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“This book will forever alter the way you see the people who live on the margins in Johannesburg” – Gayle Edmunds reviews Vaya

Vaya

 
Vaya the Film
is based on the lives of four young men from the Homeless Writer’s Project: David Majoka, Anthony Mafela, Madoda Ntuli and Tshabalira Lebakeng, and rooted in their experiences of coming to Johannesburg. Vaya the Book brings you the people and stories that inspired the award-winning film.

Through personal stories that are intimate and hard hitting, Vaya will both surprise and shock you. It offers a rare lens into life in Johannesburg and amplifies the voices of people who live on the city’s margins. The book will ignite conversations and debate about what the city means to millions of ordinary people who navigate its streets with courage and humanity.

Developed by the Homeless Writer’s Project, and containing accessible history, debates and interactive activities, here are the stories and people that inspired the award-winning film.

Vaya will both shock and inspire.

The Homeless Writer’s Project was started in 2010 by filmmaker Robbie Thorpe and joined soon after by Harriet Perlman. It gives a voice to the voiceless by creating opportunities for stories to be developed into films and published media. The group meets once a week to share stories and ideas and create a safe place for discussion. The film script for Vaya began in story workshops, where participants shared and told stories over a period of six years. These lived experiences were written down and crafted into a film script.

Gayle Edmunds recently reviewed this remarkable book for City Press; read an excerpt here:

Home. A place to call home. This book will forever alter the way you see the people who live on the margins in Johannesburg, and your concept of home.

The book, and the movie of the same name it complements, is the product of an initiative started in 2009, The Homeless Writers Project.

The programme offers people a space to tell their stories of living and surviving on the streets of the city. Those stories were workshopped into the film, and the making of the film brought about the book.

Four of the co-authors of Vaya – David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli, Anthony Mafela and Tshabalira Lebakeng – share their experiences of coming to the city in search of those fabled jobs and opportunities. What each of them find is an existence they didn’t expect. Each man has a different story of homelessness, but each triumphs over his circumstances in unexpected and varied ways.

The stories of the four main protagonists are interspersed with essays by experts, such as Peter Delius and Sarah Charlton, that offer context for why the city is the way it is, how the lopsided infrastructure development justified by racist laws still rule the way many people on the margins of society experience the city.

In her essay, Understanding Homelessness, Charlton explains the nuances of homelessness, showing up the ignorance of those who assume those who “sleep rough” have some addiction or character flaw.

Continue reading Edmunds’ review here.

Book details

 

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