A narrative analysis of Deafhood in South Africa

  • Ruth Z. Morgan


This article uses narrative analysis to explore the narrative construction of Deafhood (Ladd, 2003) in the South African post-apartheid context. The data comprise five life stories of Deaf South Africans. The theoretical framework includes Ladd’s notion of Deafhood as belonging and becoming and De Certeau’s (1984) notions of space and place. The specific questions addressed in the analysis are: (i) How do the narrators transform school as a place into a space of enacting Deafhood in terms of belonging and becoming? (ii) How do the narrators enact Deafhood as adults in relation to spaces in terms of their process of belonging, becoming and maintaining ‘Deaf? The analysis details how the narrators construct Deafhood in boarding schools for d/Deaf learners and/ or in adulthood. The findings suggest that, although the narrators are of different ages and ethnicities, there is a focus on Deafhood as a belonging and becoming that suggests a core cultural self-identification as in other minority cultures that require an essentialised identity for political purposes. All the narrators use their agency in order to create spaces in which to belong and become. Through belonging and becoming, they gain a communal sense of Deafhood.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614