Sibongile, from Swaziland, lost her home and possessions as a result of gender discrimination and poverty. When her husband died of AIDS, his family forced her and her children out of their house. After struggling to survive, she found a job as an AIDS activist and now works to secure the equal rights of women and children in her country.

Special thanks to the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa for providing this story.

Key points to consider in viewing Sibongile’s story

Traditional culture, women’s rights, and family conflict can intersect in complicated ways. The challenges Sibongile has faced are found not just in Swaziland but also throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. Women often have less status and less money than men do, and also less power to make their own decisions. This means that HIV and AIDS affect women and men differently. And yet there is hope embedded in this story: for Sibongile as an individual and for all women who join together in support of their rights.

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.