Throughout time, storytelling has largely influenced how people behave and perceive each other across the world. It is this single factor instilled in individuals since childhood that has contributed to stereotyping and prejudice across societies and cultures. Stories have instigated wars and political mudslinging, racial segregation and gender discrimination, generational and cross-country hostility, and bitterness between low and high-income communities. Even Africa is perceived in a certain way because of the stories being told about it. The role of traditional media and social media are key players in the way the world views Africa, and possibly contributes to putting the brakes on the continent’s development. How do the stories we disseminate shape how the rest of the world views Africa? How does it affect foreign investment? How does it influence markets and economic output? These are some of the questions we should be asking, along with how to change our one-sided approach. Even research indicates that attitudes and views have been shaped in a specific manner.
Influence The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for example, explored the neurobiology of listening to stories and how attitudes and behaviours can change. It found that storytelling changes views about people for the better or worse and significantly influences societies.
“Narrative exerts a powerful influence on human thoughts and behaviour. They consolidate memory, shape emotions, cue heuristics and biases in judgment, influence in-group/out-group distinctions, and may affect the fundamental content of personal identity,” it states. Meanwhile Octavia Utley’s curriculum at the Yale-New Haven Teacher’s Institute explored this tradition in Africa. She found that storytelling throughout history made it possible for African cultures to pass on knowledge, history and experiences from one generation to the next, manifesting itself in different ways and serving many purposes.
“It was used to interpret the universe, resolve natural and physical phenomena, teach morals, maintain culture values, pass on methods of survival and praise God,” said Utley in her paper titled, Keeping the tradition of African storytelling alive.
This data tells us that a story is not just a story. Narratives have shaped societies, and the world has been significantly affected by the stories we have told about each other. Collectively we have all in some way contributed to bias stories without due consideration of its consequences.
So how do we change our views from what was instilled in us as children, and how do we ensure the next generation do not stereotype others?
Perceptions There are many layers to unravel and now is the time to review our attitudes and perceptions of others. We need to challenge our internal and exported narrative because this is where behavior change begins. Parents, in particular, need to be mindful about the type of stories they tell their children, and be aware of books they are reading.
Now is the time for the people of Africa to tell a new story. Tell the world about our unique heritage, majestic views, vibrant fashion and tasty foods. Tell them about our talented youth, our humanitarians, our innovations, and our uniquely African projects. Tell them about our beautiful [...]
The new interchange which was started in April 2013 features a multi-stack bridge and four levels with no signalisation.
This interchange is designed to provide continuous access to the Verulam, Phoenix, Mount Edgecombe, uMhlanga Ridge Town Centre and the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.
Corné Roux, the Eastern Region project manager for SANRAL said that the biggest challenge was accommodating the traffic during construction.
“The interchange sits on a major national road, the N2, and the M41 feeds major residential, industrial and commercial areas such as Phoenix, Mt Edgecombe and uMhlanga carrying high volumes of traffic which had to be kept moving during the interchange’s construction,” said Roux.
He added that another challenge was the ground conditions that needed the installation of extensive piling to support the interchange structures.
Despite the lengthy construction period and disruptions on this busy stretch of road, motorists are now feeling the benefits of the interchange which has dramatically improved traffic flow through the area.
The new roads have state-of-the-art lighting making the intersection safer and more visible at night while the pedestrian bridge also makes it safer and more convenient for people to cross the N2.
According to Roux, the Mount Edgecombe Interchange is now a landmark structure and an important artery of the greater eThekwini metropolitan highway system for easing traffic, relieving congestion and is also a significant business enabler.
Managing Director of Tongaat Hulett Developments Michael Deighton said, “Not only has the new interchange improved driving conditions in this previously congested area but it will also unlock significant development opportunities planned for the KwaZulu-Natal north coast”.
Speaking at a post-cabinet briefing in Cape Town on Thursday, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said President Cyril Ramaphosa would reveal details of the charter on Friday when he is due to brief the media on economic stimulus measures.
The draft, aimed at setting ownership and transformation targets for the sector, was opposed by the industry even though it acknowledged that the current document was in many respects an improvement on the previous one proposed by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s predecessor Mosebenzi Zwane.
The draft charter had a requirement of 10% ‘free carry’ interest for mining communities and employees on new mining rights as part of the proposed 30% black equity ownership target.
The contents of the bill will have an effect on trade union Solidarity’s current strike against white employees being excluded from Sasol’s Khanyisa share scheme.