Inspired by the age-old African tradition of storytelling around an open fire (Imbawula), the event is a storytelling initiative designed with the hope of preserving the fading art of storytelling while encouraging literacy.
Random Window founder Siphiwe Mpye believes that this event will bring about societal evolution seeing as storytelling has always been about community. “Growing up in the township, I’d watch the older kids gathered around an imbawula talking. The stories ranged from stuff as trivial as getting with a certain girl to plotting about petrol bombing,” he says. “There were always stories and they were relatable for everyone.”
What does Imbawula hope to achieve?
Black people have a painful history and most of it has been internalised. “During the transition from the apartheid regime, there was no mass therapy session. We internalised everything and this has led to a lot of violence,” says Siphiwe. He hopes that this initiative will serve as an outlet for all these stories as this will be a non-judgemental, sympathetic, empathetic and safe space.
The monthly event seeks to bring together storytellers from different walks of life who will share their experiences – whether inspiring, humorous, touching or thought provoking – with a view to exposing a shared human experience. Each event will showcase four speakers from different walks of life with only one constraint: a strict 10-minute time limit. The speakers will range from well-known media personalities to ordinary folk with a point of view and a story to tell.
People are welcome to come and share their story with us. In fact, we are appealing to people to email us and tell us their story and they could be one of the storytellers featured at future Imbawulas.
There is no cover charge. However, donations are encouraged and the proceeds will go to the Quarphix Foundation , a youth development NGO that gives a leg up to disadvantaged youth. The Radical Dreamers Programme is the foundation’s flagship programme which was started in 2012, providing tutoring lessons to high school learners enrolled in the programme (referred to as the Dreamers) and exposing them to career prospects and life experiences that will strengthen their decision-making in their future endeavours.The funds will be used to support the programme’s tutoring and reading pillar.
Dipalesa Mpye, Quarphix Foundation’s Research and Strategy Director is excited about Imbawula as it ties in well with the programme. She says a big focus of the programme has been on teaching the Dreamers how to read so as to influence their command of the English language because this is the language they are assessed in at school.
What to expect?
Anele Mdoda is one of the speakers at the first Imbawula. If you’ve ever listened to her show on 947 radio or read her timeline on Twitter, then you’ll know just how witty and charismatic she is. Anele knows how to tell a story and tell it well!
Singing is another form of storytelling so there will be an acoustic musical item to add an element of variety and for the first instalment Melo B. Jones will bless the audience with her raw talent!
Feature image: You magazine
Words by: @AluwaniAudrey
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