The Power of Storytelling

Imagine the storyteller.

For most people, their thoughts are drawn to the work of famous people – photographers, filmmakers, authors or musicians. We think of individuals who have influenced the direction of literature, like Charles Dickens, or filmmakers who have redefined art form, such as Spielberg.

We see these individuals near the final stages of their careers, but often do not think about the moments of humble and humility that they needed to get there. The process of telling stories begins within the community. The most compelling stories don’t have any spotlight at all – they’re the simple memories shared between families, the tense moments of grief within a group or the simple majesty of daily life. The appeal of storytelling lies in it’s freedom of speech that it permits. It doesn’t require being famous to be able to share powerful stories with your friends and family. It’s all you need to be authentic.

We recently had the pleasure of hearing stories from a local storyteller in South Africa. After looking over his pictures and finding out more about his background We were utterly by the story he told us. We’re now determined to make use of our platform to tell some of his stories and shine an understanding of the power of storytelling that is simple.


Introducing Sauda


As a child, Sauda was immersed in the world of stories. Sauda remembers some of his first memories of his mother as they listened to her tell stories from the past. Sauda was fascinated. He was drawn by the way that each of his mother’s stories could be used to teach stories and motivate positive actions. When asked about the reason he stumbled in love with storytelling Sauda says it was due to these simple and enchanting moments as a child.

The first time he began to take photographs was just five years ago. Photographers from the documentary genre such as Kevin Carter, Ernest Cole as well as Daniel Milnor served as his sources of inspiration. Sauda was inspired by how these photographers were able to tell powerful stories about life in the confined space of one image. It was this first exposure to the potential of humanitarian photography, and an early childhood filled with his mother’s stories that inspired Sauda to pursue his dream of becoming a documentary photographer for himself.

Sauda started his journey into photography on his phone in the year 2015. After capturing everything he could on his phone and soon realized that the time was right to move his first camera. By skipping out dates and keeping every dime left over change in the bank after a long period of saving, Sauda was able to buy his very first DSLR in the year 2018.

To claim that Sauda is skilled would be an overstatement. We’re blown away by the authenticity and beauty in the photos Sauda takes. Being a self-taught photographer who purchased his first camera two years ago, he’s extremely talented. Sauda has a unique storytelling style who conveys himself with grace and enthusiasm – he lets the compelling stories in his photographs to speak about themselves.

We are so excited to allow him to showcase some of his tales! Below is a selection photographs from his photography. On each photo is an extract that explains the meaning behind the photo.

Sauda’s Stories

After observing how his pals appeared on the camera’s screen A young boy who lived in Phumasilwe Thembisa was filled with delight. The joy he felt turned into pure delight when Sauda recorded the image and presented it to him and he could see the beauty in himself.

Her eyes are a testament to the tenseness of her life. Her origins are from Mozambique She was escorted in South Africa by her sister seeking an opportunity to live a better life. Her only job is to do laundry for the people of Phumasilwe. She isn’t fluent in the local language. It’s not her home town. However, she does her job with a calm, humble attitude and unwavering determination.

Growing up in Phumasilwe Thembisa is filled by imagination. Much like the majority of informal living areas within South Africa, there are no areas designated that children could traditionally play. Instead, they play improv. They seek inspiration and fun from the things their environment has to provide. The kids in this picture play outside in an uninhabitable restroom, with the sewage flowing freely along their activities.

A small group of children had just a few minutes before having being completely absorbed into the thrill of a spontaneous tire race. Their childish wonder quickly became Sauda the strange man with a strange camera, who was quietly watching the scene from a distance.

“Everyone calls him Mdala. which means, “Old man”. He is a close friend of my mother. In the past, I presented him with a photo of his uncle who died. The photo was used during the time of the funeral. The deceased was moved by the force and strength of this image. He was quiet and confident, and asked me to take a picture to commemorate his funeral. That is the picture.” According to Sauda.

In the course of a trip towards Makambako, Tanzania, Sauda crossed through Morogoro. On the other right-of-way there was a tiny Maasai village. While some members of the community were incorporating new modern elements into their lives, others retained their traditional lifestyles. The beauty and peace of the village will remain unalterable.

The Power of Being a Local Storyteller

Sauda’s photography journey is inspirational. He doesn’t have any sponsors and his work isn’t showcased in the most prestigious magazines, and he’s not well-known – the only thing he does is tell stories when they are. Humor makes stories shine.

Stories can alter the world. Every time throughout our history, we’ve witnessed the influence of seemingly unimaginable people who have made a huge impact sharing their stories with their experiences with the world. A single photo can trigger the world to move.

The best part? You don’t need to be an expert storyteller to make a difference in the world! Learn from Sauda. Start where you are at.


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