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Identity Construction and (Mis) Perceptions on Being Black in South Africa

Unpacking Socio-Economic, Spatial, and Political Dimensions in the South Durban Basin


Urmilla Bob, Munashe Furusa and William A. Little

Identity Construction and (Mis) Perceptions on Being Black in South Africa: Unpacking Socio-Economic, Spatial, and Political Dimensions in the South Durban Basin presents the research findings of a two-year empirically based study on the politics of race, ethnicity, and identity in Durban, South Africa, among Black or non-White groups, specifically the historical racial categories of African, Indian, and Colored. Research on race and identity politics tends to focus on Black-White relations. Thus, there is a gap in our understanding of ethnic and racial interactions among Blacks. This study challenges the tendency to reduce race to a Black-White binary. The research also recognizes that the examination of differences within and between groups is necessary to understand the complexity of the issues. Its key contributions are in relation to examining the question of identity politics (in terms of nationality, ethnicity, race, class, and gender); unpacking hierarchical and spatial relationships and interactions among and between communities and groups in the home, work places, social arenas, and other public spaces; and highlighting points of conflict/contestation. The main focus is on differential experiences, realities, and perceptions among and between groups.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bob, Urmilla, author. Identity construction and (mis) perceptions on being Black in South Africa: unpacking socio-economic, spatial, and political dimensions in the South Durban Basin / Urmilla Bob, Munashe Furusa, William A. Little. pages cm. — (American university studies X. Political science; Vol. 68) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Blacks—Race identity—South Africa—Durban. 2. South Africa—Social conditions—1994–. 3. South Africa—Race relations. I. Furusa, Munashe. II. Little, William A. III. Title. IV. Series: American university studies. Series X, Political science; v. 68. DT1758.B63 305.800968—dc21 2013042386 ISBN 978-1-4331-1721-3 (hardcover) ISBN 978-1-4539-0971-3 (ebook pdf) ISBN 978-1-4331-3600-9 (epub) ISBN 978-1-4331-3601-6 (mobi) ISSN 0740-0470 Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

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