My research, writing and private practice question the ways in which we humans narrate our lives.
What are the personal narratives we tell about ourselves?
How do these stories shape and influence our lived lives?
How do our personal narratives support our lives and make us stronger?
To what extent are the stories we tell about ourselves the stories other people have created for our lives?
How can we re-construct our stories to become useful, richly layered and strong representations of our multi–faceted lives?
How can stories help us transition through challenges such as illness, grief, stress, addiction or life changes?
More specifically, I am interested in the role storytelling plays in vulnerable communities and the lives of individuals who are challenged by loss and traumatic events. Two of my books below, Kapilolo’s Kulimatji and !nanni’s Sketchbook, are historical reconstructions of the lives of two Angolan !xun storytellers, set apart in time by two centuries. Both books examine how the lives of these marginalised hunter-gatherer storytellers were misrepresented by others, and how their personal narratives helped them to heal from the aftermath of abduction and war.
As a narrative therapist and storyteller, I help people to reconstruct their personal narratives into stronger stories that support their healing, wellbeing and growth. I do this in a structured 12-part course in narrative therapy, shaped by my own and other authors’ research, hundreds of participants, therapists and traditional healers over the past 25 years.
My private practice is based in Kalk Bay, Cape Town. To book an appointment for face to face or online sessions, call +27 (0) 83 3925153, 0r send me an email.
!nanni’s Sketchbook – annotations of loss and abundance, celebrates a 19th century collection of children’s drawings and paintings made by the Namibian !kun child, !nanni and his three friends, Tamme, |uma and Da. This book illuminates their work, reconstructs the story of where they came from, how they were abducted and ended up in the Cape colonial home of linguist Lucy Lloyd – where they made the collection with her. The !kun children’s archive is part of the larger Bleek and Lloyd Collection – entered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. This book brings to an end the marginilised voices of the chidlren in the famous collection.
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In this remarkable book, Kapilolo’s Kulimatji – a !xun San storyteller’s memoir, Kapilolo Mario Mahongo recounts for the first time from an indigenous perspective, the heart-rending results for his family and San compatriots of their involvement in the independence wars against Portugal and South Africa in Angola and Namibia. Mahongo is one of the unsung heroes amongst indigenous San in southern Africa as they continue the struggle to survive and retain their identity, culture and languages far from the place of their birth.
Kapilolo’s Kulimatji – a !xun San storyteller’s memoir, told to narrative practitioner and editor, Dr Marlene Sullivan Winberg, between 1994 and 2017 and accompanied by her own account of the circumstances that led to her 23-year friendship with Mahongo, is an emotionally charged book and a welcome new genre for southern African indigenous literature. Dr Janette Deacon.
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Text by Marlene Winberg
Photographs by Paul Weinberg
With an introductory essay by Achmat Dangor
In 1994, people began to return to land in rural South Africa they had lost under apartheid. This book chronicles that process and other related aspects of the South African government’s land reform programme between 1994 and 1996. It allows the voices of the marginalised people to be heard beyond their own communities.
The Storyteller is a collection of folktales from the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango River villages in Botswana. It was made when groups of young storytellers gathered in D’Kar and Shakawe to perform and record their family stories. Twenty-three tales were written in Naro, Khwedam, ||Anikhwedam, Ju|’hoansi, Thimbukushu, Otjiherero, ShiYei and English.
This collection is a reflection of a changing oral tradition where cultures meet and integrate; where computer technology exists alongside traditional healing, where people work in their small offices and libraries in the desert, quietly creating their own educational futures. It testifies to a younger generation’s capacity to record, write and translate their elders’ oral traditions.
This little book, enhanced by the work of the San artists at the Kuru Art Project in the Kalahari, honours the Botswana tradition of storytelling and the diversity of its language heritage.
A fertility story narrated by traditional !xun healer Meneputo Manunga Manyeka. Translated by Marlene Winberg. Accompanied by !xun music.
This story narrates the birth of a traditional San healer. Translated by Marlene Winberg. Accompanied by !xun music..