Ajohche Awungjia

Fellow: Department of Linguistics, PhD

Ajohche Awungjia is currently pursuing her PhD in Linguistics under the supervision of Prof Zannie Bock at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She acquired her B.A. (Summa cum Laude), B.A. Honours in Linguisitcs (Cum Laude) and M.A (Cum Laude) in Linguistics also at UWC. Ajohche’s main research interests include the relationships between everyday language practices (storytelling), identity and technology/social media within a globalised world. Her Masters project titled “I am a Queen”: The (re)fashioning African female identities in everyday storytelling” looked at how a group of five women used narrative structure and strategies in their naturally occurring, everyday conversations to challenge what they perceived to be hegemonic accounts of African women.

Ajohche found that the stories the participants were telling in their offline conversations, mirrored those on their YouTube channel in terms of the overarching theme of questioning existing gender roles from their positon as ambitious women with a desire for fame, admiration and financial prosperity, revealing, in the process, the blurred lines that exist between online/offline spaces. Ajohche’s PhD thus aims to extend this study by exploring the ways in which pieces of discourse are resemiotized or recontextualized between online/offline spaces in the participants’ work of rewriting the African woman’s narrative. She aims to take a critical look at their individual and group’s discourse and identity processes against globalisation and neoliberal narratives of growth, success and ambition. The overall aim is to highlight the role of the mundane and seemingly insignificant practices of everyday life in the materialising and endurance of dominant sociocultural and political narratives.

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