Often disconnected from their native taxonomies, the Présence Africaine was manifest in the secret syntactical structures through which other languages were spoken, in the stories and tales told to children, in religious practices and beliefs, in spiritual life, the arts, crafts, musical forms and rhythms of both slave and postemancipation societies. Africa, the signified that could not be represented directly in slavery, remained and remains the unspoken, unspeakable "presence" in Caribbean culture and, arguably, elsewhere in the Americas. It is "hiding" behind every verbal inflection, every narrative twist.... Pedagogically, the Présence Africaine revised or signified or "reread" every Western text, including the Bible.... The heuristic goal, if not the reconstruction of Western civilization, was and remains the representation of the African Diasporic presence.
"The African Diaspora as Construct and Lived Experience"
In the following paragraphs, I give a brief overview of the context that contributes to my identity as a stranger. Foreignness among others characterizes one's exilic state. Having been born wearing a darker skin color in apartheid South Africa meant becoming a foreigner from the moment of birth, ironically a stranger in the land of one's ancestors.
Such foreignness was compounded in baby girls' lives given the underlying African cultural perception that a girl child "naturally" belonged to her future husband's home, a situation that also privileged boy children over girl children in terms of education (Masenya ["'... But You Shall Let Every Girl Live': Reading Exodus 1:1-2:10 the Bosadi (Womanhood) Way," Old Testament Essays Vol 15] 2002: [page] 99)
My gender continues to determine my place in a patriarchal context. Life in the latter context is typified by constant fear on account of the pervasive acts of violence perpetuated against female bodies. One's sex still has a say in the place where and the extent to which one can exercise one's God-gifting in ministry. Whether one is at home or in the public sphere of work, church, and the broader society, one remains an exile -- despite fourteen years of independence in South Africa!
"Exiled in My Own Home: An African-South African Perspective on the Bible"