Creative storytelling helps the people that we work with to have control over the narratives that shape their identities and the tools to build their sense of self and pathways towards belonging. It is a process that through listening and learning aims to drive personal and collective transformation in people’s lives.
Oral storytelling is also an integral part of our peer support process at the Adonis Musati Project. Storytelling is an important traditional medium that at AMP, allows Peer Counsellors to tackle sensitive and culturally taboo subjects such as gender-based violence and female genital mutilation in a non-threatening manner. The inclusion of photography, video and audio enables our Peer Counsellors to further engage AMP clients, and leads to dialogue, reflection and action in our Peer Support Programme groups.
Storytelling can also be used to bring the experiences and narratives of refugees and asylum-seekers into public debates, to help challenge assumptions, provide understanding, and encourage social cohesion.
In South Africa, current debates in the media and politics focus on establishing who does, and does not, belong and migrants are often blamed for social problems. Many people feel alienated from the place where they live—and do not feel that they belong. This project aims to use storytelling to generate new bottom-up narratives about the everyday experience of inclusion and exclusion. The stories, which were created through an in-depth participatory process, document diverse experiences of living in Cape Town in people's own words and images. The stories help us to connect with others sharing our city, whom we might pass by everyday but whose life experiences are far from our own.
Speaking Our Truth
These four powerful and brave digital stories address intimate partner violence and gender-based violence, moving from victim to survivour, and the resilience it takes to survive in spite of deeply entrenched gender norms and structural obstacles. Whilst the stories are being shared in educational and advocacy settings, the primary aim of this storytelling process was to bring together clients from our Women’s Support Group as a means for them to connect with other women who share similar experiences, heal from past trauma, and gain confidence and storytelling skills.
Youth-Led Transformative Story-Work
An integral part of our youth programming is to create processes of self-making and transformation for young people with migration backgrounds. We undertake story-work that enables reflection and learning on questions of identities and belonging. The youth-led transformative story-work is therefore about catalysing processes of self-development and collective consciousness raising for these young people. They do this through collaborating with other youth and by translating new found knowledge and insights to take our youth programming forward.
When South Africa Became Home
These stories, produced with support from StoryCenter's Silence Speaks Initiative, touch on experiences of war, trauma, intimate partner violence, loss and resilience. In an aim to spotlight the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face whilst trying to make a new home for themselves in South Africa, the stories are shared in AMP's Peer Counselling Groups and advocacy meetings, as well as at screenings with local partners and service providers.