09 February 2008

New SAHA publication: Katorus Stories

Katorus stories presents the results of the art-making and memory workshop held by the Khulumani Support Group in Katorus on the East Rand, in February and March 2007. SAHA saw this workshop as a pilot community outreach effort, to engage with, collect, and bring to light unwritten and unrecorded events and perspectives that have structured our country today.

The workshop process used art-making to explore Khulumani members’ memories relating to repression and violence on the East Rand, and to record and interpret these memories. The workshop encouraged participants to voice ideas, awareness, and understanding of their personal histories; and to speak of the needs and demands that arise from these.

Participants began by drawing images of their own experiences, the “pictures in their minds” that they wished to commemorate. They then used the pictures to describe their experiences to the workshop. When the shattering scope of these stories emerged, an experienced investigator from SAHA joined the workshop to talk through and record each person’s story separately.

In the final stage of the workshop, participants were asked to draw and discuss what they see as “the way forward” in relation to those issues arising from this past that we still confront today. Participants’ images and stories were also cross-referenced with the formal archival record – mostly, newspaper clippings and written report on the events described.

The various products of the workshop process were then compiled and edited in a consultative process with the participants. The resulting publication Katorus Stories, and an exhibition of the images and information in the book, were then launched in December 2007 at the Sam Ntuli community centre in Thokoza. The East Rand Khulumani Support Group now plans to bring the book, and the exhibition, to schools and other community venues throughout the Katorus area.

These workshops, the book, and the exhibition were made possible by a grant from the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, with additional money towards the publication of Katorus Stories donated by medico international.