On 17 December 2022, during our trip to South Korea, Justice Desk Africa was invited to speak at the 2022 Mushroom Insight Forum in Seoul, an international forum to reflect on the meaning and influence of BTS fandom. As the Mbokodo Project was in part influenced by BTS, it was especially pertinent.
The theme of this forum was 'Finding Hope in the Fandom for a Better Future' and our CEO Jess was asked to speak specifically on the effects of trauma and how we as Everyday Activists are determined to overcome it at Justice Desk Africa. This was especially in light of the recent traumatic Itaewon tragedy that occurred over Halloween.
The event was a lovely space to share unique experiences, thoughts and areas of expertise and consisted of academics, press, humanitarians and many others. Two of our wonderful Mbokodo Girls, Phumza and Azile, were also speakers at the event. They spoke from the heart about the trauma they had each experienced living in South Africa as young survivors of violence. They spoke with courage and compassion as they helped those in the audience to understand that no matter your trauma, your life is worth living!
They spoke about their time in The Mbokodo Project and the difference the project has also made in their lives. And to end it off, all of our girls got up on stage and sang the most beautiful song that highlighted their struggles.
The conference truly showed how if we continue to be divided as a world and focus on our differences, rather than our common humanity, then we will achieve very little as a world.
When we experience things like trauma, the world often tells us to “be strong”, “suck it up” or “move on”. It is sentiments like these that result in many people feeling unsafe to share when they’ve experienced trauma, or when they need help.
That’s why at Justice Desk Africa we believe that we need to deconstruct these toxic values within our world and society and recognise that we are responsible for each other. We need to create safe spaces where all people can come together in our collective brokenness and heal.
A very special thanks to Kim Youngmi, marketer and CEO of Mushroom, for her continued love and support of Justice Desk Africa and all those who made this event possible.