Sisonke Msimang: If a story moves you, act on it
Sisonke Msimang - Writer, activist
Sisonke Msimang untangles the threads of race, class and gender that run through the fabric of African and global culture. Full bio
doing a TED Talk.
and the panicking,
of Googling how to give a great TED Talk.
because I always Google her
important and interesting things to say.
when we have a solitary lens
certain groups of people,
if I had been famous first.
like, she's African and I'm African,
and I'm a storyteller,
to learn how to code,
of that talk that existed,
and deliver it as if it was my own speech.
except the coding part,
of a certain presidential candidate
given by one of my other faves,
probably write my own TED Talk,
my own observations about storytelling.
about the power of stories, of course,
about their limitations,
who are interested in social justice.
seven years ago,
in the telling of one tired old tale,
lots to celebrate about the flourishing
and connected via the internet,
at the touch of a button
to grow up Dalit in Kolkata.
man in Australia
of raising his children in dignity
of people in our societies
because they make us care.
called the Centre for Stories.
about what it means to be black
or any of those other categories
as a social justice activist,
about nonfiction storytelling
more than entertainment,
a catalyst for social action.
the world a better place.
that even the most poignant stories,
who no one seems to care about,
of action towards social justice.
storytellers mean any harm.
like me and, I suspect, yourselves.
and empathetic people.
can have unintended consequences,
are not as magical as they seem.
it's always got to be three --
make the world a better place.
an illusion of solidarity.
like that feel-good factor you get
climbed that mountain, right,
that death row inmate.
towards social action.
then you care about them.
as having a moral obligation
that shaped their lives.
when I was 14 years old.
you don't have to like someone
don't have to like someone
riding slowly enough, which I was.
I'm cutting across this field
where I grew up,
in the getaway vehicle,
and I'm on the floor,
a lot of money for that bike,
and I start screaming.
and I start screaming, "Mwizi, mwizi!"
all of these people come out
and they've captured him,
typical African justice, right?
with this unbridled fury.
confronted with someone
simply because of what I represent.
with this look as if to say,
and your bike, you're angry at me?"
that he didn't like me,
living in a poor country.
that we don't want to hear,
want to crawl out of ourselves,
who steals your heart,
whose voices are slurred and ragged,
dressed in fine clothes like this.
that we would bring home with us
make the world a better place
in the personal narrative
to look at the bigger picture.
about their feelings of shame,
link that to oppression.
when someone says they felt small,
especially for social justice,
to explore and understand the political.
about the stories we like
where there are larger forces at play,
beginning to replace the news.
the decline of facts,
more than what we actually know.
on trends in America
of young adults under the age of 30
are gaining trust
are losing the confidence in the public.
to have insights in many ways,
as a social justice activist,
credible facts from media institutions
in terms of social justice.
on the media or on storytellers.
to make the world a better place.
would be a better place, I think,
and more skeptical
about the social context
that they love so much.
would be a better place
that storytelling is intellectual work.
be important for audiences
on their favorite websites,
your storyteller believes in."
to your storyteller's next big idea."
to the storytellers themselves.
can make the world a better place
beyond what feels safe.
you are constructing.
you are dreaming."
to have a plan for justice.
About the speaker:Sisonke Msimang - Writer, activist
Sisonke Msimang untangles the threads of race, class and gender that run through the fabric of African and global culture.
Why you should listen
Sisonke Msimang tells stories about justice and human rights. In the early part of her career, Msimang set up a fund fight for people whose health had been compromised by their race, class and gender identities. In 2008 she became the executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, responsible for making grants on human rights projects. Msimang is now the head of programs at the Centre for Stories, a new initiative that collects, preserves and shares stories about migrants, refugees and diverse people and places linked to the Indian Ocean Rim.
Msimang has been awarded a number of fellowships including from Yale University, the University of the Witwatersrand and the Aspen Institute. She also contributes regularly to the New York Times, Newsweek, the Guardian and a range of other outlets. You can watch her Moth talk on the power of listening here.
Sisonke Msimang | Speaker | TED.com