Daily Maverick

‘Tell me your story, then I’ll tell you mine’: Building bridges with empathy

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” – Arundhati Roy: “The pandemic is a portal”, Financial Times, 3 April 2020.

While poverty, inequality, gender-based violence, racism and xenophobia are not new phenomena in South Africa, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing fault lines around these issues. The imperative to address these challenges has never been more urgent and requires the introduction of innovative approaches to build connections between people across diverse communities.

Can something as seemingly simple as storytelling provide us with the answer?

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