As a young boy growing up during the apartheid years in South Africa, Mhlangabezi rarely saw his father, who worked in the city to support the family. When his father passed away, life got even harder, and Mhlangabezi had to give up his dream of tertiary education. While he finds glimpses of happiness, he wonders today if the sun will ever come out and give light to his hopes for the future.

Key points to consider in viewing Mhlangabezi’s story

Mhlangabezi’s story shows how apartheid in the past, and poverty both then and now, affect families and individuals. By talking about how his father couldn’t get a good job or an education, he shows that the problem of “absent fathers” is bigger than one man’s choices. Histories of racism and economic exploitation make it very hard for men to support their families. We urge you to think about the circumstances that forced Mhlangabezi’s father to be away from his family and to reflect on how historical legacies continue to affect South Africans.

Learn More

Sonke works with many communities to use storytelling and digital media to help people tell their own stories around gender, violence, HIV and AIDS and related issues.

Sonke partnered with Silence Speaks to enable young people and adults affected by violence and HIV and AIDS to share their stories. Other digital stories have been produced with former prisoners who experienced sexual violence in jail. And the MenEngage African Youth Alliance and Sonke partnered with UNFPA to produce “Youth Stories of Change” along with a discussion guide and other resources.

Through intensive, participatory video production workshops, Sonke is bringing rarely-heard voices and images into the civic arena. Our hope is that by highlighting everyday stories, we will deepen existing conversations about gender norms and health issues, as well as empower the storytellers and their communities.

Download Resources

Click here to download a facilitator’s guide, discussion guides and other Digital Stories resources to assist in the use of these tools in your community.