Nadia Kamies completed her PhD in Historical and Heritage Studies in April 2019 at the University of Pretoria. Her PhD Thesis, Shame and Respectability: A narrative inquiry into Cape Town’s ‘coloured’ families through photographs, cultural practices and oral histories (c. 1950 to 2016), investigates the notion of ‘colouredness’ in South Africa by thinking through representation and attendant ideas of shame and respectability. Through the use of family photographs as a site of resistance, the thesis debates the genealogy of ‘coloured’ identity in South Africa, from its roots in slavery through apartheid, and shows how it continues to impact on a post-apartheid society.
Her work in the non-governmental sector includes programmes for children’s rights, early childhood development and youth empowerment through music, in townships which continue to be ravaged by the legacy of apartheid and slavery.
Her background as an occupational therapist and creative writer informs her approach to narrative research and she is committed to telling stories as a way of addressing the injustices of the past. To this end she has contributed to exhibitions which address slavery, apartheid and racism and how they continue to inform the present, at museums in the Western Cape.
I see culture, the ways we live and perceive the world, as an important conduit for social change. As a creative writer I believe that the narratives – the oral histories, photographs and cultural practices – of different communities have the power to shape and create positive social transformation and change the world we live in.
Through a multi-disciplinary approach, I believe that CAST can bring together people and communities with different perspectives and direct us towards a more just and inclusive society.