Residents of Nelson Mandela Bay are being given the opportunity to share their life stories to help bridge the metro’s racial divide.
“The reality is that 23 years after the demise of apartheid we in the metro still have very low levels of interest, understanding or even tolerance of people who are different from us,” says Glenn Weiss, who is coordinating the “What’s your story?” campaign in the metro.
According to Statistics SA, Nelson Mandela Bay is the most racially segregated of South Africa’s six metros, as measured by the Theil’s Entropy Index scorecard.
Stats SA points out that the most racially segregated city in the United States is Detroit – Nelson Mandela Bay is sometimes billed as “the Detroit of Africa”.
Johannesburg is the most racially integrated of the metros.
The “What’s your story?” movement has been launched in Nelson Mandela Bay to coincide with the screening of the South African movie Beyond the River, which is based on a true story.
“What’s your story?” is an initiative developed and backed by the Heartlines team, which was also behind the making of the movie.
“There is currently an immense trust deficit in our nation and certain politicians seem to be doing everything to further polarise the different race groups,” Weiss says.
“The subtitle to the campaign, ‘You know my name, but you don’t know my story’, perfectly describes how we live our busy, segregated, compartmentalised lives.
“It is imperative to get people of all races, cultures and backgrounds talking – and listening – which is the part that most of us battle with.”
More than 450 facilitators and 20 trainers from the metro were coached by Heartlines during March.
They are equipped to facilitate the programme in workplaces, schools, colleges, universities and churches.
Organisations wanting to run the programme can contact Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.