Dr Marlene Winberg



Narrative & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practitioner

Dear Reader

As human beings we have always made sense of life through the act of telling our stories. This has been our way of understanding ourselves, other people and the world we live in for time immemorial. Story is etched into the neurology of our brains.

This natural storytelling capacity sometimes turns against us when we believe the unhelpful stories other people tell about us, or when we listen to the voices in our heads that say, “You cannot do this”. “You are not worth it”. “You will never make it”.

When we allow a destructive narrative to become our dominant narrative, we are in trouble. Our self-esteem suffers and we end up believing that we are not good enough, that others are better than us, that life has no point and that we do not have the personal power to change our problems.

In Narrative and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, we work with our stories until we can make sense of them in ways that support our lives. We decide what we want to keep or let go. We set goals. When people find it hard to talk about a problem, we use creative art techniques to express and identify the story they want to change. These techniques may include writing, reading, talking, art making or music, depending on your personal needs. In this creative way, you externalise your problems, deconstruct them and put the story together in a re-imagined and unique way that support your healing and growth. The course trains you to mind your cognitive behaviour and teaches you how.

During the past 30 years, I have helped thousands of people to make sense of their stories, clarify their desired, alternative stories. I have learnt that we all have one thing in common when it comes to our self-narratives: it is how we build our identity. Narrative Therapy helps you to better master your sense of who you are – become the writer of your story.

I have worked with people and their narratives in schools, universities, prisons, child rehabilitation centres and development organisations with children and adults. As the South African co-ordinator of the Swedish-based, international non-profit organisation, The World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, I have counselled thousands of vulnerable young people from all walks of life, different countries and cultures (www.worldschildrensprize.org).

Have a look at my books below – they are all inspired by how people tell their identity stories and how this telling affects their lives.

My narrative practice is based in Kalk Bay, an urban fishing village at the very tip of Africa. You will also find me at the Corner Health Therapy Clinic, 19 Recreation Road, Fish Hoek, Cape Town. To make an appointment, call +27 (21) 782-6958. www.cornerhealth.co.za

To book an appointment for an introductory online session, call +27 (0) 83 3925153 or send me an email.

Thank you for dropping in.



Books & Audio Stories

!Nanni’s Sketchbook

!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 author explores the visual and verbal children’s trauma narratives and demonstrates how the telling of their stories, their paintings and drawings facilitated their healing.

The !kun children’s archive is part of the larger Bleek and Lloyd Collection – entered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Manyeka Books info@manyeka.co.za

Kapilolo’s Kulimatji

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).

Manyeka Books info@manyeka.co.za

Children’s Books

A series of 6 children’s books with indigenous San stories and illustrations by !xun artists and storytellers themselves.

Manyeka Books info@manyeka.co.za


Back To The Land

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.

Paul Weinberg

The Storyteller

The Storyteller is a collection of traditional narratives 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.


Audio Stories

The Mud Baby

A fertility story narrated by traditional !xun healer Meneputo Manunga Manyeka. Translated by Marlene Winberg. Accompanied by !xun music.


The Water Woman

This story narrates the birth of a traditional San healer. Translated by Marlene Winberg. Accompanied by !xun music..


Receive audio stories and articles in your inbox