The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF)

Photovoice: Street Life in Ivory Park & Engaging South Africa Youth, and Women on the Theme of Tuberculosis and HIV using a Digital Storytelling Approach

SLF strengthens livelihoods and resilience among marginalised communities through conducting cutting edge research, participatory engagement and fostering innovative development. Creating partnerships with communities to build capacity in visual participatory processes that promote dialogue and engagement on invisible issues.

Research activities & outputs

Photovoice Street Life in Ivory Park

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SLF Photovoice Street Life Publication Download
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Digital Storytelling (DST) research on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis

In April 2013, The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation facilitated Digital Storytelling (DST) workshops with community members from townships in Cape Town, about their experiences of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in their own lives or within their communities.

I gama Iam ngu Lilitha | My Name is Lilitha

This digital story was made by Mzodidi Tituka, a 32 year old isiXhosa man who enjoys video editing and making short films. Mzo lives in Delft and his work is mainly focussed on social issues of relevance to his community.

Mzo tells the story of his sister and the daughter, Lilitha, she left behind. Mzo’s sister committed suicide. Seven years before her death, this young mother had disclosed her HIV+ status to the world, but hid her status as a mother to her own daughter, Lilitha. The bereaved daughter, Lilitha, does not know her mother. Her grandmother has, and will continue to raise her as if she where her own. She has landed in the lap of a good strong family. The reason behind the suicide remains a mystery to Mzo.

This story shows how HIV/AIDS impacts individuals and families in terrible and traumatic ways. It can induce stigma that has the potential of generating internalised feelings of self-harm. Needless to say, these can have deep and long term negative impacts on emotional, psychological and physical levels of those living with it, and their families.

What have I done? | Ndenzeni

This digital story is about a neighbour who watches as a twelve-year old boy, born HIV+ loses his family members one-by-one. His uncle to crime, his mother to the epidemic, his grandmother to old age. She watches as he is left alone to fend for himself in a small shack in the township of Langa, Cape Town. The boy is stigmatised by his peers and adults in the community and he drops out of school.

The story is told by Cebisa Fubesi who lives in the township of Langa and is a neighbour to the boy. Originally Cebisa was involved in the Digital Storytelling (DST) workshop as a drama facilitator. The workshop used the DST method to explore experiences of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. Cebisa requested to be included as a DST participant as she had her own story to tell, relating to HIV.

The story conveys the prevalence of stigma and discrimination alongside a lack of support, guidance and comfort available to children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.

To be an example to the community | Ukubangumzekelo Ekuhlaleni

Ingrid Dlakaru is a 22 year old isiXhosa woman living in the township of Delft. Ingrid is a student and is involved with the NGO Tshintsha (Change) Ma Afrika.

Ingrid tells of her journey with TB as a young mother. She speaks of the tiredness, the restlessness, the inability to concentrate that threatened her attendance at college. She speaks of the nervousness and fear she felt while waiting two days for the results. Most poignant is her account of breaking the breastfeeding bond in order to save the life of her 9-month old son. Today she and her son are healthy. Ingrid is learning more about TB. She is passing knowledge onto friends and family because “when you know more, you do better.”

This short story speaks volumes about how knowledge affects change. Although the diagnosis of TB was a stumbling block for Ingrid while she was studying and learning the ropes of motherhood, the knowledge that she could defeat the disease by completing a six-month course of antibiotics gave her the will to do so.

A further aspect of Ingrid's story that provides a valuable message is the support she was given as a TB patient by her family members. In addition to these positive insights, we are reminded about the multiple challenges of living with tuberculosis.

Orphan | Inkedama

Siphokazi Mkungwana is a 27 year old is a Xhosa woman who was raised in Gugulethu and now lives in Delft. Siphokazi is the Chairman of the Cape Town branch of an NGO called Tshintsha Ma Afrika which was originally founded in East London. Their aim is to start an agricultural project in Delft with one of the objectives being to provide food for people who need to take medication (eg for HIV and TB) but have nothing to eat.

Siphokazi tells the emotional story of her mother’s illness and death. She describes how at fourteen, she watched her mother get sick. She speaks of her own confusion, her loss of identity, her sense of disorientation. Her pain, sense of neglect and deception are felt as nothing is explained to her. Lack of dignitiy marked her mother’s passing and Siphokazi was left alone in her sense of grief and loss. After 13 years, this young woman sees no change for orphans like her. She wishes “someone could show them the way, comfort them, guide them”. She wishes “someone could show them not to give up and sleep around because they don’t have a place of their own”.

This story conveys the fear of stigma; it speaks of non-reconciled pain and grief; of marginalization and exclusion of orphaned children. The story also describes a gendered experience of poverty. Siphokazi consiers her father to be absent from her childhood, referring to her family comprising of only her mother and herself.