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Cutting-edge storytelling uncovers history hidden for over a century

Finding the Forgotten Graduate: a revolutionary storytelling campaign.

Howard Audio is proud to be a significant part of a project to track down and honour the very first South African of colour to get a degree. The project – an online interactive experience informed by nine months of intense historical research – shines a much-needed light on some of South Africa’s pioneering intellectuals whose contributions, either in full or in part, have never before featured in the country’s history books.

As a mutual company, PPS – a financial services provider catering exclusively to graduate professionals – is built on the ethos of success being better shared. In creating their most recent brand campaign, they remind us that our history is filled with graduates who were never able to share their success. Finding the Forgotten Graduate is a visceral journey back in time to find South Africa’s very first graduate of colour, and finally share his success over a century later via the world’s only Posthumous Life Policy.

Cutting-edge storytelling uncovers history hidden for over a century

Howard Audio composed, sound-designed and final-mixed the audio for the entire online experience which consists of two videos that top and tail a total of ten audio stories along a visually-striking interactive timeline. Featuring bespoke solo piano music for every single piece of storytelling, Adam Howard was in his element over this project.

"It was a brief like we’d never had before," he says. "It was almost like composing a whole movie, made up of different scenes reflecting a series of graduates of colour who had deliberately been sidelined from the mainstream South African history narrative. Working hand in glove with the Promise team, and Tebza Malope of Star Films, we crafted the ten narrative tales that take place over a more than one-hundred-year period. I composed and arranged around forty minutes of music. Unconstrained by the usual 30-second or even two-minute format, I could set my musical imagination free. When the story required, I included African percussive and vocal moments to highlight the narrative."

Once the story narration was crafted and the visuals laid, Adam played a thematic piano theme over each one to weave between the words. The film pieces, shot by Tebza Malope of Star films, reflect the mood and tone of the stories. The musical landscape binds these elements of tone, voice and visual into an emotional gestalt where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The full storytelling experience can be viewed at A courageous strategy that allowed the budget to be invested into a storytelling campaign so moving, so telling, that the content is set to make a lasting contribution to the South African history books.

Cutting-edge storytelling uncovers history hidden for over a century
Cutting-edge storytelling uncovers history hidden for over a century
Cutting-edge storytelling uncovers history hidden for over a century

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Howard Audio
At Howard Audio we do sound differently. Our composers and engineers combine original music, sound design and final mix in a state of the art studio to create emotionally captivating audio.
Read more: Adam Howard, PPS, Star Films

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