An exploration of the link between selected women’s discourses and literacy resources in the working class township settlement of Wesbank, South Africa
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South Africa became a globally recognised democratic country in need of a development agenda after its first democratic elections were held in 1994. Democratising South Africa, however, requires rigorous attempts to open up spaces for and by the previously silenced and marginalised segments of society to become active and participatory citizens. Within the framework of New Literacy Studies and a “sociolinguistics of mobility” (Blommaert 2010), this study explored the link between selected discourses and literacy resources used by three groups of Coloured women in the working class township of Wesbank in Cape Town, South Africa. The study was framed as ethnographic, qualitative research and Appraisal Theory (a branch of Systemic Functional Linguistics) was applied to analyse the identified discourses. Based on the research findings, I also identified what literacy resources these women used for the purposes of empowering one another and the broader space of Wesbank. In addition, I proceeded to label several “transportable literacies” that my research participants from this hybrid community – where everyone “…is a migrant from elsewhere” (Dyers 2008) - appeared to be sharing in order to co-create the spaces which they use in Wesbank.