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where he met my mother, so I had a British passport. It was easy to go to
the UK.
I managed to get British ancestry through my mother who was born over
Finally got round to doing so when I was twenty-seven. Quite late. Prob-
ably prompted by a girl who I worked with here, who went to London in
My father was English, he was born in Cornwall.…
So you already had a British passport, by nature of descent?
Already had a British passport, ja, that was from my father. My wife [is]
South African and South African passports on both kids as well. Ja, so I
just basically packed up and left.
1950s, illustrates just how easy it was for her, along with her British-born partner, to
move to London from South Africa:
Well, I went with my partner. Um, and, um… and we bought our tickets
He was from the UK?
He was from the UK, he's got a British passport. So he didn't have any
visa, whatever, issues, and neither did I. So, we could … we didn't really
need to make … formal plans.… We could just buy our tickets and go,
which is what we did.
The possession of British nationality through descent thus enables whites who have
it to freely move between the UK and South Africa, fueling a transnational culture of
mobility in which the body's occupation of any given space can always be contingent,
as significantly more motile than his partner and children—who were eventually able to
join him in London, but not right away.
Ancestral Visas
The possession of relatively close UK ancestry also clearly functions to enact whiteness
machinically through motility:
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