What's your story?
We live in a country where suspicion, fear, prejudice and racism plague us daily. The growing sentiment seems to be anti-black, anti-white, anti-rich, anti-poor, anti-foreigner … in fact anti-everyone who is not like us or threatens our comfort. We have a trust deficit that affects the quality of our relationships with others and hinders us from getting to know each other better.
What if suspicion, fear, prejudice and racism were replaced by understanding, respect, love, acceptance and trust? What if South Africa became a place renowned for our ability to know each other and care about each other’s stories?
At Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion, we believe that getting to know each other’s stories is the first step towards breaking down the misconceptions and prejudices that divide us. What’s your Story? is our latest initiative to build understanding, greater cohesion and, ultimately trust and reconciliation through the sharing of our stories.
Personal storytelling gives us a non-threatening foundation from which we can have authentic conversations that help us understand each other better. It’s a simple way to start breaking down the suspicions and prejudices that divide us, so that we can work better together towards the hard work of reconciliation.
Imagine a South Africa where, instead of creating more negative stereotypes about others, we start getting to know each other better by sharing our stories …
Will you join the storytelling revolution?
What’s Your Story? is a story-based initiative to promote understanding, cohesion, trust and reconciliation in our nation. We believe that personal storytelling can be achieved in 3 simple steps:
Ask. Listen. Tell.
By asking, listening and telling each other our stories we can break down suspicion, mistrust and the misconceptions that divide us. As we make this a habit, we can build the South Africa we long for, one story at a time.
When we listen to each other’s stories, we begin to see the human being behind the “other”. Even science has shown that stories are very effective change agents, as they impact us both emotionally, intellectually and physically.
Hearing another’s story opens up the potential for understanding, mutual respect and reconciliation. Our stereotypes and prejudices get challenged and we can begin walking in each other’s shoes.
Since its official launch in 2016, What’s your Story? has been taking SA by storm and we have seen thousands around the country take up our challenge to “join the storytelling revolution”.
To date, we have distributed over 8750 resources nationwide, trained 3540 leaders in personal storytelling, and conducted Bridge leadership engagements for hundreds of sector leaders.
We have undertaken more 300 events in faith-based organisations spread across 124 towns in South Africa, training over 12 500 people in the methodology. We have also undertaken over 50 sessions in 20 workplaces, reaching around 1 500 people.
Heartlines has further supported efforts in communities where there has been conflict and it is also supporting the implementation of this programme in schools across the country.
To find out more or to join the storytelling revolution, email us at
Four Pillars of what's your story?
The film, Beyond the River
Inspired by true events, this is the nail-biting story of two men from different backgrounds whose quest to win gold connects them on and beyond the river. Regarded by some critics as “the most spectacular South African cinema experience of our time!” Beyond the River is the film to kickstart What’s your Story?.
The film released in cinemas nationwide on 27 April 2017 and is currently available for order via our offices or on DVD.
Email us to book a group or corporate screening of the film.
Order a Beyond the River DVD at our online store
Resources on personal storytelling
We have a number of resources to equip you in personal storytelling, using the framework of “Ask. Listen. Tell.” These resources can be used in various contexts, such as in churches or bible study groups, small groups, youth groups, schools, faith-based groups, campuses or workplaces. They include docu-style DVD stories of inspiring individuals.
We also have resources to start conversations around Beyond the River, as an inroad to personal storytelling.
The Bridge leadership engagement is a 2-day, offsite initiative that uses personal storytelling and dialogue as tools to build bridges between key leaders of a system or sector. Once these leaders have gotten to know each other’s stories, they can work together to solve critical issues within their system or industry.
This online platform is a portal where you can read, listen to and watch the stories of ordinary people making an extraordinary impact in our nation. It also has practical tools and resources to support you in personal storytelling.
Watch the What’s your Story promo video.