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Power of the Word (South Africa)

ImaginingOtherwise. 2020/2021

Imagine being taught in a language that’s not your own.

Imagine internalising partial stories of the histories of your language and your culture.

Imagine the value of learning how your everyday words are and can be a means of resistance.

Consider the power of youth activists learning through the arts about complex stories of language, belonging and place.

Welcome to POW: Youth to the Power of the Word

South Africa’s complex language politics informs how its people participate in democracy, producing civic norms the retrace the historical but lasting hegemony of English and Afrikaans. Everyday tactics of youth resistance to these norms have reverberated across history in creative and effective social movements. And it is young people expressing their own linguistic citizenship that POW (Power of Word) takes as its source of energy.

POW is implemented under the auspices of the Changing the Story programme. In POW we take up the politics of ‘voice’ using peer-exchange as our driving ethos between two phase 2 Changing the Story projects:

· ImaginingOtherwise (IO) in Cape Town, which is an arts activism programme working with school-going young people, spearheaded by the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education and implemented in partnership with BottomUp; and

· Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba (ILL) in Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo, an independent youth land activist and environmental justice filmmaking project incubated by the Support Centre for Land Change (SCLC).

What we discovered in both of these projects confirmed that language and different forms of linguistic and/or semiotic citizenship were important vectors of power in social change movements in South Africa. In this context, full democratic participation is affected by the hegemony of English and a rural/urban divide. POW thus brings young creators from across these divides together to critically examine language, spatial politics, and activism. POW has been inspired by the recent work of linguists at the University of the Western Cape that has underscored the role of Kaaps – a historically devalued language in colonial and racist orders – as a living language for cultural and political expression. We hope to contribute in some way to this crucial work.

Our aim is to use creative arts engagement and peer exchange to address the question: what would a youth-led linguistic citizenship strategy look like?

ImaginingOtherwise, 2020/2021

The project brings rural and urban co-creators together with the intention of legacy-building for the living archive to be based at the ImaginingOtherwise Library for Social Change. Film, oral histories, and cross arts creative workshops will form part of a sharing of practices and inform the Word Fest in March 2022.

Partners: Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education and BottomUp with guest practitioners, supported by Dr ally walsh at the University of Leeds and Dr Scott Burnett at the University of Gothenburg.

POW is a short-term intervention aimed at building the skills, social capital, and partner networks of members while contributing to policy debates about language and social change. Look out for our twitter stories about youth engagement and the Power of the Word.

You can read more about both projects in these selected publications:

Walsh, A. & Burnett, S. (2021) Voicing ambiguities in the Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba co-creator collective. RIDE: Journal of Applied theatre. (Scott Burnett) https://doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2021.1888708  

Walsh, A., Sutherland, S., Visagie, A., & Routledge, P. (2020) ImaginingOtherwise: A glossary of arts education practice on the Cape Flats. ArtsPraxis Vol 7(2b). Available at: https://sites.google.com/nyu.edu/artspraxis/2020/volume-7-issue-2b/walsh-sutherland-visagie-routledge-imaginingotherwise


Resource Archive

Search or browse the resource archive for films, reports, toolkits and other resources produced by the Changing the Story and its commissioned projects. Items relating to South Africa are listed below:

