chair: Sabrina Liccardo
Discussant: Danai Mupotsa

Natalia Molebatsi: The healing perspectives of a Black woman Poet in South Africa.

Latoya Williams: Narratives that Heal: Black bodies, black voices,

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard: The Secret Eye: Black women in politics and

Subjective Dynamics


Jill Bradbury

Discussant: Bhekizizwe Peterson

Deirdre Byrne: Introduction to ZAPP’s Indigenous Knowledge Systems Research.

Louis Botha: Some Background and conceptualisations of indigenous knowledges

Raphael d’Abdon: What is the meaning of “indigenous poetry” in South Africa?
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers: Poetic interlude

Duduzile Ndlovu: The indigenous transmission of memory: A case study of Ithemba lamaNguni in Johannesburg.

12.30 AM – 13.30 PM

Queer Cartographies

Chair: Jill Bradbury
Discussant: Eddie Ombagi

Chinyere Okafor: Embodied Marginality:Transnational Interviews on
Sexuality, Homeplace and Activism in Trinidad

Ruth Ramsden-Karlse: Registering Queerness: The ‘Moffies’ in Rive,
La Guma and Maart’s District Six

Narrative Pedagogies & Practices

Chair: Sharlene Khan
Discussant: Peace Kiguwa

Alice Claerfelt & Daryl Braam: Exploring the co-construction
of social identities with Eastern Cape youth: Critical pedagogy, agency and social change.

Liezl Dick & Marguerita Muller: Expression of self: Using a visual narrative to explore the experiences of Educators working towards social transformation

Renée Lesley Koch & David Andrew: Learners’ self-
signified narratives of decision making: opportunities for transformation in arts education

Roshini Pillay: Participatory learning and action techniques
used by social work student to tell their life stories

Sabrina Liccardo: Theorising a narrative complex system of
human being, becoming and belonging

Medicalised bodies: children’s narratives

Chair: Anwynne Kern
Discussant: Joanne Nellie

Dorcas Malahlela: “Boy Interrupted”: Narrative interruptions in a 17-year-
old’s experience of leukaemia.

Linda Moss: Being the label, losing one’s self: Adolescents narratives of
the experiences of ADHD

Special Events


Book Launches

Very Important Information



Johannesburg, undoubtedly one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant cities, is the economic powerhouse of South Africa. Jo’burg also known as Jozi or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa and also one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world. The city has its roots in gold and diamond mining which began in the late 19th Century when millions descended on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand hills.

Much of its infrastructure and economy has developed around gold and diamond mining. While in recent years much of the money and commercial business has moved out of the city into the suburbs, the city is starting to see renewal. Originally serving as a starting point for travel to other parts of SA and Africa, Johannesburg has become one of the region’s most visited and well-run tourism and business centres. The city is home to a number of good museums, galleries, sports stadiums, wildlife conservancies, memorials and other attractions which are scattered throughout.

Johannesburg is also serviced by the largest and busiest airport in Africa which provides the gateway to international air travel for much of the region. The recent launch of the rapid bus system is intended to provide convenient transport for both South Africans and international visitors. The Gautrain has improved the transport infrastructure of Gauteng and provides safe and efficient transport. The Gautrain runs from the O R Tambo International Airport to various parts of Johannesburg including Sandton, Rosebank and the Johannesburg City Centre. With its cool winters and fantastic sunshine-filled summers, Johannesburg is an ideal destination to visit throughout the year.

Visitors’ visas are for international travellers (citizens of other countries) who have permanent residence outside South Africa and who wish to visit the country on a temporary basis for tourism or business purposes for a period of 90 days or less. A visa simply indicates that your application has been reviewed at a South African embassy, mission or consulate and that the consular officer has determined you are eligible to enter the country for a specific purpose.
The visa will allow you to travel to a South African port of entry where an immigration official will then determine if you are allowed to enter South Africa and for how long you can stay for that particular visit. Visitors are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visas were issued.

On entry to South Africa, a visa is considered to be a visitor’s permit. The permit’s period of validity is calculated from the date of entry into the country and will be set out under the heading “conditions” on the visa label. You must ensure that you apply for the correct visa/permit. Entry in the country may be refused if the purpose of visit was not correctly stated. Requirements for visitor’s visas differ from country to country (click here to see which countries are currently exempt), and the requirements are subject to change.

As each mapplication is treated as an individual case and you should make enquiries with your nearest South African mission or consulate abroad or any office of the Department of Home Affairs to see whether or not you are required to apply for a visa. Remember that there is a fee charged for issuing a visa, and you should check the cost with the office as well as this is updated annually. The fee is payable in different currencies in different countries.

Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you onto a flight back to your home country. Foreigners with long term status (work permits/permit residence) in the neighboring countries who transit the Republic to return to their employment or residence are not subject to the transit visa, provided they are in possession of proof of their status. Please follow the link provided for further information on obtaining South African visas.


  • Delegates are encouraged to book shuttle services from the airport to their accommodation.
  • Most hotels or bed and breakfasts offer shuttle services.
  • Car hire companies: Avis, Bidvest, Europcar
  • Uber is available in Johannesburg


Personal security is an individual responsibility and using common sense and being alert can reduce risks. Like any other big city throughout the world, Johannesburg has its share of crime, particularly petty and opportunistic crime. In most areas of the Johannesburg it is unwise to walk on the streets at night and it is also preferable not to walk alone during the day.

When in doubt about safety risks, please talk to conference organisers and South African conference delegates who are familiar with the city.


  • Origins Centre
  • Constitution Hill
  • Apartheid MuseumLion Park
  • Soweto
  • Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves
  • Lilliesleaf Farm
  • Rosebank Art & Craft Market
  • Market Theatre
  • Orbit jazz club
  • Arts on Main, Maboneng precint.


A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required only for travellers coming from, or in transit through, infected countries. Tetanus-Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella should be reviewed and updated if necessary. Malaria is not a threat in urban areas unless you visit any game park or go trekking or hiking.

The Campus Health and Wellness Centre at Wits is located on the Lower Level of the Student Union Building (Matrix).


Conference Emergency Numbers – Campus Emergency Numbers

  • Wits Campus Control: +27 11 717 4444/6666
  • Wits Campus Health and Wellness Centre: +27 11 717 9111/13
  • Wits Traffic Office: +27 11 717 1882/3
  • Wits International Office: +27 11 717 1054


Off- campus Emergency Numbers

  • Milpark Hospital: +27 11 480 5600
  • Garden City Hospital: +27 11 495 5000
  • Ambulance: 10177 or 082 911
  • Police (Flying Squad): 10111


  • www.wits.ac.za
  • City of Johannesburg Official Website
  • Johannesburg Tourism
  • South Africa Tourism
  • Travelling to SA
  • South African National Parks

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