What’s Your Story: The Campaign

What’s Your Story: The Campaign

In South Africa, and we have a trust deficit that affects the quality of our relationships with others and hinders us from getting to know each other better. This deficit is largely fuelled by divisions based on race, ethnicity, class, gender and socio-economic levels. Despite celebrating over 21 years of our democracy, the past few years have seen an increase in racist comments, behaviours and posts on social media platforms, as well as continued actions of an overtly prejudiced nature.


Enough is enough! We cannot allow the scourge of prejudice, racism and mistrust to derail our dream of being a reconciled nation.


WYS LogoFor us to break down the things that divide us we need to understand better the people we interact with on a daily basis. Understanding builds trust.


At Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion, we believe in the power of personal storytelling to create trust and understanding. We believe this will ultimately break down prejudice and reconcile us to each other.


Enter What’s Your Story?, a story-based programme to promote trust, understanding and greater social cohesion (developed in partnership with various interest groups and South African faith-based leadership).


Our aim is to reach 10 million people nationally with our media narratives and to have at least 3 million people tell and listen to each other’s stories in order to build greater trust and social cohesion.


When we listen to each other’s stories, we begin to see the human being behind the “other’s” race or ethnicity and realise how similar we are. Best practice with regard to attitude and behaviour change shows that stories are the most effective change agents, as they impact on people both emotionally and intellectually. Hearing another’s story opens up the potential for reconciliation, mutual respect and understanding.


The pillars of this campaign will be:

Resource supported mobilisation

We will mobilise people where they work, pray, study or play by providing them with resources that help them set up and support the story telling process.  These will include short videos that will stimulate debate and encourage people to tell and listen to each other’s stories. We will also seed these across multiple social media platforms including, Facebook, You Tube and Twitter.  This part of the campaign should launch around April 2016.


Feature film – “Beyond the River”

We are producing a popular film based on the true story of a young black man from an informal settlement who teamed up with an older white male school teacher to win gold in the Dusi Canoe Marathon. It aims to resonate deeply with a range of audiences and stimulate dialogue and action.  The film will go into production in October and be ready for its cinema release in September 2016.


Media led discussion

Using the film and social media as catalysts, we will drive discussions on TV, radio, digital and in print media, designed to inspire people to join the campaign and ask each other “What’s your story?”

The campaign has the support of the National Planning Commission, the Desmond Tutu foundation, Mandela Foundation, GIBS, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Reos Partners, African Leadership Initiative, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the Helen Suzman Foundation, SACC, African Enterprise, to name a few .  It further has the support of all the major religious groupings in the country.

5 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    October 05, 2016

    My name is Brighton Muresherwa from Zimbabwe. I read with enthusiasm and excitement about this great initiative.

    I the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood with SA playing an influential and critical role as a regional leader in many regards I will be very much grateful if on top of 10million stories from within SA you could also put into consideration having maybe 1million stories from southern Africa or beyond.

    SA being the rainbow nation I know and being a country so highly regarded by so many myself included also including our stories would give that complete picture of the regional and continental giant that SA is.

    Your consideration would be greatly appreciated. We love SA your country has saved many and still does like no other African country.

    Kind regards.


    • Avatar
      October 31, 2016

      Dear Brighton

      Wow – we are encouraged and inspired by your feedback and your suggestion.
      While What’s your Story was birthed in SA, it’s not only an initiative for SA. As you know, this country is home to thousands of brothers and sisters from all parts of the world.

      So, please, submit those inspiring stories from Zimbabwe via the site: whatsyourstory.online
      And help us spread the word from SA all the way to Cairo – and beyond!

      The Heartlines team


  2. Avatar
    October 13, 2016

    Being a young black South African woman who grew up in a dysfunctional family, with no father and an alcoholic mother, my only dream as a young child was to have a teddy bear and a bed to sleep on. I told myself education was my only way out even though I was not the cleverest child in school, I was mocked at and bullied therefore I was always withdrawn and never participated. Somehow I felt that education was my only way out of my misery, to improve my living conditions, and my family’s. I have learnt to turn threats into opportunities for myself and those around me. I stayed true to my values even though I was not aware what those were at the time, I strived through it all and still do, I am currently a certified Transformational Coach and Facilitator who helps people realize their potential to live authentically in their purpose for being. My brand new social business is aimed at bringing hope to the hopeless, inner transformation to those who do not know how to connect with themselves, motivation to those who have lost resilience. I’d love to serve those who could never be able to pay for personal development and coaching services and yet be inspired to dream again and thrive at life! I’d love to share my story! Blessing,


    • Avatar
      October 31, 2016

      Hi Busi

      We are so inspired by how you’ve persevered through hardship and various challenges! We also salute you for your passion for education and for staying committed to your values.

      Please submit your story for review on our site: whatsyourstory.online

      We look forward to hearing from you!

      The Heartlines / What’s your Story team


    • Avatar
      November 06, 2016

      Hi Busi, we share a lot in common..plz connect with me at info@zanoncedo.org


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