National Features and Documentary Series

NFDS 2018: Hear Our Voices

amclellan, 15th October 2018

How is Australia experienced by the South Sudanese youth growing up here?

Aguer Athian brings us some of their stories to change the current narrative, and give voice to the voiceless in Hear Our Voices
Produced by Aguer Athian of 3ZZZ, Melbourne.
Supervising production by Maddy Macfarlane.

We mostly hear or see positive images of a South Sudanese young person if they are in the spotlight kicking footy.

But there are so many hidden success stories which wider Australia doesn't have access to. This documentary covers some of it.

My documentary gives an opportunity to hear the unusual voices of South Sudanese young women sharing their personal life experiences and the challenges of living between two worlds. 

Topics covered in this piece consist of: the cultural expectation of the girls in the Sudanese culture; the challenges of parents keeping to the culture (which mostly creates the tension between the young and the older generation); the challenges around identity crisis and stereotyping; schooling experiences.

One of the questions which came up from the girls was "At what point does a Sudanese person become or become seen as Aussie?"

Because no one seems to see them as Australian, although most were born here.

National Features and Documentary SeriesIMAGE: Bakhita Dao and Aguer Athian at the studios of PBS, Melbourne

Athony Lual and Bakhita Dao discussed how they cope with all these challenges - growing up in Australia while maintaining their roots, because they have such strong connection to their home country and culture though they have never been there.

In this documentary we are creating our own narratives for the South Sudanese young person to be able to speak for themselves, share their unique experiences, challenges, and positive achievements.

These stories are mostly never heard because it's not the narrative that is usually covered when we hear about Sudanese young people.

Though I know Athony and Bakhita at a personal level, this was the first time I have heard them share their personal life experiences.

I enjoyed listening to them, taking me through the emotional and inspiring journey. These experiences were a consistence reminder of why I wanted to provide a platform for these inspiring young people to speak for themselves to inspire and educate others.

This documentary is very close to my heart, because I share similar experiences and wanted the wider Australia to hear our voices. 

- Aguer Athian

  • Jan Smith for encouraging me to persuade this opportunity through the CMTO
  • My sincere appreciation to the CMTO and CBAA
  • Maddy MacFarlane, I couldn’t have done this without her
  • Bakhita Dao
  • Athony Lual
  • Ajak Kwai
  • Achai Deng
  • GreyBul
Further Reading

This piece was made for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series 2018, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

Produced with the assistance of the Department of Communications and the Arts via the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

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