'Until lions have their own historians, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’
‘In Africa, when an old person dies it is like a library burning down’
Africa!Ignite believes that stories are powerful and significant. We see value in giving people; particularly individuals and groups from rural and marginalised communities whose powerful stories are so often unheard of, opportunities to share their stories with the world.
We are grateful and honoured that world-renowned story-teller Gcina Mhlophe; who is a director of Africa!Ignite, has agreed to be our story-telling champion. We have trained 20 youths across KwaZulu-Natal as story-tellers, and this enables us to strengthen our story-telling substantially in 2012 and beyond.
We believe that we have the following experience and strengths that enable us to gather and share stories powerfully, beautifully and with integrity:
We have the competency to gather stories and facilitate individual and community story-telling with honesty, sensitivity and in non-directive, open-ended ways. We have trained youths to gather stories in this way;
- We have extensive experience of enabling individuals and communities to transform these stories into inspirational tapestries and other works of art;
- We are able to create beautifully written and designed publications with powerful and evocative photographs;
- We have developed a ‘My life’ journal format that enables youths to tell their stories through a process that facilitates self-discovery and goal setting;
- We have experience of involving youths in editing and lay-out of publications that tell their stories;
- Through our connection with Gcina and other story-telling and drama specialists, we are able to train youths and adults to present stories powerfully through the use of their voices, bodies, music, dance and puppetry.
Tapestries Telling Stories
We have repeatedly worked with artists and crafters to create stunningly beautiful, beaded, stitched or painted art ‘tapestry’ wall-hangings to capture stories and give a voice to rural and marginalized communities who have a strong tradition of telling stories through images and colours.
In 2008, crafters from all districts of KwaZulu-Natal and the North West created 20 door-sized tapestries to celebrate a ten-year partnership between the education departments of the two provinces, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and MiET Africa;
In 2010, artists from five South Durban locations (Umlazi, Lamontville, Wentworth, Merebank and Isipingo) created tapestries to capture the stories of their communities;
In 2010, rural KZN crafters created five three-metre long tapestries for the Cape Town 2010 Evangelical Conference in the Cape Town ICC;
In 2010, Ilembe communities created two tapestries that tell the stories of their district’s past and its vision for the future. These were commissioned by ACSA.
Community Story-Telling Workshops
We bring large community groups together and use a range of tried-and-tested tools to ensure fair participation, stimulate creativity and elicit stories. This was used in the various ‘Tapestries telling stories’ projects as well as in a number of rural research projects.
BURNING BRIGHT – Extraordinary women of KwaZulu-Natal’ showcases twelve women from diverse cultures and walks of life. It pays tribute to women as the strong glue that holds societies together (2009).
‘WE ARE US – Voices of South Durban’s youth.’ The voices of 50 South Durban youths have been pulled together into a publication that was co-edited and designed by youths. The South Durban ABM, VOPAK and Mondi funded this publication (2012).
‘OUR TIME TO SHINE – Voices of the Valley’s youth.’ A similar publication to the previous one, drawing from 20 youths’ journals and implemented in partnership with the SEM Trust (2012).
Using story-Telling To Celebrate Rural Kwazulu-Natal
In partnership with foremost story-teller Gcina Mhlophe; we are celebrating the history, culture, craft traditions and role models (in particular women crafters) from across KwaZulu-Natal’s rural districts through story-telling. Twenty youths have been trained to gather the stories of their districts and the stories are being showcased in iThubalethu and other publications, art works, story-telling events, drama and music. Click here to download file of stories