Home Institution

Tulane University

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy


This paper incorporates both background information on place, human identity, and the African term Ubuntu, as well as personal stories from interviewees, to attempt to understand how both the physical location as well as human relationships aid in the growing formation of one’s identity. The stories synthesized in this paper come from individuals living in Cato Manor, as well as my own personal experiences living in Colorado, Louisiana, and South Africa. I conducted six interviews with participants ranging in age and gender. I asked them to share their stories with me when answering questions about their personal relationship to Cato Manor, their relationships with other people living in Cato Manor, and who they felt they are as a person. I then used their stories as well as my own story to begin to understand how “place,” both in the physical sense as well as the feeling of belonging to a group, plays a role in the growing formation of identity. Through this autoethnographic lens, I have learned about the complexities of identity formation for both the individuals I interviewed in Cato Manor and for myself, and I have outlined these findings through a narrative approach. As a result, I now better understand how the different places I have lived, as well as the relationships I have formed, have shaped and continue to shape my identity, and I have a better understanding how place and Ubuntu aid in the growing formation of the identities of the six individuals I interviewed.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Community-Based Research | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Article Location