South African author, activist brings anti-bullying message to Minot
An anti-bullying campaign has made its way to Minot from South Africa.
Hashtag Big Bad Bully is a traveling show that works to spread the anti-bullying message to kids and teenagers.
The show follows the misadventures of the main character hashtag and uses emojis and music to communicate with kids in a fun way. The author of the play who is from South Africa, wanted to address bullying and cyberbullying in America in a way kids can understand.
“I came up with the concept of Hashtag Big Bad Bully because I did some research and found out that so many children are being bullied at school. Cyberbullying is a big, big problem as well. So kids go home and instead of having some rest at home they are actually bullied even in the comfort and privacy of their own bedrooms and so this is really to address that,” said Sharon Swanepoel, author and anti-bullying activist.
The play, which was first performed in 2018, has since been turned into a book that is handed out at assemblies to help empower kids to stand up against bullying.
“I really came to the conclusion that it's something that can be taught. Bullying is a learned behavior and so children can unlearn bullying. This might be a simple story but the effect is really powerful and if kids will really take this to heart, to have a sweet heart to change this bully culture I believe we are going to see a turnaround,” said Swanepoel.
Our Redeemer's is the first school in Minot to host the campaign. The program plans to return to the area in the Fall.
You can learn more about Swanepoel’s writings and message on her website: http://hashtagbully.us/index.html