Browsing Tag

storytelling

Pulane storytelling during Katlehong Stories session

Katlehong Stories: Storytelling in a Johannesburg Township

Pulane Malatja sits straight-backed, ankles crossed, wearing a short black dress and a red plaid head wrap. A gauzy scarf covers her knees and a notepad sits in her lap. Pulane apologizes as she puts on her reading glasses. She’s just had an asthma attack, she explains, and might not be able to speak as clearly as last time. Pulane raises the notepad and begins to read. I’m trying to take pictures and listen at the same time, so I don’t hear it all. Pulane writes about a phone call she received from a man she loves. “His skin grows darker when he’s drunk,” she reads. I don’t hear every word, but I hear what Pulane means. I know just what she means. Pulane reads a draft of her creative writing piece to the Katlehong Stories group. Pulane shares her thoughts with the group after completing her reading. Among other things, Pulane’s piece explores her experiences as a child watching her father abuse her mother. She says she’d never talked about these experiences until she joined this group. Pulane is a participant in Katlehong Stories, a group of aspiring creative writers and volunteer teachers who meet every second Saturday in a high school classroom in Katlehong Township. […]

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Lucky Masuka

My Favorite Joburg People: Lucky Masuka

I recently announced a storytelling project called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I presented the stories and portraits at an event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the last of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. Lucky Masuka in front of a beautiful fern tree in the garden at his home in Melville, May 2016. Lucky was second person I met after moving to Johannesburg. We lived on the same property and the door to his one-room apartment was five feet from my kitchen. Lucky worked for Horst, my landlord, which meant that he also indirectly worked for my boyfriend Jon and me. Lucky tended our garden, cleaned our house, did our dishes, ironed our clothes. He fixed our ancient oven each time it broke – dismantling it, spreading out the metal parts on the kitchen counter, and putting it back together again. The first time I watched Lucky fix that oven, I thought, “He should have been an engineer.” Lucky has a great sense of humor. He has a huge […]

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Florence and twins

My Favorite Joburg People: Florence Ngobeni-Allen

I recently announced a storytelling project I’m working on called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I’ll be presenting the stories and portraits at an event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the third of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. Florence Ngobeni-Allen, May 2016. Florence Ngobeni-Allen I met Florence in August 2010, just a few weeks after I moved to Joburg, when I was hired to interview Florence and her family for an assignment with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). Florence was a spokesperson for EGPAF, who I had worked for in Washington D.C. before my move to South Africa. So although we’d never met, I knew about Florence through stories I’d read. When I met Florence she was pregnant with her second son, Kulani, and I went to visit her after Kulani was born. My mother was visiting from America at the time and I have lovely pictures of Mom holding Kulani. The following year, when my boyfriend Jon’s alcoholism ramped up and I didn’t know how […]

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My Favorite Joburg People: James Ike

I recently announced a storytelling project I’m working on called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I’ll be presenting the stories and portraits at an upcoming event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the second of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. James Ike James on the street near his home in Yeoville, May 2016. I’ve played a lot of sports and I’ve had a lot of coaches. I know what a great coach is made of. Great coaches motivate us without crushing our spirits. Great coaches push us to go farther than we can go alone. Great coaches have an ego; they want us to achieve so that they can achieve themselves. Great coaches want to be the best and they want the best for their athletes. Great coaches make us feel like no matter how good we are, that we can always be better. And we do get better, because we want to make our coaches proud. James Ike is a great coach. In 2012 I started training at […]

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Michelle De Villiers

My Favorite Joburg People: Michelle de Villiers

I recently announced a storytelling project I’m working on called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I’ll be presenting the stories and portraits at an upcoming event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the first of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. Michelle de Villiers Michelle at Junkie Charity Shop, May 2016. I met Michelle through a cat. When I first moved to Joburg in 2010, a gray cat started hanging around in my back garden. My neighbor’s cat chased the gray cat mercilessly and I chased him too, trying to rid our garden of the incessant feline fights. But the gray cat kept coming back. My boyfriend Jon and I finally started feeding the gray cat, who we called Squeak. Jon was not a huge cat fan but Squeak won him over. Squeak started sleeping in our house. We took Squeak to the vet and learned that Squeak was a he, not a she, as we originally thought. We began to think of Squeak as ours. One day […]

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Florence Ngobeni-Allen

My Favorite Joburg People: A Storytelling Project

I was recently invited to participate in an event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers. Translating Joburg is an ongoing series of networking events focused on navigating and enjoying this city, and each event has a different theme. The theme for this month’s event, happening on 20 June, is storytelling. I’m excited to be part of this because I’ve had some storytelling ideas knocking around in my head for a while. My blog is based around storytelling, but the stories usually just scratch the surface of a particular subject or place. Also, the stories tend to revolve around me and my experiences. I want to tell other people’s stories, for a change, but in my own personal way. I’ve chosen four people, each of whom has an extraordinary story. The people come from different genders, races, nations, and backgrounds, but they share three things in common: 1) they have a fascinating story to tell; 2) they live in Joburg and their stories are inextricably linked to this city; and 3) they’ve each helped to shape my own Joburg story in some significant way. I’ve already interviewed all four people and shot their portraits. I haven’t written the stories yet though…I think I’m putting it […]

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