Telling stories is an integral part of human life. It forges bonds, builds understanding and brings people together to celebrate their differences and similarities.
And, of course, everyone has a story to tell about their experiences and heritage.
To celebrate Heritage Month, the government recently launched the Tell Your Story campaign, to encourage South Africans to tell their stories of what it was like growing up during apartheid, what changes democracy has brought and their visions for the future. The campaign aims to share South Africa’s unique stories as a nation, record the country’s history and ultimately build social cohesion and nationhood.
“Many ordinary South Africans never had the opportunity to share the painful stories of the past or reflect on what changes democracy has brought for them. The Tell Your Story campaign is a platform where people can share these experiences openly with others so that differences might be overcome.
“It is through this opening up that we will be able to begin to work towards building a socially cohesive South Africa where citizens are united. We can bridge divisions by sharing our stories,’ said Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi.
“For this campaign to be successful, we need South Africans from all ages, races, genders, culture groups, sexual orientation and social status to actively participate.’
The Tell Your Story campaign runs on popular social media network Twitter under the @TellYourStoryZA account. Twitter users can also share their stories using the #TellYourStory hashtag.
The network has supported a number of social cohesion movements in recent months: domestic violence survivors, aiming to raise awareness of their struggles, posted their stories under the #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft hashtags, while women across the world shared their stories of sexual harassment and sexism under the #YesAllWomen hashtag. American Twitter users sparked a counteractive to mainstream media’s coverage of protests in the city of Ferguson to expose extreme policing under the #Ferguson hashtag, while the world collectively expressed outrage, desperation and hope under the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, to encourage the return of 200 kidnapped girls in Nigeria.