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After The Last Ship

A Post-colonial Reconstruction of Diaspora

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Audrey Fernandes-Satar

After the Last Ship illustrates the author’s own history, as well as its connection to the history of other women and children who left India and made the journey across the Kala Pani, the Indian Ocean, and lived as migrants in other countries. In this book the author brings greater understanding of how subjectivities are shaped through embodied experiences of ‘mixed race’. She bears witness to the oppressive policies of the fascist government in Portugal in the 1960’s and 1970’s and the effects of displacement and exile, by reconstructing her own passage from India to Mozambique and finally to Australia. Further, the author shows the devastation that labels such as ‘half-caste’, ‘canecos’ and ‘monhe’ can cause, when they eat at your flesh, your being, and your body. She sheds light on how identity and culture can serve as vehicles of empowerment, how experiences of belonging can germinate and take root post-diaspora.
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Chapter Three: To remember myself

Extract

I watch herEvery movementI watch herEvery gestureI watch her

Representing the body

I watch her, my MotherShe sits in the chair with a homemade fan that gently sways from side to side it is one of those hot daysI watch her,Covering every movement, her feet lie resting softly on the floorPartially covered by the shoes I can see her small toe uncovered exposed the small nail is black it has discoloured in the miles she has walked in no-sole shoes. She adjusts the top layer of the shoe to cover her toes this is difficult I know this is difficult as I have done the same time and time again wearing no sole shoes makes it difficult.

It is one of those hot daysI feel the shame flooding over me.I feel her shame cutting like a knife.

Shame is not soft

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