Twenty years after the end of apartheid, Cape Town is still a divided city.  IF YOU KNEW ME brings Capetonians together to record their own stories via radio, photography and film, culminating in a community, city-wide, and permanent online exhibitions.

We want to encourage people to rethink and redesign their relationship to the city and to one another.

Iliso Labantu is collaborating with The Children's Radio Foundation and Rock Girl to document communities across Cape Town. Teams of photographers and radio reporters are documenting neighborhoods across the city. We'll be setting up portrait studios and photographing on the streets, in shops, in homes, asking people to share their stories. First, we will exhibit the photos and broadcast the radio stories in each neighborhood with a street photo exhibition and a pop-up radio station. At the end of the year, we'll show the work throughout the city -- on the sides of buses, trains, storefronts, and at the RockGirl benches around the city. 

Stories from teenagers in Manenberg will be featured side-by-side with stories from pensioners in Sea Point, photos of surfers in Muizenberg will hang next to photos of fishermen from Hangberg, police officers from St. George’s Mall, day laborers in Greenpoint, shop owners from Khayelitsha and office workers in the Waterfront.

A Rock Girl Mobile Story Bench that travels around the Cape Town with youth reporters and photographers to share and gather stories.

PSAs and radio broadcasts on our pop-up radio station and on local and national broadcasters. 

Mobile and printed maps of all the exhibition site.

A network of hired taxis converted into “story mobiles” that will ferry people on their exploration of new parts of the city.

We'll be collecting stories from around the city and the world online. 


By helping to dismantle the assumptions that we make about one another, we aim to create safer, more engaged communities.

Rock Girl's Safe Spaces bench and installation at St. Andrew's, Cape Town. 

Rock Girl's Safe Spaces bench and installation at St. Andrew's, Cape Town. 

Iliso Labantu Photo Collective has been documenting township life since 2007 through our Flash Photo Weekends.

The Children's Radio Foundation trains youth reporters in 5 countries across Africa, in 25 languages and reaches nearly 7 million listeners each week. 

Rock Girl seeks to reduce violence against women and girls through workshops, camps, and the creation of safe spaces. RockGirl has collaborated with artists, designers, city planners and girls and women to place more than 50 "safe spaces" benches throughout the city, uniting communities in the effort to end violence against women and girls. These public benches are the hubs for IF YOU KNEW ME photo shoots and exhibitions. 


IF YOU KNEW ME is an effort to create a more resilient community by bringing people together across geographical, racial, ethnic and economic divides.

We are developing this project with minimal reliance on technology, infrastructure and overhead so that this project can be replicated by other organizations that wish to use storytelling as a means of engaging with and reflecting on their relationships to city.  

In 2015, we will be creating a short film, an illustrated web-based tutorial, and curriculum materials for the education department for learners to integrate storytelling into their studies.