‘Whispering Silence’ is a digital storytelling project which will document the lives of people who still champion traditional customs. Anchoring itself on profiling traditional dancers, vocalists, healers and, leaders, the project will feature storytellers from two known hubs of traditional customs, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. These will be complemented by contributions from storytellers in Harare province.

During its first phase, funded by Africalia and the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation of Belgium, ‘Whispering Silence’ sought solutions for the ongoing COVID-19 induced environment through the retelling of ngano. A ngano, the Shona term for folklore, is used to impart life lessons, alternating humans and animals as protagonists. The timelessness of the stories told offered solutions to navigating the ‘new world’ and how each storyteller hopes communities will re-engage in a post-COVID-19 environment.

In Phase Two, ‘Whispering Silence VR’ will strengthen its virtual reality component. Supported by Pro Helvetia through the ANT grant, the exploratory project will lead to shared experiences, driving unique perspectives leading to the acknowledgment of traditional practices and how they shape us in our everyday lives.

Over eight months, ‘Whispering Silence VR’ will collect convene stories from 10 contributors into a single online exhibition accessible to the public.

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