The storytellers 

HOW DO WE SHIFT THE CULTURE & CHANGE THE NARRATIVE?

WE BECOME THE STORYTELLERS.

In July 2017, I embarked on a research journey that sought to find the connection between third culture Afro-Kiwi identity construction, migration and representation through the creation of content. One of my observations is that the portrayal of people of African descent in the media can be remedied by collectively researching, educating and engaging in action activities as a tool for social change: externally and most importantly, internally. Just as it is important to debunk the patterns of distortion and biased narratives represented by the media, it is also important to include the untold stories that seek to provide full representation. Over a period of two months The Storytellers and I met on Sunday afternoons and what was a creative research project soon became a space of healing, seeing ourselves reflected in our worlds and a safe space were we could unravel. Through the creation of content we produced visual outputs that explore and share the experiences of third culture identity, African representation, being a woman of colour, black love, cultural heritage, colourism, tokenism and intersectionality within African identity. 

 
 
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THE STORYTELLERS BY MAKANAKA TUWE

The Storytellers are the sisters, the brothers, the youth and all the migrant or “others” whose identities are constantly being reconstructed as they un/learn, decolonize, reclaim and piece together the elements of their multifaceted identities. Through this project, I take you on a journey through the lives and experiences of the participants of this project, in their own words.

 
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HUEMANS OF AFRIKA BY SYNTHIA BAHATI

What does an African look like? Through photographing people of African descent in black and white portraits Synthia explored the visibility of people of African descent and sought to represent the diversity of people that identified as African in Auckland.

 
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BRENDA FASSIE BY CHANWYN SOUTHGATE

This body of work is an on-going self-discovery and exploration of being a third-culture woman in New Zealand. I asked myself how can I utilise my craft of dance to explore all that my mind and body has to ask tell. The answer was Brenda Fassie. Overall, the project explores different layers of myself, my African genealogy and how living in New Zealand has shaped me.

 
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OUR HERITAGE BY LAILA BEN-BRAHIM

This song is about finding my love and appreciation for my heritage and culture in my early adulthood. Having discovered this part of me and acknowledging my heritage enables me to write my own narrative and fill in my future’s unwritten pages.

 
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A WEAK IN MY LIFE BY MWANGILENI KAMPANGA

A Weak in My Life is an effort to marry poetry and theory; to merge feelings with thought; the subjective and the objective. Inspired by the work of Audre Lorde and introducing the quiet power of mental awareness

 
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#BLACKGIRLDIARIES BY TADIWA TOMU

Being a black girl wasn’t easy for her, especially in a community where everyone made fun of her. They made her believe she was something less because she was black-er. The saddest thing 37 was she let it get to her.

 
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WHAT IS BLACKNESS BY RITA WAKEFIKELD

Hi, my name is Rita and I’m black. Is that just stating the obvious? I’m not sure. Maybe to some people it is, and we will get back to that later don’t you worry, but strangely enough, to me this wasn’t always so clear-cut. Through this essay and my experience I share the complicated journey of navigating my blackness as a mixed race child.

 
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THE DIASPORIC AFRIKAN MILLENIAL BY ADORATE MIZERO

‘A Reflection of the Diasporic African Millennial’ is a series of memes that depict the experiences of third culture youth of African descent across the world (global African diaspora) and experiences specific to African youth who were born or have grown up in New Zealand. Through memes Adorate breaks down the sometimes difficult and serious discourses by using humour in the hopes that it will offer self reflection and critical analysis.

 
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BLACK LOVE IS BY RUMBI TOMU

I once read somewhere that black love is the manifestation of acts of love between people of colour. Whether it be a couple, a mother braiding her daughter's hair, two black men acknowledging each other on the street with the "nod", sisters of colour gathering together eating and dancing and it is also un/learning what it means to love yourself as a black person. ‘Black Love Is’ is a set of affirmation cards that define what black love is as worded by The People of Light (Black People) and defined by the Oxford Dictionary of English 2017.

 

This research is aiming to provide an impetus for researchers, policy makers and those interested in African development to start exploring different participatory and alternative methodologies to countering the issues that come with migration, identity and representation for people of African descent in the New Zealand context. I begin the exegesis with a personal narrative I wrote as a reflexive diary entry during the research process. The decision to begin Chapter One with Home but never Home was to highlight the reality of navigating life as a woman of African descent in New Zealand and the conversations I engage in about identity and belongingness.

 
 
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