TitleSummaryAuthorCategoriesTagsdoc_categories_hfilterdoc_tags_hfilter
The messiness of building community: Co-creation across lines of social differenceBlog (2020/01/08) The messiness of building community: Co-creation across lines of social differenceDr Aylwyn Walsh, Dr Scott Burnett, , , phase2 south-africa locationblog language-english subject-reflections
The Allegory of the FenceBlog (2019/10/31) The Allegory of the FencePrudence Nkomo, , , , phase2 south-africa changemakers locationblog language-english youth
Issie ChristoffelsIssie Christoffels loves the people of the Karoo. She remembers a hard youth, with very few opportunities: very few things to do, very little positive going on… Today she is …Issie Christoffels, , , event south-africa locationfilm language-english gender
Meet TaahirahMeet Taahirah, a Changing the Story Youth Research Board member from Cape Town, South Africa., , , south-africa changemakers youth-research-board locationfilm language-english
ImaginingOtherwise: Meet GomezThe ImaginingOtherwise project visited the Zeitz Mocaa museum as our final art-activism-educational event for this difficult year. Meet Gomez who is studying engineering and was fascinated by the architecture of …Gomez, , , , , event south-africa changemakers locationfilm subject-participatory-arts subject-reflections youth
Reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)Accurate shares her reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)., , , , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities subject-reflections
Getting a picture of the Cape Flats and the ImaginingOtherwise Youth Arts FestivalBlog (2020/04/08) Getting a picture of the Cape Flats and the ImaginingOtherwise Youth Arts FestivalAlexandra Sutherland, Ashley Visagie, Dr Aylwyn Walsh, , , , , event phase2 south-africa locationblog language-english subject-covid19 subject-reflections
Meet TaahirahTaahirah is 18 years old and from Cape Town South Africa. In this video Taahirah tells us more about her interests, inspirations and social engagement,, , , south-africa changemakers youth-research-board locationfilm language-english
New Project: Developing Youth Leadership for More Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Post-Conflict Countriesblog (2019/10/29) New Project: Developing Youth Leadership for More Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Post-Conflict CountriesLauren Wray, , , , , , kenya namibia phase1 rwanda south-africa locationblog language-english youth
Thyspunt: Khoisan HeritageBlog (2020/03/30) Thyspunt: Khoisan Heritage, , , , phase2 south-africa changemakers locationblog language-english subject-reflections
Permanent crisis of visibility: Young working-class CapetoniansEngage Journal 45: Class and Inequality explores issues of class, socio-economic disadvantage and inequality in relation to gallery education and engagement programmes and the related sector. Read Permanent crisis of …Ashley Visagie, Dr Aylwyn Walsh, Helene Rousseau, , , , phase2 south-africa locationarticle language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-4-education
Reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)Suggest shares his reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)., , , , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities subject-reflections
Phase One Critical Review: The Change-Makers (South Africa)In March 2018, Prof Chaya Herman, Dr Charity Meki-Kombe and Prof Stuart Taberner conducted a critical evaluation and review of Changing the Story Phase 1 project 'The Change-makers.' The report …Dr Charity Meki-Kombe, Prof Chaya Herman, Prof Stuart Taberner, , , , , , phase1 south-africa locationreport language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities sdg-4-education subject-reflections
ImaginingOtherwise Conversation SeriesThe #ImaginingOtherwise team hosted a series of webinars, or international conversations, about the value of co-creation and participation. Catch-up on all the episodes at your leisure.Alexandra Sutherland, Daniel Maposa, Ishtar Lakhani, Sarah Summers, , phase2 south-africa locationfilm language-english
Changing the Story Film nominated for Two National Research Film Awardsblog (2018/09/24) Changing the Story Film nominated for Two National Research Film Awards, , phase1 south-africa locationblog language-english
Voicing ambiguities in the Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba co-creator collectiveThis article authored by Aylwyn Walsh and Scott Burnett considers youth co-production in the context of the Changing the Story phase 1 project Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba. The participatory project conceives …Dr Aylwyn Walsh, Dr Scott Burnett, Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba, , , phase1 phase2 south-africa locationarticle language-english
Transrational Communication through Participatory ArtsHear from Prof Paul Cooke and Dr Lou Harvey in conversation with Luke McFarline on their paper 'Transrational Communication through Participatory Arts with South African Youth.Dr Lou Harvey, Luke McFarline, Prof Paul Cooke, , , , , south-africa locationaudio language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-16-institutions sdg-4-education subject-participatory-arts
The Change Makers – South AfricaBlog (2018/03/29) The Change Makers – South AfricaProf Chaya Herman, Prof Stuart Taberner, Tali Nates, , phase1 south-africa locationblog language-english
Change from the BottomUp: How participation & creative methods are needed to challenge school context in South AfricaBlog (2020/04/20) Change from the BottomUp: How participation & creative methods are needed to challenge school context in South AfricaAshley Visagie, Dr Aylwyn Walsh, , , , phase2 south-africa locationblog language-english subject-participatory-arts subject-reflections
Digital Storytelling in ImaginingOtherwise (film two)Developed with young artists in collaboration with (Lo-Def Film Factory), this step-by-step film demonstrates how you can use mobile phones for telling your stories. A group of the ImaginingOtherwise participants …, , , , , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm toolkit language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities sdg-16-institutions
ImaginingOtherwise: A Glossary of Arts Education Practice on the Cape FlatsIn this collaborative text, ImaginingOtherwise draw out the key social justice concerns faced by young people in South Africa, setting them against the learning from the arts-based project. Moving beyond …, phase2 south-africa locationlanguage-english
The Emerging Moringa EconomyPhoto essay on the moringa economy in South Africa by Follow-on Fund project, Transnational and Intergenerational Exploration of Ecological Heritage., , , , , phase3 south-africa locationlanguage-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-13-climate sdg-3-health-and-well-being sdg-8-work
