The history of this RR Foundation project began in 2020. Mr Rajen Reddy was invited by the Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria to participate in a webinar, which had as its focus ethical leadership.
The webinar’s title was ‘Ubuntu values in the Hasta Brata story of Javanese Puppet Play’. Javanese Puppet Play, or as it is known, Wayang Kulit, is used in Indonesia as a form of storytelling, which is didactic in function and dates back to 10th century CE. Wayang Kulit translates to ‘Shadow Puppetry’.
“We found that communities in Indonesia use this form of storytelling within communities to engage and solve societal problems and challenges together,” commented Nadim Aziz, CEO of the RR Foundation. “Since the webinar, we discovered that there was much similarity between Ubuntu values which are South African and Hasta Brata values which are Indonesian.”
“We saw a need to adopt this form of storytelling within a South African context, which could give a voice to the untold struggles and stories of our people of the past,” explained Aziz.
In addition, Rajen Reddy had a passion for the stories and struggles of the people he had encountered along his journey. “I believe telling stories is of the utmost importance - to continue telling history - so we can correct, we can be better, and so we can have a better life for everybody,” explained Mrs Esay Reddy, CEO of the RR Group.
Since the webinar, a preparatory committee was formed, which included experts on Wayang Kulit from Airlangga Universitas Indonesia, Wayang Kulit Character Development from University of Bern Switzerland, and SMME Development, Arts & Drama and Community Development from Durban University of Technology (DUT), as well as representatives of the RR Foundation.
The RR Foundation is in charge of facilitating the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to transfer this form of storytelling within a South African context.
As such, the RR Foundation has brought the project to a practical stage of implementation. Through their publishing house, Nadim Books, they have published a book for free distribution entitled, The Art of Storytelling. This book was promoted at the inaugural Durban International Book Fair 2022.
Click on the link to download a FREE copy of the eBook. https://qr1.be/P7VM
“Through the Durban University of Technology (DUT) we are now on the way to develop an online Wayang Kulit module which will be open access to all students and non-students across South Africa. This will allow participants to develop an understanding of Wayang Kulit story telling. From this module we would like to identify key or high potential stories, which can be developed into theatrical performances,” commented Aziz.
In addition, there is high potential for DUT’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship to be engaged on the SMME side through the development of Wayang Kulit puppets as well as in content development and theatrical production.
DUT will serve as the intellectual base for the project, Airlangga Universitas will provide the technology transfer, and through their association with World University Association for Community Development (WUACD), about twenty international universities have also come onboard to use higher education as a vehicle to develop communities and improve the quality of life of people through this form of storytelling.
For more information contact:
CEO of the RR Foundation