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Negotiating identity and belonging in a new space: Opportunities and experiences of African youths in South Australia
journal contributionposted on 04.08.2020, 00:00 authored by William MudeWilliam Mude, L Mwanri
This paper explores how African youths negotiate and form an identity in Australia. A qualitative inquiry was undertaken with 31 African youths using a focus group and individual interviews. Data analysis was guided by a framework for qualitative research. These youths negotiated multiple identities, including that of race, gender, ethnicity and origin. 'Freedom and opportunity', 'family relationships', 'neither belonging here nor there' and the ability to cope against the paradox of resourcefulness in Australia' appeared to be important themes in negotiating individual identities. An opportunity was used to acknowledge privileges available in Australia relative to Africa. However, the extent to which individuals acted on these opportunities varied, affecting a person's sense of purpose, identity formation and belonging in Australia. The loss of social networks following migration and cultural differences between African and Australian societies shaped the experience of belonging and identity formation. These findings are crucial as they indicate the need for policies and practices that consider experiences of youths as they form their identity in Australia. Further studies with a large number of participants are needed to explore these issues further among African youths in Australia.