FCAC - Story-telling with Santilla Chingaipe


 00:00:22   My name is Santilla Chingaipe. 

 00:00:24   I'm a journalist, filmmaker and an author. 

 00:00:29   I work across multiple mediums; print, digital, film, podcast and audio,

 00:00:36   And I also curate public conversations.

 00:00:45   It's just such a cliche, from as young as I can remember I loved books.

 00:00:49   I grew up with the MTV generation, so I loved watching music videos and trying to recreate

 00:00:56   them with my friends.

 00:00:58   I love the cinema.

 00:01:00   I still love the cinema.

 00:01:01   I love going to see a really good film.

 00:01:03   I grew up in a culture where oral storytelling is a big part of how we communicate and how

 00:01:13   we empathise with each other in many ways.

 00:01:17   And I love that stories can bring the world to people.

 00:01:22   So if you are unable to travel to the other side of the world, for example, you can learn

 00:01:28   about a culture, you can learn about other people.

 00:01:34   There's the universal-humanity that stories bring, which I think is such an invaluable

 00:01:40   thing, particularly when we are living in a world where we're sharing spaces with

 00:01:45   different people from all walks of life.

 00:01:47   And sometimes because of prejudices and all these sorts of things, we might not

 00:01:52   necessarily see ourselves in other people.

 00:01:55   And stories when done well can really remind us that at the end of the day, we all just

 00:02:01   want the same things.

 00:02:02   And I love that stories at their best can do that.

 00:02:08   I love being part of an industry that really wants to connect us to our shared

 00:02:17   humanity. And that is always what I'm seeking with my stories.

 00:02:22   I'm always sort of seeking to not just highlight things that sometimes people might not be

 00:02:28   aware of, but also remind people of that universal experience that we all share.

 00:02:34   Regardless of your background, whether it's your race, your sexuality or religion or your

 00:02:40   gender, I think those things don't really matter when you're sitting across from someone

 00:02:46   and they're sharing something that you can relate to.

 00:02:50   Even if you can't specifically relate to their lived experience, you can relate to that

 00:02:56   experience of another human being going through something.

 00:02:59   And I really, really enjoy that.

 00:03:02   I enjoy that it opens up the world.

 00:03:06   I mean, it's done that for me.

 00:03:10   You know, the times when I was unaware of a lot of things, it was through books that I was

 00:03:18   able to learn about it.

 00:03:21   I mean, I'll give a perfect example, like I think about, some of the Fairy Tales I read as

 00:03:28   a child had snow and, I didn't grow up with, I mean, I grew up in Perth and I grew up in

 00:03:35   Zambia, so there's no snow.

 00:03:38   So it was one of those things where in a book you're reading about something quite

 00:03:43   descriptive and there's this experience.

 00:03:45   Even though I couldn't- I didn't know what it  (snow) felt like until years later, I still

 00:03:53   got a sense of what that feeling would be like because of what I was reading and because

 00:03:58   of the world that I was being taken into.

 00:04:00   So, again, it wasn't an experience I was familiar with or that I knew, but that world was

 00:04:05   introduced to me through the power of storytelling.

 00:04:08   And it was pretty effective because it had quite a big impact on my life that when I

 00:04:13   actually got to experience (snow) for the first time, it was really quite magical because

 00:04:17   of that.

 00:04:17   So that's just like a really simple example of one of the ways in which stories can

 00:04:24   translate things that sometimes might not be your lived experience.

 00:04:29   We all know that one story, that when we saw it, when we read it, when we heard it just

 00:04:38   shifted our own perspective or just got us excited about something or made us want to

 00:04:43   aspire for something.

 00:04:46   That is something that I always want to try and leave people with, a sense of feeling like

 00:04:53   you can live to your fullest potential, but also something that I've been thinking about a

 00:04:58   lot lately is that everyone is deserving of access to opportunities, access to happiness,

 00:05:07   access to all of those wonderful things, because it's their birthright.

 00:05:11   If you are born in this world, you are deserving of everything amazing, and you shouldn't

 00:05:16   be denied that because of your class or your race or your gender or whatever, should not

 00:05:24   be the reason why you are not able to access that and stories have the power to really

 00:05:34   shift that kind of perspective.

 00:05:38   I got into my line of work through journalism. 

 00:05:43   So I started off as a journalist, I was working at SBS and I spent about eight years

 00:05:50   working there.

 00:05:51   I was a radio journalist and I really, really loved it because radio really laid the

 00:05:57   foundation for a lot of my storytelling skill set, basically.

00:06:03   One of the wonderful things about working in radio is that you have to really draw the



Go back