Collaborator Profile | Sista Zai – Stillwaters Storytelling Collective “Making Diverse and Underrepresented Voices & Issues Heard”

Arts in Action is extremely honoured and excited to present Sista Zai performance poet, radio host, and co-organiser of the Stillwaters Women’s Storytelling Collective who will be performing a moving tribute to survival at The Last Survivor Screening 31st May @ Bella Union.

SISTA ZAI is a storyteller who uses spoken word to explore the political through her personal and lived everyday experiences.  Zai’s social justice work takes place within the Stillwaters Women’s Storytelling Collective, which she founded in 2011 with the intention of making diverse and underrepresented voices and issues heard in the mainstream.

Sista Zai is also a radio announcer on 3CR’s Hip Sista Hop show (Monday @ 1pm on 855am), where she showcases music by women and indigenous Australians and a spoken word segment featuring live readings from local poets. She believes that, in our intensely globalising world, any form of entertainment that concomitantly educates whilst bringing people and communities together in harmony is an imperative for grassroots-led, grassroots-driven and grassroots-sustained intercultural harmony and understanding.  It is this fundamental life philosophy that motivated Fadzai to found Stillwaters.

Stillwaters is a storytelling organisation run by African-descended women (Tariro Mavondo, Tinashe Pwiti and Fadzai Jaravaza) with the purpose of empowering men and women of all cultures to tell their own stories in their individual and unique styles.

Stillwaters! Storytelling Collective embraces all forms and styles of storytelling – including but not limited to spoken word, written word, theatre, visual art, singing, song-writing, photography, dance, Comedy etc.. The Stillwaters! Storytelling Collective consists of various storytelling groups, which fall under its organizational umbrella. Through participation in these groups, storytellers actively weave their stories into the Stillwaters! Storytelling Collective’s community and the larger Australian community. Stillwaters! Provides a platform for everyone to tell their story. Each year, the Stillwaters! Core group, which is run by African-descended women, sets a theme and runs a cohesive program of activities for everyone interested in stories within that theme, in telling their own story, in learning more about that theme and in empowering themselves to tell their story to a small or large audience. FOR UPCOMING EVENTS Visit their Eventbrite page and register to recieve updates or join the mailing list at

Women’s Storytelling Circles

“We tell stories. We listen to stories. We love stories.”

The Women’s Storytelling Circles meet as a community every third Saturday of the month from 12.30 – 15.00. The circles are an opportunity for a woman or group of women who tell stories (writers, performers, poets, visual artists, dancers, musicians, academics etc) to present their story to an audience/a circle of people. The Storytelling Circles are open to all ages and all genders. The only rule is that the person/s presenting the story must be/identify as women. So, in essence, women hold the space and set the intention for the discussion.
Apart for providing a platform for women to present their stories, the circles are an opportunity for the person/s presenting to receive positive feedback and constructive criticism from the audience.  The idea is that engagement with the community might provide the storyteller with fresh insight and new ideas to explore in their storytelling or to take their storytelling into new and bold directions.  As such, the circles are also an opportunity for community to gather and respectfully consider the issues at hand.

You can purchase a 2012 season (April – November) pass at a discounted rate.  Email  if you wish to find out more information about our entire 2012 series.

Attendees pay for each session at these rates: $25 (waged), $15 (non-waged) or enter free (persons under 18 years of age).

The moneys earned will go towards paying the speakers – economic empowerment is a fundamental principle of Stillwaters Storytelling Collective.  In addition, moneys earned will cover the costs of organising and running the event (including the refreshments) and generating an income for Stillwaters Women’s Storytelling Collective.


Visit their Eventbrite page and register to recieve updates or join the mailing list at

Poetry Installation @ Fed Square

Unveiling the Veil @ Fed Square – The Light in Winter

Somewhere in a Melbourne high school, Hijab-wearing girls were asked to wear their veil in school colours. There was an outpouring – “Other girls have short hair, long hair, braided hair, red hair, streaked hair, shaved hair…Our headwear is a part of who we are and every nuance of the texture, weight and type of fabric matters in the expression of the self. Every colour, pattern and method of tying the scarf is born out of who each of us is…” Still Waters African Women’s Storytelling Collective, in collaboration with a group of Somali girls, create a poignant poetry installation about hair, the Hijab and being human.

Facilitators: Still Waters African Women’s Storytelling Collective, Fadzai Jaravaza, Tariro Mavondo, Alia Gabres Participants: Somali Women’s Group Designer: Adrienne Chisolm Video Designer: Riza Manalo

Come along to The Last Survivor Screening 31st May @ Bella Union and see the amazing Sista Zai in action!

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed