Savannah Steyn, a talented young writer, discovered her deep passion for writing and storytelling when she was just a kid. Inspired by her mom, who is also a writer, Savannah found comfort and joy in the world of books. Her mom’s love for stories ignited Savannah’s creative spark and helped her express herself better in school and beyond.

As an author, Savannah has her own special way of writing. She starts by asking questions or imagining a central image or theme for her stories. This helps her come up with interesting characters and plots. Sometimes she doodles, and other times she just writes freely. But one thing she always does is create mind maps to organize her thoughts.

To get her creative juices flowing, Savannah has routines and rituals that inspire her. She loves listening to music while she writes, choosing a genre that matches the mood of her story. She also looks at pictures and creates mood boards to set the tone. And sometimes, she talks to people and asks them about the theme of her story to get different perspectives and ideas. This makes her stories more diverse and interesting.

Savannah’s passion for storytelling knows no bounds. Through her unique creative process, she weaves captivating tales that touch hearts and minds. Her writing is not just about words on a page; it’s about connecting with her characters and creating stories that matter.

One of Savannah’s exciting projects is her chattalogue,3C. The chattalogue (Fundza’s name for short plays) was produced for a special Fundza and Suidoosterfees collaboration, which showcased the works of six young playwrights at the cultural festival held in April. The play explores the idea of natural beauty and the desire for material possessions. Savannah was inspired by her own experiences in primary school, where she was teased because of her curly hair, She wanted to understand the pressure society puts on us to look a certain way and how it affects our self-esteem.  

“When I was in primary school, it was a very different time. I went to an all-girls school and was constantly made fun of because of my hair, despite my mom’s best efforts to keep it straight and tidy so I wouldn’t be ridiculed, because, back then, straight hair meant a good kid. The right type of kid who spoke well and behaved well and not like a hooligan or, I suppose, in my case, because of my race and background, I was a ‘skollie’.” 

3C was Savanna’s way of sparking a conversation about beauty standards and natural beauty. “For me, the Chattalogue was focusing on the irony of natural beauty. It aimed to spark conversation on the notion of how obtaining material things such as good hair meant one was successful. And how this narrative is being challenged today by youth in schools. My mom spent a lot of her weekends and extra money to have my and my sister’s hair straightened. Not cause she didn’t love our curly hair but because she knew that it made us stand out.”

Reflecting on her  Suidoosterfees experience, she expresses great joy and fulfilment. “Being a Fundza writer feels like a great accomplishment due to the feeling of community. We’re a bunch of people passionate about storytelling and want to encourage others to read and write. Our writing is aimed at youth; for me, teaching and empowering youth is one of my great passions.”

Savannah often writes about women’s relationships. their personal journeys and the challenges they face. Sisterhood is a topic that she finds especially meaningful, as she has studied it extensively. Savannah believes that empowering women and fostering sisterhood starts with recognising the ways in which they face oppression, including subtle forms of discrimination.

She also explores how women respond to this oppression, as societal norms may sometimes lead them to engage in toxic behaviours against each other as a survival strategy. Savannah holds a master’s degree in Theater and Performance from UCT, and her research aimed to create scripts that could help high school teachers and students discuss gender-based violence in safe spaces, improving education about prevention in South African schools. One of her early professional scripts tackles the topic of gender-based violence. In her writing, she also explores history and identity politics, recognizing their relevance for young people as they navigate their own paths.

As Savannah continues to make a name for herself in the writing world, her love for storytelling and her desire to empower young people is evident. She writes stories that are not only entertaining but also aim to promote understanding, empathy, and positive change in our society. We hope her story has inspired you!

Read Savannah’s chattalogue here.

Tell us: As a writer, what routines do you follow to nurture your creativity and bring your stories to life? And for those who aren’t writers, what aspects of Savannah’s story captivate your interest the most?