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20 May 2016

Paper Alert: Being Authentic is the New Image

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It is my pleasure to announce that I have a new paper out: “Being authentic is the new image: a qualitative study on the authenticity constructions and self-images of Christian millennials in Africa”The paper is published in Mental Health, Religion, and Culture via Routledge. The research was part of my M.Phil research on youth identity crisis at the University of Stellenbosch two years ago. This paper is my third research report on the experience of identity crisis among young people of faith in South Africa. In particular, the paper focused on their authenticity and self-constructions. I was interested to see their patterns of self-discovery, which was a coping strategy they employed to remain true to themselves whilst splitting into new “authentic” images of themselves in the forms of the borderline self, the promissory self, the hyphenated self, and the religious self. From my findings, I tried to look at the implications of this experience by proposing an African conceptualization of authenticity, which I argued must be understood by interpreting Africa’s voices of self-expression and images of self-definition, resonating within various African contexts. Below is the abstract:


The article is a qualitative study that focuses on the authenticity and self-constructions of Christian millennials in Africa. While exploring how 15 respondents manifested their authentic self-behaviours using a case study design, the hallmark of the study was to observe the common coping mechanism of self-regulation, adopted by respondents to deal with their internal crisis. This coping strategy was employed as they remained true to self by creating new “authentic” images of themselves in the forms of the borderline self, the promissory self, the hyphenated self, and the religious self. By implication, looking at the issue of authenticity from an African context has produced an African conceptualisation of authenticity. I argue that African authenticity can be understood by interpreting Africa’s voices of self-expression and images of self-definition, resonating within various African contexts in hope for some kind of cathartic and authentic living experience.

It is my honor to present to you my new work on authenticity and self-images. I am equally open to any question or comment on the paper. You can access the article without subscription here or download the free PDf here.

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