We launched our book ‘Our Stories’ to an enthusiastic audience at a fully packed Book Lounge on 15 May. The book and its launch are another way in which – as described by Abigail our youth facilitator at the launch – we are not just seeing the youth, but giving them a chance to be seen and heard.

The evening started with young people featured in the book reading excerpts from the book; the excerpts were interweaved into one beautiful inspiring story. The young people’s stories are about losing parents, escaping abusive homes, overcoming reading and writing challenges, surviving alcoholic parents and being in a new country without any family – they are stories showcasing just how resilient the human spirit can be, especially the resilient spirits of the youth.

The questions asked during the question and answer session revealed how interested the audience also was in both seeing and hearing the young people. The audience applauded Mamelani for such an initiative, but also investigated to make sure the young people’s stories were captured in a way that had the young people’s best interests at heart, and that the process offered them some form of healing and honouring. And in turn, the audience honoured and celebrated the young people in song at the end of the launch.

The message that came across from the youth about why they chose to participate in this project was that they want their stories to inspire other young people in similar situations to them; instead of feeling hopeless or disheartened by the difficulties they have faced in their lives, they feel proud of who they are and all that they have overcome. They hope that other young people can come to see the same in their own stories.

All the available books were purchased on the night by an audience excited to read about the young people’s life stories and the lessons that they have to teach us.

Although the books are sold out, we will be running a second print. To place an order for the book, please email All funds generated from selling the book will go towards printing copies of the books for those who cannot afford them. For each book purchased, one copy of the book will be donated to a school, a local library or a child and youth care centre.

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