Celebrating 27 years of Soul City Institute

Celebrating 27 years of Soul City Institute

From health communication to intersectional feminism, Soul City Institute continues redefining itself to meet South Africans' needs!
Celebrating 27 years of Soul City Institute

Soul City Institute started with a desire to be a trusted source of health education through different forms of mass media.  At the core or heart of the Institute lies the desire to empower communities across the African continent.

On this day in 1995, Soul City Institute was formally registered, but the organisation was founded in 1992. It has grown to become one of the local and global leaders of Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC).

SCI has built a reputation as an influential voice that drives change through social and behavioural communication and thought leadership that creates visibility and advocates effectively. 

Known primarily for its iconic TV drama series Soul City and Soul Buddyz, this work has transformed and empowered generations of South Africans. But our work didn’t stop there. We developed social mobilisation interventions such as Soul Buddyz clubs in schools across South Africa and Rise Clubs to support our mass media work. And now, in our new vision as an intersectional feminist organisation, we stand against patriarchal power and the social injustices perpetuating inequality, oppression and discrimination against girls and women.

“To be at the helm of this era of the institute is an honour and a call to action to confront patriarchal power that keeps women oppressed and denied their constitutional rights. The majority of black women in our country suffer triple oppression, them being women, black and poor. This oppression must be confronted at a political, social, cultural and religious level,” Soul City Institute CEO Phinah Kodisang says.

“In the 27th year of Soul City’s existence, we are reminded of how long we have been advocating for the realisation and protection of women's rights. We are saddened to see that the threats to the lives of girls and women still exist,” she adds.

But our birthday comes at a time when the country is reminded of the war on women taking place. The murders of six sex workers in Johannesburg are just another proof of how women's lives are not respected.

“As we celebrate our birthday, we do so by reminding the relevant government departments of the need for the decriminalisation of sex work is the only way we can ensure the safety of sex workers,” Kodisang explains. “As we are weeks away from the second Presidential Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Summit, we call for the full implementation and commitment to ending this war on women.” 

In her three years as CEO, the Institute has broken glass ceilings, such as pioneering the first unapologetically feminist TV talk show called It’s a Feminist Thing which aired nationally on SABC and reached 32 million viewers.

“Through this show, in which I was also a co-host, we challenged cultural, religious and societal norms and how they oppress girls and women. We brought feminism to a new audience and showed them that it is not a foreign concept.”

This year, Soul City launched the Feminist Leadership and Activism Centre (FLAC), the latest flagship programme that cements Soul City Institute's feminist agenda through capacity building, mentorship and resourcing to increase the feminist movement across South Africa.

“The inaugural class of 20 girls from across South Africa will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be a generation of young feminists by providing education as a communal space of learning, sharing and connection that aims to explore social realities that affect the quality of women’s lives,” Kodisang adds.

From iconic mass media work to social mobilisation in some of the most vulnerable communities in South Africa. From advocacy across the continent and campaigns that have contributed to progressive policies and legislation to using feminist technology and equipping and empowering the next generation of African feminists. Soul City continues to strive for greater heights each year of our existence. It is NotYetUhuru, but we want to see freedom in our lifetime!


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