10 CITY PRESS, 4 AUGUST, 2019 news Data privacy for smart kids MOROETSANA SERAME [email protected] For years as a digital rights campaigner Murray Hunter has been speaking to adults about data privacy. Now he is set to introduce a playful, engaging way to start a discussion with children about these issues through the world’s first children’s book on corporate surveillance. Data privacy can be a spine-chilling topic for adults, but kids are smart, curious and brave – especially when the conversation comes in the form of a relatable, quirky and subversive storybook called Boris the BabyBot. The storybook has whimsical illustrations and playful puns that can charm children of any age, even those who are well into their fifties. “My first objective is to tell a story that could entertain and delight kids and grown-ups alike. It’s not an instructional book on privacy; it’s purely an attempt to find a playful way of opening a different kind of conversation about the issue. I wanted a playful way to reboot the conversation on surveillance. Rooting it in a silly, subversive children’s story about a funny little robot just made sense,” said Hunter. He said his intention was not to teach kids about surveillance in the direct sense or to try to give very young children a hard-hitting message that they weren’t ready for. Rather, he wanted something that children would find entertaining and, in doing so, start to lay the building blocks for awareness of surveillance. “The story offers visual references which might help a child start to imagine the hidden world behind all this technology. So, by the time a child is ready to open up a discussion on these issues with a grown-up, maybe at a much later age, they have a story and a picture in which they can anchor these abstract ideas. And if none of that happens, it’s just a playful story that kids and grown-ups can enjoy together. And that’d be just fine with me,” Hunter said. The inspiration for the book came from time Hunter spent with family friends, reading Book Dash storybooks to their children and younger cousins, during the festive season. “The thought just popped into my head as I was passing through the airport scanners and surveillance cameras, to tell a story that invited children to imagine a hidden world behind all this technology,” the author said. He would love to see the book translated to all South African languages and become widely available. “I’ve been really inspired by the innovative work of organisations, such as the Nal’ibali campaign, Book Dash and FunDza to get quality stories to South African children in their mother tongue. So, as soon as I’ve completed this phase, I want to start a conversation about how to support that work,” said the digital rights activist. Hunter encouraged ordinary citizens to explore the many ways in which they could protect their private data, such as switching messenger apps and changing permission settings on their cellphones. “South Africa has a privacy law called the Protection of Personal Information Act, which is meant to protect our private data, but the state has basically failed to bring it into force ... If this little story becomes a way for us to have that conversation that would be great.” CUTE SPINNING WHAT TO WATCH AT VAVASATI THIS YEAR beginning years in directing, the passion and the raw talent. I really love it.” GRETHE KEMP [email protected] The seventh annual Vavasati International Women’s Festival takes place for the whole of Women’s Month at the SA State Theatre. A celebration of women in theatre, visual art, dance, performance, music and poetry – the programme is large and varied. We asked co-curator Kgaogelo Tshabalala what audiences should go check out. Carin Bester: Till Death Do Us Part August 9 and 10 Description: A performance art installation that interrogates intimate partner violence, rape and femicide in South Africa. Tshabalala: “This work captured me from the first sentence of the description. It is not my particular style of interest, however, I found myself getting goosebumps just reading the synopsis.” Suzan Nkata: Bloom August 21 and 22 Description: A work of choreography created by women, performed by women and for women. The show explores themes of female sexuality and its expression, as well as female masturbation and the female orgasm. Unlike men, women are made to feel ashamed and even disgusting for expressing their sexuality. People do not talk about women masturbating in the same way they talk about men masturbating. Tshabalala: “I am really fascinated by the creator’s choice of content, especially because female masturbation is something we mostly shy away from talking about openly. I am excited for the future as a young woman myself, to see young creatives make works like this.” Nomvuyo Hlophe: Empty Wraps August 9 and 10 Description: A series of deconstructed monologues, broken down into thoughts and experiences. These have come as a result of loss, uncertainty, love, hate and broken relationships that have manifested in the lives of four women. The unfolding of the thought-provoking conversations and confrontations are a discovery of deeply embedded and hidden experiences in their lives, with which they have had to deal. Tshabalala: “I am a lover of physical theatre and I am humbled by this beautiful peace. I think director Nomvuyo Hlophe has done an amazing work.” woman with deep scars that have come back to haunt her. Tshabalala: “When we were putting together the programme, I was blown away by Binda’s presentation of this work. She’s dynamite on stage.” Busisiwe Mazibuko: It Wasn’t My Intention August 23 and 24 Description: This theatre piece consists of a collage of six women telling their stories from prison. Tshabalala: “This particular show reminds me of my Thulisile Binda: iThemba (Hope) August 16 and 17 ● Tickets cost R80 per show and are available at webtickets.co.za Description: This dance piece shows the journey of a
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