Fahmida's worlds: Gender, home and the Gujarati Muslim Diaspora in mid-20th century South Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the journalistic writing of Zuleikha Mayat, a housewife living in Durban, South Africa who wrote a weekly column for the newspaper Indian Views between 1956 and 1963. It explores how this body of work drew upon, and constructed, conceptions of belonging and unsettlement in relation to political and customary practices shaping the lives of Muslim women within her diasporic and class milieu. Through opinion, commentary, historical narrative and allegorical fiction, her published writings moralised an ideal of the 'domestic' to bridge the worlds of household and nation as domains of action and concern. Falling within a period of expanding apartheid legislation, when the state abandoned its determined push for the 'repatriation' of 'Asiatics' to instead incorporate 'Indians' as a unitary racial group through a specialized political bureaucratic structure, the column 'Fahmida's World' can be seen as an endeavour to imagine conceptions of belonging, home and identity for her readership and to grapple with political exclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-643
Number of pages17
JournalMan in India
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Gujarati
  • Identity
  • Indian
  • Muslim
  • Politics
  • Resistance
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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