17 Jun ‘Someone in Cape Town’ | A Recovery Story Told Over Social Media
The City of Cape Town’s ongoing drive to promote its substance abuse treatment programme continues to garner results. Primarily living on Facebook, the ‘Someone in Cape Town‘ campaign is aimed at the youth and recites the story of an anonymous young man recovering from drug addiction. Based on real life stories shared by recovered addicts who have gone through the city’s programme, the campaign consists of two parts: one depicts the backstory while the other depicts the recovery. Actors are used to recreate the stories, allowing for the protection of the identities of the people involved.
The campaign started coming to life through pre-populating the timeline on Facebook with five year’s worth of posts. The young subject is shown experimenting with drugs, hitting rock bottom, and eventually seeking help. The campaign shows his first day at rehab in a free city-run programme, taking one strong step at a time on the road to recovery.
“We wanted to present a raw and honest view of the day-to-day struggles of a recovering drug addict, but also to demystify perceptions around rehabilitation by telling an individual’s story. Social media was an obvious choice for the campaign because it enables us to not only reach the youth, but also to relay the story in a way that they can relate to and then be able to share directly via Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Health, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.
The 5 years worth of pictures that demonstrate the downward spiral of the young man’s life and his later journey to recovery inspired myriad supporters to take to their social media and provide words of encouragement. This reenactment of real life events not only warns the youth about the consequences of substance abuse but also urges them to believe that change for a better life is possible. Through this campaign, the City of Cape Town lends a helping hand to those who are in need of encouragement, motivation, and guidance to a brighter future.
“Extensive research by the creative team at Society was carried out with recovered addicts and people running recovery programmes in Cape Town to identify common trends and insights that we could tap into. We are encouraged by the response to the campaign, but we also realise that there is a long road ahead. The idea of admitting to substance abuse and seeking help remains taboo in many homes and communities and we are trying to break through that mind-set by reaching out to younger people who tend to be more receptive to new or different ideas,” added Councillor Mamkeli.
In the first seven weeks of the launch, the ‘Someone in Cape Town’ page attracted 10 151 likes, while the videos posted as a part of the narrative received 157 320 views on Facebook and Youtube. 50 individuals have reached out to the city to seek help. The campaign reached over 2.5 million people in May 2015 and increased helpline calls by 156%.