The Last Country is an immersive 50-minute theatrical production. The script was created using 30 oral histories collected by migrant women fieldworkers in the city of Durban, South Africa. The oral histories consist of 10 stories from women requesting asylum seekers permits, 10 from women who have obtained various kinds of entry visas, and 10 stories from South African women who have come from surrounding rural areas to live one of the “hostels” in the city centre. Sitting in a circle with the actors the audience intimately listens to experiences of leaving home and arriving in Durban, where the women find various strategies in which to make the city a place something like home. The script carefully weaves together experiences of struggle, pain, humour, hope and resilience in ways that explore the complexities, commonalities and differences of migrant women in the city. The play was performed around the city for both city officials and at public venues. The Last Country is part of a broader research and advocacy project, funded by the Cities Alliance, titled Migration and the Inclusive City. This project is a collaborative partnership between two civil society organisations, the Democracy Development Program and the African Solidarity Network, and the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. The research produced creative public engagement outputs, such as The Last Country, as well as a strategic research reportfor the city on inclusion, gender and migration in Durban.
Researchers: Kira Erwin (Durban University of Technology), Nomkhosi Gama (Durban University of Technology), Jeremy Grest (Transformation Journal); Theatre practitioners: Mpume Mthombeni and Neil Coppen; Partners: Democracy Development Program and the African Solidarity Network