Altered State: A conversation with James Newitt

One of the most vivid memories from my school years was the arrival of two new students. They were a brother and sister from Sudan. Growing up in a rural town on the outskirts of Sydney’s suburban sprawl, the cultural diversity that defined its suburbs had yet to infiltrate my town’s population – one that remained largely Euro-centric with links to Australia’s colonial settlement or the waves of migration that followed the World Wars. Their arrival brought with them a new reality of Africa. A knowledge of the second Sudanese Civil War that had been raging since the year of my birth but which had remained largely outside of mainstream reportage. Through a shared language of youth, they both quickly made friends, and initial impressions were dissipated for the normality of school life. This is to simplify the process of assimilation.

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