Early in 2015 a campaign to highlight positive African narratives was started and aptly named Sibahle, which means “we are beautiful” in IsiZulu.
Established by Ruramai Musekiwa, a Zimbabwe-born visual artist, the project tackles negative stereotypes and promotes the empowerment of women and youth through creative media. It works using creative and interactive awareness campaigns, a magazine, a children’s book series, a poster series, workshops and activations.
“We started the Sibahle campaign early in 2015, seeking to celebrate and promote positive African stories via creative concepts, for example, an illustrated digital exhibition series paying homage to phenomenal African women,” Musekiwa told Redbull Amaphiko.
“Sibahle, means ‘we are beautiful’ and aims to change the African narrative, too often shrouded in pain and suffering, into a positive story.”
The Sibahle campaign uses five pillars to promote its message:
- The Sibahle poster series
- A children’s book series
- A work-shopping and activation branch
- A bi-monthly magazine
- A pop-up store
According to Musekiwa, the five pillars all serve to cultivate positive African narratives across different target groups as well as to drive income through selling cutting edge, commercially viable products.
SIBAHLE POSTER SERIES
The Sibahle poster series portrays amazing, strong African women, such as Lira, Thandiswa Mazwai, Miriam Makeba, and many others.
Musekiwa said it had been featured on various websites, as well as on social media and blogs, and it had included Lupita Nyong’o, the Academy Award winning actress, who said was honoured to be featured.
“Since its inception the brand has grown, thanks to unsolicited generosity such as a lady who sent us a mail saying how much our work inspired her and that she’d love to do our PR for free,” said Musekiwa.
Going forward, the organisation wanted to make the series more meaningful by celebrating ordinary women who were at the forefront of change. “To give one example: We want to go into communities to celebrate and highlight mothers in the townships who are turning their households into children’s homes, taking in orphans, for example.”
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