Digital Storytelling in ImaginingOtherwise (film three)ImaginingOtherwise young people explore Cape Town, introducing their understanding of space and the creative use of film-making to represent people, communities and lives from the perspective of creative makers. Supported …, , , , , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm toolkit language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities sdg-16-institutions
Arts Activism ToolkitThe final #ImaginingOtherwise project is an Arts Activism toolkit. This toolkit intentionally brings together case studies of innovative arts activism practice from the global South, activities to develop one’s own …Alexandra Sutherland, Dr Aylwyn Walsh, Prof Paul Routledge, , , , , phase2 south-africa locationtoolkit language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities sdg-16-institutions
Where’s the Research in Evaluation?Blog (2018/10/31) Where’s the Research in Evaluation?Prof Stuart Taberner, , , phase1 south-africa locationblog language-english subject-reflections
Annie ArriesAnnie Arries is a primary school teacher who loves the Karoo and says she will never leave. She says here, children can still grow up as children. Her hope for …Annie Arries, , , event south-africa locationfilm language-english gender
Policy Brief: The Emerging Moringa EconomyThe Emerging Moringa Economy: A ground-breaking opportunity to boost rural green economies and youth employment in South Africa (2022) Policy brief from Follow-on Fund project, Transnational and Intergenerational Exploration of …, , , , , , phase3 south-africa locationlanguage-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-13-climate sdg-3-health-and-well-being sdg-8-work subject-policy
Women in ArmsThis short film was created by the team at Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba to highlight the crucial role that women are playing in claiming space, dreaming new futures, and implementing militant …, , , event south-africa locationfilm language-english gender
Journey of Self Discovery, Taahirah HoosainSkill Exchange workshops to develop skills that would be useful to young change-makers, March - April 2022Taahirah Hoosain, , , , , event south-africa changemakers locationfilm language-english subject-wellbeing youth
Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba Film TakeoverBlog (2020/03/19) Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba Film TakeoverIlizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba, , , event phase2 south-africa changemakers location
Malume uya Lumana[Duration 12 min 52 secs]Malume uya Lumana, , event south-africa locationfilm language-english
Mobilising Histories of Discrimination, Persecution and GenocideThe ‘Mobilising Histories’ conference, held at the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, brought together two projects funded by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which ask how arts-based interventions …, , , event phase1 south-africa locationfilm language-english
Mapping Community Heritage Case StudyMapping Community Heritage is a research project led by seven young people from rural communities bordering South Africa’s Kruger national park in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, University of …, , , , south-africa locationarticle language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities youth
BST Youth Leadership Programme v1.2 1This document provides guidance on the implementation of the Bishop Simeon Trust’s (BST) youth leadership programme, developed in partnership with the University of Leeds and our South African partners since …, , , , , south-africa locationlanguage-english sdg-16-institutions sdg-17-partnerships sdg-4-education leadership youth
PUBLICATION LAUNCH! Changing the Story: Our Third YearBlog (2021/05/21) PUBLICATION LAUNCH! Changing the Story: Our Third YearAisha Kayani, , , , , , , , , , cambodia colombia india kosovo phase2 south-africa changemakers locationblog language-english subject-covid19 subject-participatory-arts youth
Digital Storytelling in ImaginingOtherwise (film one)The ImaginingOtherwise crew introduces some of their tasks and experiments using video storytelling to amplify voices and advocate for their communities., , , , , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm toolkit language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities sdg-16-institutions
Mobilising Histories: ReflectionsBlog (2018/08/16) Mobilising Histories: Reflections, , , , phase1 south-africa changemakers locationblog language-english subject-reflections
Reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)Iris shares her reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)., , , , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities subject-reflections
Reflections from The Performance and Conflict ConferenceBlog (2018/11/14) Reflections from The Performance and Conflict Conference, , , event phase2 south-africa locationblog language-english
Mobility Fund Report, 2020In 2019, Changing the Story (CTS) launched a Mobility Fund, offering financial support of up to £1000 designed to enhance the mobility and professional development of CTS grantees based in …, , , , , , , , bosnia-and-herzegovina colombia india nepal south-africa venezuela locationreport language-english subject-policy youth
Mrs A. Jaftha from Ryneveldt PrimaryMrs Jaftha was brought up in a strict home, to value the things they had, even the things they got for free. She remembers her childhood as a time of …Mrs A. Jaftha, , , event south-africa locationfilm language-english gender
WPS2 FINAL Mobilising the Past"Mobilising the Past to Support Human Rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals" This literature review, authored by Emma Parker (University of Leeds) has been compiled as part of the …Emma Parker, , , south-africa locationlanguage-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-11-sustainable-cities sdg-16-institutions
ImaginingOtherwise Youth Arts ToolkitThe Youth Arts Toolkit is a collection of workshops (some online, some in person) that were developed over the year of the Imagining Otherwise project. This resource is for anyone …, , phase2 south-africa locationtoolkit youth
Meet JaydenMeet Jayden, a Changing the Story Youth Research Board member from Cape Town, South Africa., , , south-africa changemakers youth-research-board locationfilm language-spanish
Reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)Sindisiwe shares her reflections on the Phase Two Mapping Community Heritage project (South Africa)., , , phase2 south-africa locationfilm language-english subject-reflections
#CTStakeover Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba South AfricaBlog (2019/10/31) #CTStakeover Ilizwi Lenyaniso Lomhlaba South Africa, , , , , event phase2 south-africa locationblog language-english subject-reflections youth