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On Heritage Day, 24 September 2018, ASSITEJ SA launched its #100stories campaign at a special event in Vrygrond with a call to members of the public and of the organisation to share their ‘100 stories’ contributions on social media in honour of the centenaries of ‘Madiba’ Nelson Mandela and ‘MaSisulu’ Albertina Sisulu.
In honour of the lives of ‘Madiba’ Nelson Mandela and ‘MaSisulu’ Albertina Sisulu – both of whom celebrate centenaries in 2018, and are well-known for their love of children and tireless work to highlight their importance in society – ASSITEJ SA is encouraging people to share their own perspective of these stories on social media.
Inspired by the ‘parental’ impulse of these important figures – known as the father and mother of the nation, respectively – people are encouraged to tell and share stories to or for their own children, or children’s children. Director of ASSTEJ SA, Yvette Hardie, explains: “Africa has a long and proud tradition of storytelling, and especially with young people as the intended audience. Sharing of stories is one of the primary ways that our heritage is passed on from one generation to the next, and how children learn to make sense of their place in the world.” It is well-documented that throughout their lives (and even in the legacies of their respective Foundations), both Madiba and MaSisulu considered the care of the country’s children a priority, and storytelling an important part of this engagement. It is in this spirit, that ASSITEJ South Africa issues this call, for stories honouring these important legacies: through videos of 100 seconds, shared over 100 days, honouring 100 years of history and the lives of Madiba and MaSisulu. #100stories
In May 2018, through its Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Nelson Mandela Centenary and Centenary of Albertina Sisulu; the South African government called on the people to SA to “use the Mandela and MaSisulu Centenary to recommit ourselves to their values and principles”, saying that “South Africans must work together to remove all obstacles which still divide our society and strive to build on the many ties that bind us together. Together, we can combat racism‚ racial discrimination‚ xenophobia and related intolerances on all fronts.” The statement further detailed how “MaSisulu dedicated herself to nurturing and protecting children. She was committed to good quality education, insisting that the youth put education first even during their quest for a democratic, free, non-sexist and non-violent South Africa”; and that key focuses of her legacy include those of Education and Youth: educating the youth to awaken their greatness; and Children’s Rights: the nurturing and protection of children. Further, the centenary celebration “aims to promote Madiba’s ethos of Ubuntu by advancing our collective unity, irrespective of race, creed and orientation”, outlining that the intention of the theme is to foreground characteristics and values for which former President Mandela was renowned for across the world: integrity, passion, service, transparency, respect and transformation.
ASSITEJ is an international member-based organisation with a focus on theatre for children and young people, that seeks to support and promote age-appropriate storytelling through the multi-faceted experience that the medium of live theatre facilitates. It is through sharing our stories that we build empathy and understanding, that we promote learning and imagination, and that we can foster the spirit of ubuntu so necessary for taking our country forward. Some of the practical limitations of live performance such as time and space, can be overcome through the sharing of performance which is recorded live, hence the impulse to drive the recording and sharing of these important stories via the prolific medium of social media.
The campaign was launched as part of a special Heritage Day celebration hosted by the Vrygrond Community Development Forum in partnership with Vrygrond Taxi Association, and led by the Chairperson of the Education Sector, Mr Linamandla Deliwe; at Capricorn Primary School in Vrygrond in Cape Town.