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TAG Mural

Image summary (left to right):

The left side shows water being poured into hands. This water is a metaphor, born from a group experience of a water outage during a weekend camp. They conserved the little water they had, sharing it using a jug. The jug of water represents how the group has worked together to overcome challenges.

The water is passed from one person to another (including participants and researchers), a show of teamwork. It is used to water a Baobab tree, which are notorious for growing strong and flourishing in difficult conditions. The difficult conditions that the tree grows within represent both their individual and collective struggles. The tree symbolises their group, and what it has co-created (grown) together.

The ‘fruits’ are the benefits of their collective engagement in the research process. These include direct personal benefits such as social support, friendship and skills to navigate adverse circumstances, as well as changes to policy and programming brought about by the research products. Participants and researchers pick and share the fruits that the tree has borne, symbolising how what has been created together is shared for the benefit of all group members.

At the far right is a ‘research truck’, into which fruit is being placed for transport to other parts of Africa. In addition to sharing the benefits of their involvement in research with their immediate group, the ‘fruits’ – research findings and their impacts – are being shared for the benefit of other adolescents and young people on the continent. When asked by a researcher if the ‘research truck’ felt extractive, a participant replied ‘it isn’t taking something away because it is already within us’. (Female, Age 19),

The background represents a merging of landscapes. The cityscape represents the Cape Town urban imagery where participants live. The country landscape is symbolic of the places outside of the city where TAG weekend camps have taken place, which are known for their fruit farms.

This visual data contains three overarching themes: (1) empowerment through overcoming individual and group challenges; (2) ‘unity’ in group research, demonstrated through the image of participants jointly working together and collectively reaping the benefits of their work; and, (3) bridging the gap between knowledge and social action for the creation of broader social change through research.

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