The George and Wilderness area of the Western Cape, SOUTH AFRICA


January – May 2017




Lisa Cohen (lead facilitator) and Simone Peters (co-facilitator)



Rand Merchant Bank

Rand Merchant Bank


The Seven Passes Initiative

The Seven Passes Initiative is a community based organisation committed to building a safe community with opportunities for young people and their families in the Hoekwil and Touwsranten area.


In 2017, Our Story Your Story project ventured outside of Cape Town for the first time since its inception. OSYS partnered with the Seven Passes Initiative located in Touwsranten in Hoekwil, Wilderness area of the Western Cape. OSYS brought together an array of community members from neighbouring communities (youth facilitators, educators, learners and community members) offering opportunities for personal development, increased social cohesion, healing and access to creative arts education, through creating a platform to tell their stories and learn more about themselves and each other.


“Through this process I found things about myself that I never knew I had. Like lots of the stories were very deep…There are things from your past and you think it’s done and you pass it but then you hear someone else’s experience and then it brings pieces of that memory back. So this storytelling gave me confidence to talk in front of others… we created a bond… I found traits in myself that I never knew I had and I made peace with it that I am this type of person.”
Facilitators Workshop participant.

“I work with the children every day and I know them by now, but what I saw here was another side of the students that I didn’t see before. It came out here. They opened up and tell their stories as it happened. They wouldn’t do it normally, in a normal class situation… as a teacher, you work with them, it’s … you teach them, it’s … we never get that deep into them … into their lives where they just open up and speak about what happen at home. It’s just ordinary school work every day. You just don’t have time for that. So, today it was great that this situation for them where they could just talk about what’s happening at home. It was surprising to me. Definitely.”

“Something has been awakened that’s been kind of sleeping… we have to encourage our kids to tell stories, doesn’t matter how, and encourage them to use their imagination. Some of the kids don’t really know what is an imagination, how do we use it because they are so focused on reality. But sometimes it’s good to bring the two together.”

“So many people were touched by it in so many beautiful ways. I don’t think we quite realise on what levels people lives changed through this process.”
Wilmi Dippenaar  from the Seven Passes Initiative.