“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” ~ Nelson Mandela
It is impossible to see the mountains when the shadows are numerous. Though apartheid’s system of racial segregation has legally ended, its legacy remains. A recent Gallup poll found that 79% of South Africans say they are either struggling or suffering day to day. It is no wonder considering South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other country, along with the world’s highest rates of rape and assault per capita and the second highest rate of murder per capita.
It is hard to imagine experiencing happiness while confronting such risks of illness and danger. The Story of Happiness seeks to hear the voices of South African women who live amidst these circumstances and ask how they handle the challenges and even how they thrive despite their surroundings. We want to know what these women care about, what they want, and what their wishes are for the future, listening to what lies at the heart of their happiness.
We believe the project can empower women through the act of listening and inspire others through the sharing of their stories. We want to give a voice to the vision of women and remind them of their greatest desires and the power they have to realize them. Since freedom is no easy walk for anyone, it lengthens our stride and strengthens our journey to know that we do not walk it alone.