Garth Japhet, a South African medical doctor and leading social-change entrepreneur who believes stories are the medicine that bring most healing has written a book Like Water is for Fish in which he demonstrates the power of story through sharing his own story and those of interesting people he has interviewed.
Stories he read as a boy in The Jungle Doctor series of books influenced him to become a doctor. And a revelation of the healing potential of stories set him on a path which led to co-founding Soul City, an acclaimed multimedia edutainment project that addresses health issues and has reached over 50 million people in 10 southern African countries.
Story is also at the centre of what he does as the founding CEO of Heartlines an NGO that initiates research-based campaigns to tackle society’s big issues, such as the “What’s Your Story?” campaign launched in 2017 to build bridges of reconciliation in SA through listening to one another’s stories. The “What’s Your Story” campaign, which was linked with a powerful film, Beyond The River, was adopted by many SA churches.
When Garth, as a deeply disillusioned young doctor, stumbled upon the healing power of story – fictional, factual and his own — he started to ask whether he could use story to change the lives of others as it had changed his own life. He deals with this life question in his book in which he shows that story, in its multiple forms, is as essential for our lives as water is for fish.
The book, which is published by Pan Macmillan South Africa, is available at book stories.