International premiere of the animation “Indlela Yokuphila: The Soul’s Journey” – When indigenous and scientific knowledge work in solidarity towards inclusive ocean decision making


7 June


6:00 pm


United Nations Plaza, New York

777 United Nations Plaza, 2nd Floor Conference Room, New York, NY 10017

The One Ocean Hub, Peace Boat, and Blue Planet Alliance are organising a joint side event for the United Nations World Ocean Day 2023 featuring the international premiere of the short animation “Indlela Yokuphila: The Soul’s Journey.” Indlela Yokuphila is a transdisciplinary ocean research project that brought together a range of artists, traditional healers, marine sociologists, and deep-sea marine ecologists to collaborate on a more holistic alternative to ocean mapping and decision making. According to the ancestral beliefs of the isiZulu people, the deep sea is a resting place of ancestors, where, after death, the soul travels to, through streams, rivers, estuaries, and eventually into the sea.

The animation film offers a dazzling digital storytelling experience in which the soul’s journey in isiZulu traditional belief systems is remarkably similar to the scientific evidence on the water lifecycle. The animation film is based on an interview with a traditional Zulu historian and a traditional Zulu healer. The interview was part of the One Ocean Hub research on transformative ocean governance in South Africa. The social scientists and artists working on this project use storytelling to illustrate how – if we are willing to listen closely – scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge can at times align.

The screening will be followed by a discussion on lessons learnt for innovative approaches to inclusivity of different knowledge systems in ocean research, as well as human rights protection and non-discrimination in ocean governance. Indlela Yokuphila was produced by the Empatheatre team of the One Ocean Hub in association with Shells & Spells. It was led by animator/director Marc Moynihan, Empatheatre co-founders Dr Dylan McGarry and award-winning performer and theatre-maker Mpume Mthombeni and composer Braam Du Toit.

Dr Dylan McGarry (Director, Empatheatre, Lecturer Rhodes University, Project Co-lead, One Ocean Hub)
Prof Elisa Morgera (Director, One Ocean Hub)
Ms Phumelephi Mthombeni (Actor /Director, Empatheatre)
Mr Neil Coppen (Director, Empatheatre)
Molly Rosaaen and a youth representative, Peace Boat US Youth leader and Blue Planet Alliance Global Ambassador

Trailer and registration can be found here:

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