25 October 2012

Healing through dialogue

by: Zongezile Matshoba


A learner from Nombulelo High telling her story.

Albany Museum, through its Busy Bees project, ventured into other new grounds when it organised a three-day workshop on community dialogue and healing. The initiative, which was part of the Access-to-the-Museum programme funded by Lotto, was a collaboration with the Institute of Justice of Justice and Reconcilliation (IJR) in Cape Town. The aim of the workshop was to encourage young learners to open up about issues affecting their lives, their families and their communities, and how to deal with those issues.

Dumisani Budaza, a team member of the Busy Bees, also linked the workshop to the Project 200 Years where communities all over Makana are encouraged to imagine and reflect the 200 years of Grahamstown.

"Imaginations must begin with you, by changing, and the whole world will also change too," said Budaza. He encouraged the learners to be agents of social change. He emphasised the importance of self-discipline, self-respect, and equality in all spheres.

"We must be reflecting on the steps we can take to fix these things. Project 200 Years means putting things together, and mending the past".

Cecyl Essau, the IJR's Senior Project Leader for Schools Oral History took them through steps of oral history and oral traditions and their benefits. The learners were able to learn about sources, their biasness, selectiveness and perspective when it comes to stories and responses.

Kenneth Lukuko, Senior Project Leader for Community Healing has been the main contact between the Busy Bees team, and IJR. His session enabled the learners to tell their own stories, and to respect stories of other people.

"Community healing is about bringing confidence, bravery, respect ...," Lukuko counted some of the things that even the Lwandle Migrant Labourers in Strand managed to show after the interventions of IJR. Their stories were initially written by others, giving their own perspectives about them.

Over 40 learners from four high schools around Grahamstown benefitted immensely from the workshop. The schools were Nombulelo High, Nathaniel Nyaluza, Seventh Day Adventist Private School and TEM Mrwetyana. All learners were presented with certificates of attendance.

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