If a story moves you, act on it

After Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Danger of a Single Story” came out in 2009, storytelling entered the mainstream – for good reason. It is a powerful tool that has inspired me and many others (including my fellow fellows). Certainly storytelling was not a novel idea in 2009, but its recent steady rise in popularity is something I’ve often reflected upon as a writer, organizer, and consumer of stories.

But is diverse storytelling the answer to injustice?

Sisonke Msimang, head of programs at the Centre for Stories, would answer no. In a recent talk, she uses her experiences as both writer and activist to remind us that stories, while extraordinarily valuable, actually don’t make the world a better place. They have to be supplemented with a host of other things: reliable media, factual analysis, skepticism, curiosity, and perhaps most importantly, action. This talk manages to simultaneously tell a story while warning against the dangers of storytelling, all without devaluing their importance. This is certainly a complicated task, and an incredibly relevant one in this complicated moment. She accomplishes it with resounding success. You can find her talk here – it is well worth a listen.