Hybrid Identity in “To My Children’s Children”

Autobiographies in South Africa “very often explores identity which is hybrid, expressing the heterogeneous or diverse contexts (e.g., urban and rural; local and overseas) in which the writer is placed . . . and which impart to him or her an unstable, shifting identity” (p. ix). Using this statement as a point of departure, write an essay on the usefulness of the term hybrid to describe Sindiwe Magona’s identity as portrayed in To My Children’s Children. Discuss uncertainty and in-betweenness, as well as the author’s use of the phrase “losses, lacks, lapses.” Do not simply retell the story. Rather, talk about it in critical terms. For example, speculate on the polarities that form the author’s emerging identity. Consider how the author grapples with disparate elements and influences in the world from which she must make herself. Discuss the choices she faces and how she deals with them. Formulate your response in your own words. When it is appropriate to use quotations or paraphrase from your text materials or other sources, be sure to cite your sources properly by giving page numbers in parentheses or using footnotes or endnotes.

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