Shifting Identities: A Contemporary Dimension of Cultural Hybridization in Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup

Chikamnene Onyinye Akanegbu, Ukamaka Chinemerem Ihevueme


The realities of belongingness especially in Postcolonial Africa is rooted in the quest to migrate for
greener pastures in continental Europe and America as a result of poverty, natural disasters or social
unrest. African writers among others creatively document fictional experiences of migrant characters
who engaged to embark on daring journeys as a strategy to breakout from lingering political insecurity
and economic hardship of their respective countries. This paper re-examines the concept of migration as
an empowering tool, for Gordimer in The Pickup, the feeling of fulfilment even in an unknown rustic
Arab environment as against an emotionally sterile and unproductive life in a well-off background as
represented by her female protagonist gives a sense of belongingness. It investigates the complexities of
emotional disconnectedness and dislocation before migration. It also attempts a contrastive inquiry of
characters who grow out of emotional displacement and are able to re-define their sense of home and
belonging and others who remain displaced as a result of external influences. This paper concludes by
creating a more encompassing understanding of belongingness and migration.


Migration, Identity, Cultural Hybridity, Postcolonial Theory, Displacement.

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