In sub-Saharan Africa forced migration is increasing year by year;
repatriation invariably fails as a complete solution to displacement.
Post-return negotiation of integration has been shown to be a contested
process at both national and local level. Therefore, it is apposite that
closer consideration be focused on whether and/or how refugees and
returnees inform both actual national policy and practice on the ground
and also the debate on territoriality, belonging and the nation. In this
paper discussion centres on the role/s of returnees in the shaping of
the Eritrean nation and national identity.
This paper sketches certain aspects of academic discussions on identity,
belonging, location, space and place and the influence or otherwise of
history and memory on national identity, especially as expressed through
the metaphors of landscape - landscapes of loss and landscapes of
renewal. The role of the State in fashioning identity is considered.
Paper presented at the ASA UK Biennial Conference 11th-13th September 2000 ‘Africa: Past, Present and Future’, 14 pp.