Poppyn Stops Through

By: Nuala Cabral

For the past six years, the award-winning youth-led news program POPPYN has created media that highlights the efforts, concerns, creativity and brilliance of youth in Philadelphia. This past April, POPPYN embarked on a cross-cultural media project with youth organizations in South Africa, a country with a rich historical legacy of youth organizing and leadership.

"This project has impacted me on a multitude of levels. There was a lot of first for me on this trip; first trip out of the country; first plane ride; first time teaching; and lastly my first time creating a connection with a culture so similar but different than my own.” --Nasir
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I Am, We Are and the Bafokeng Youth Centre were two of the organizations POPPYN partnered with to create experimental, narrative, and journalistic media that promotes youth power, social change, and an increased sense of global awareness and connectedness across the African diaspora.  

"The films I saw left an impact on me, but the responses we received from the audience were touching whether good or bad. When I realized during the panels that people in South Africa have no faith in Americans and assume that we all believe they live in a "bush" or poverty, I knew that I needed to come home and make a difference and spark a connection between African Americans and their roots-- the continent of Africa." --Addy

Following the collaboration, the films were privately screened at Rustenburg's movie theater and then publicly at IAWA's film showcase at the Bafokeng Convention Center. This summer the films will screen in Philadelphia and air on public broadcast television in the Philadelphia area. POPPYN was thrilled to collaborate with IAWA and hopes this experience and the media created will spark curiosity and a deepened understanding and appreciation for global connectedness and youth power across organizations, borders, and the African Diaspora.

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"I want to hold onto the moment when I was teaching IAWA members how to edit their film, while we just sat and talked. It felt like we were a family in that moment just trying to accomplish our goal. I also will forever hold onto the moment in the movie theater when IAWA sang their mantra together; it uplifted everyone." --Addy
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"Upon returning to the US, I will share the truth of South Africa’s history of youth activism and strong leaders. I hope that by sharing these things together with the truth about how similar students there are to us, I can help to create more of a connection between black Americans and South Africans because in reality we’re not that different." - Addy

Be sure to check out the films from IAWA's Youth Film Festival:

  • Nyariuana (IAWA): A look into the causes and effects of youth using nyaope.
  • I Have Something to Tell You (Kitsong): A young man struggles to come to terms with his identity. He goes on a rollercoaster of a journey leading to his self-discovery.
  • The Test (Bafokeng Youth Centre) A short film about HIV testing.
  • The Circle (Bafokeng Youth Centre, IAWA, and Poppyn): A Cross-continental conversation between youth in South Africa and the United States of America, dissecting their myths, stereotypes, and perceptions.

Nuala Cabral is an educator and filmmaker interested in media literacy, youth leadership and community activism. As a POPPYN Coordinator, she teaches media literacy and media production to youth and community organizations.  An alumna of Tufts University and Third World Newsreel's Production Workshop, Nuala graduated from Temple University with a Masters in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media.