Experiences of those who left their homeland

2013-07-17 00:00

LONG-STANDING readers of The Witness will remember the name of Eve Hemming who, for 10 years, was a columnist for the paper, writing on a variety of subjects. One of the main ones, both before and after she left Hilton for a new life in Auckland, New Zealand, was leaving the land of her birth and settling elsewhere.

“Writing for me has been a way of putting emotion into words,” she says, speaking on one of her regular visits back to South Africa.

“At the time of leaving, I wrote about the build-up, then the honeymoon period, and some of the pain we went through. But the longer we were away, obviously the less significant it would be to people here.” So she stopped writing her columns, but moved on to a book.

Scatterlings: A Tapestry of Afri-Expat Tales is the result. It contains much of Hemming’s story, but also that of others who have left their homelands and gone elsewhere, for all kinds of reasons. “There are the experiences of about 80 people in the book, some long, some short. It’s divided into sections, dealing with various aspects,” Hemming explains.

“I can’t separate working it out for myself from the whole project. I started with a lot of anger, anger that things worked out the way they had. At the start, when I left, I wanted everyone to leave with me. The book isn’t a diary, but it factors in the emotional turmoil and the roller -coaster ride that is emigration. The early feedback has been positive: people have found it very healing. Both those staying and those going.”

Hemming has made a point of including a wide variety of perspectives in Scatterlings, not just those of white, middle-class South Africans, which is how she describes herself. “There are people who live here, who live abroad, people who left and came back, and even those who left, came back and left again. There’s a black British woman who came here and now lives in Australia; people from cross-cultural marriages. There are people who left ‘accidentally’ by going away to study and then staying.” Hemming talks about the “waves of leaving”, those who left at different times, for different reasons, but insists she refused to include the racists, those who supported apartheid and still wave the old flag. And she is not trying to encourage people either to leave or to stay.

The title, with its echoes of Johnny Clegg, appeals to her because the word scatterlings means vagabonds, those without a settled home. Hemming says the research and writing, seeing all sides of the question, and sharing other people’s stories, has been cathartic for her. She hopes other people will experience the same.

• Scatterlings: A Tapestry of Afri-Expat Tales, published by XLibris, is available from the author at eve.epiphany@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/groups/444149872274109/ or www.amazon.com, as a book or e-book.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.