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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


CHRISTOPHER, Chantal; JOUBERT, Robin Wendy  and  PILLAY, Mershen. "Walking with a Smile but Her Shoulders are Hanging Down" Exploring "Coloured" Women's Occupational Resistance in the Face of Personal, Historied and Societal Suffocation. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2021, vol.51, n.4, pp.4-12. ISSN 2310-3833.

Women in South African townships remain an invisible population in terms of understanding their lives and the implications on wellbeing. "Coloured" women's narratives problematise and critically explore their lived realities as socially constructed oppression that has not been addressed following the end of legislated apartheid. The politics of the personal, display the matrix of domination at play, in a specific sociocultural milieu while contrapuntally illustrating their standing up to resist capitulation. These actions and activities are occupations of resistance, occupations that are in opposition to, and possibly a reaction to, perceived injustice as well as the suppression of occupational choice and self-determinism. Occupations ofresistance are hard work, performed with or without public acknowledgement while fostering perseverance to cope, to feel in control and, against the odds, to be resilient. The suffocating conditions that belie the narratives illustrate the lack of adequate solutions to these issues and call for a new humanism. These women's narratives allow us to envision authentic public health discourses that recognise grassroots explanations and solutions.

Keywords : Coloured women; occupations of resistance; new humanisms; women's suffocation.

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