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Social change NGO Heartlines has launched its latest values-inspired campaign, What’s Your Story? Aimed at tackling some of South Africa’s deepest divides.


The campaign aims to build understanding, trust and reconciliation through the process of storytelling. And perfect timed for National Heritage Day… the time is ripe for an authentic conversation on diversity and racial tolerance.

“We live in a world of stereotypes – until we get to know each other’s stories, we will treat each other according to the opinions and assumptions that we make. The only way to break this pattern is to get to know each other’s stories; only then we will see the human being behind the stereotype, this is the way forward for our country,” says Heartlines founder, Dr Garth Japhet.

Through the sharing of personal stories on multi-media platforms What’s Your Story hopes to address the suspicion, fear, prejudice and racism that plague our interactions with one another.

“Stories are all around us, they are what move us, challenge us, anger us, make us feel alive and inspire us. We use stories to make sense of life and the world in which we live,” says Japhet.

The event was attended by actor Israel Sipho Matseke Zulu (formerly known as Israel Makoe and affectionately as Ma-Orange), who shared his personal story of growing up with a single mother in Alex, his jail time and subsequent rise to fame.

Often playing the role of baddy or gangster in TV shows and movies such as Gaz’lam, Tsotsi, Four Corners, iNumber Number and Hard to Get, Zulu is no stranger to being stereotyped both on screen and in real life.

Zulu’s story, which is intertwined with South African urban history, his reputation and ownership of the bad boy role in films, countered by his warm and gentle persona captures the heart of What’s Your Story.

“A person goes deeper than any first impressions they inspire, and Israel’s narrative is particularly relevant in demonstrating the power of storytelling to engage, transform and facilitate empathy,” says Japhet.

What’s Your Story can be accessed here – visitors are able to watch, read, listen and act as a part of the campaign.

Everybody living in South Africa is invited to write and submit their own personal stories to the platform. Community organisations, NGOs, religious groups and companies are also able to request facilitator guides and workshop resources.


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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

1 comment

  1. This may also interest. If you are keen to share your story, or hear that of others, take a look at the Open Community Encounters group on Facebook. It is a space to meet new people, to hear and to be heard. Too break barriers and build bridges.

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