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    Storytelling for Peacebuilding

January 3, 2016

Ten Pieces of Wisdom from Desmond Tutu to Inspire Change Makers in 2016

Our mission at DTPF is to inspire a new generation of change makers to make this world a more peaceful place through exposing them to the actions, works and words of Archbishop Tutu. As we begin 2016 with the sense of hope and excitement that every new year brings, we thought we would visit some of the Archbishop’s most quotable to take into 2016.

 1. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good that overwhelm the world.”  Read More

May 4, 2015

Why Does Desmond Tutu Think Bryan Stevenson is “Shaping the Moral Universe”?

By Desmond Tutu | Photo by Annie Liebowitz

“Justice needs champions, and Bryan Stevenson is such a champion.”

Bryan Stevenson is a brilliant lawyer representing America’s conscience on a mission to guarantee equal justice for all.

Over the millennia, people have asked, If God is on the side of justice, why do injustice and inequity abound on earth? When will discrimination and prejudice end?

Not frivolous questions.

In the United States of America, the land of the free, 2.3 million people are imprisoned, with one in three black male babies born this century expected to join them—together with 1 in 17 white boys.  (Read the entire article at VanityFair.com)

September 25, 2013

Learning to Listen Through Storytelling

Thank you to all who are responding to the question we, along with the International Storytelling Center, are asking at their upcoming festival, October 4-6, 2013, in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Early responses are already coming in for our question:

How might the art and power of storytelling contribute to global peace and collaboration in a troubled world?


From Liz Weir, Northern Ireland   09/25/13
“In my work in Northern Ireland over the past years of violence and in this post-conflict situation, I have worked with storytelling to help people learn to listen to each other. Through listening comes understanding.”

September 25, 2013

Soulful Warriors

Thank you to all who are responding to the question we, along with the International Storytelling Center, are asking at their upcoming festival, October 4-6, 2013, in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  Early responses are already coming in for our question:

How might the art and power of storytelling contribute to global peace and collaboration in a troubled world?


From Sai Santosh  09/25/13

We are a group of youngsters here in Alabama and Georgia (USA) creating a comic strip called ‘Soulful Warriors’ which focuses on human values.  “It’s difficult to judge/criticize people but very easy to love them.” We believe the answer to every conflict lies in LOVE. I thought that this idea of creating comic strips that focus on human values can inspire artists/illustrators around the world to create similar content, instead of the same old violent comic books.  We thought that sharing this comic strip at the International Storytelling Festival would bring awareness to creative ways of storytelling.  (Click each image to view full size.)

Soulful Warriors

Soulful Warriors2

October 9, 2012

Using Stories to Build Peace: An Experience of a Lifetime

One of the most fascinating and relevant sessions during our fellowship at the Rotary Peace Centre at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in 2011 was on Storytelling for Peacebuilding, facilitated by Dr. Kacie Wallace. For a long time, I longed for an opportunity to try out some of the skills.

This opportunity finally came last month, when I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 4th Annual UNISA Children’s Reading Conference September 11-12, 2012, and the storytelling part that ran up to September 14th. There were three of us international storytellers, myself from Zimbabwe, and two others from Norway and the Philippines, respectively.

Because of my familiarity with South African history, I chose for all my stories the common theme of peace-building. Thus my stories were about how as a human race we can live together in peace; how we can tolerate our differences, respect each other and how we can be at peace with our environment. In Pretoria we told our stories to a wonderful and most appreciative audience at Oost End Primary School. After that we traveled to the North West Province. There, we had an out-of-this-world-experience at the Royal Bafokeng Institute. Before we led our workshops there, we had visited a number of historical places, including Nelson Mandela’s old SOWETO home, the Regina Mundi Church, Hector Pieterson Memorial site and Museum, among others.

At the Royal Bafokeng Institute, we each got an opportunity to facilitate a 3 hour workshop on a topic of our choice, in addition to telling stories. Of course, this had been prearranged and my topic was how we can use stories to build peace. This was based on the premise that people make sense of reality, and construct reality, out of stories. Besides, if you look closely, most conflicts occur because people want only their stories to be listened to, and hardly want to listen to others or put themselves in their shoes.

Conflicts are also born out of the bad stories that we hear about us, about others, and about our future. From the workshop it became clear that while we could not change our stories, we needed to face the truth about them in order to understand who we are, because only then can we know our strengths and weaknesses and be able to listen to others with empathy.

We dwelt much on the River of Life and other practical activities that entrench tolerance, respect and human rights. I do not think that these activities in my group, which were attended by more than 50 adults from the Rustenburg Community, could have come at a better time because, as we went about them, a few kilometers away the Marikana miner strikes were occurring, where apparently more than 30 people had needlessly lost their lives in riots the previous week.

Nevertheless, I was filled with hope in the common story that the racially mixed student body at the Royal Bafokeng was trying to weave together, and that their cheer and evident industry and harmony would spread and live in every nook and cranny of their beautiful Rainbow nation, that is, if nobody shatters their story.

storytelling for peacemaking groupPart of the group that participated in the Storytelling for Peacebuilding Workshop at the Royal Bafokeng Institute.

Edward Chinhanhu wishes to thank Professor Thomas van der Walt and Professor Bosire Onyancha of UNISA, Ms Denise Kunstler of the Language and Literacy Team at the Royal Bafokeng Institute, and their teams for arranging all tours and activities.