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What to expect at Joburg’s first ever, highly anticipated Human Library

Human Library

The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.

It’s a place where real people are on loan to readers. A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered and the SACAP festival of learning will be hosting two unique Human Library events in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The Human Library was initiated in Copenhagen in 2000 to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. 18 years down-the-line and the Human Library concept has spread to many countries internationally and even locally in late 2017.

The Human Library is where books are people, reading is a conversation and difficult questions are expected, appreciated and encouraged. The books represent social groups who face prejudice, stereotyping and stigma, or who have endured experiences that are hard to talk about.

The Human Library creates a safe space for their stories to unfold in order for an authentic exploration of the ‘titles’, which can range from social status to sexuality, health to trauma and loss, religion to politics.

“Dialogue opens up opportunity for engagement, the kind of engagement that enables us to better understand each other’s humanity”, says Dr Laura Fisher, Head of Strategic Development at SACAP.

“All of us come from different families, have unique backgrounds as well as special and sometimes unusual life experiences. Dialogue creates space where we come to know each other better, come to understand our shared humanity and move toward deeper sensitivity and empathy for each-other. Holding dialogue around issues currently affecting society does the same, opening the possibility for shared experience and deepened insight and understanding that enables us to innovate together.”

In Johannesburg titles will include:

  • The forgotten 44% (Stories of a male survivor of sexual abuse);
  • I am not my Prison Sentence or Tattoos (It takes a community to change a broken story into one of hope and redemption);
  • Polygamy, Infertility and Embryo Killing (Difficult questions about available life creation options and choices I made);
  • Abusing the Abuser (The impact staying in an abusive relationship had on both me and my children).

At the Cape Town event titles will include:

  • Neglected & Abused (Living with Hope after being neglected, physically and sexually abused);
  • HIV+ and Gay (The 50 Shades of Reality);
  • Depression (Preacher living with the Black Dog);
  • Dyslexia (Living in a world without reading and writing).

Each Human Library event will be taking place during the SACAP Learning Festival. There will be a total of 12 titles at each event the above mentioned are just the highlights of each.

The 2018 Festival of Learning hosted by SACAP:

Johannesburg, 17-18 May
Venue: SACAP Campus, Rosebank
Times: 17 May from 5:30pm to 8:30 pm / 18 May from 9 am to 5 pm
Human Library: 18 May from 11:00 am to 3 pm

Cape Town, 24-25 May
Venue: SACAP Campus, Claremont
Times: 24 May from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm / 25 May from 9 am to 5 pm
Human Library: 25 May from 11:00 am to 3 pm

For more event and ticketing information check out their website here.


Sources: Supplied (Press Release)
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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