Saturday, May 12, 2018

Your Chance to Review my Extra-curricular Work

In the world outside the college classroom and academic conferences, I am a cultural consultant, under the auspices of Africonexion. If you have attended any of my presentations, talked with me at a cultural festival, or used my books, especially Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, I invite you to share your experience at Public Reputation.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The 2018 Amani Festival in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

On May 5, I attended the Amani Festival in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I have known about this festival for over 15 years and attended it several time in the past as an educator and cultural consultant.

This year was not different. I had a table, displaying some of my books and had great opportunities to talk with many people who came to my table. These included an American lady who had worked as a volunteer in South Africa for three years as a volunteer as well as a young woman who told me that a friend of hers was going to Tanzania as a Peace Corps volunteer. These conversations were very meaningful. I was touched in a particular way by a reporter who interviewed me and later wrote about the festival in The Sentinel.

My table is always colorful, attracting people. Approaching my table, the lady on the left pointed at a copy of Matengo Folktales and said, "I have read that book!" Completely surprised, I started talking with her. She said that she had bought the book and had me sign it years ago. I think this might have been 2005. She said that she and her husband belong to  a church that has a partnership with the Konde diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.

I was not able to move around and visit the many vendor booths--about 70--but I had a busy time talking with people at my table.

There was plenty of entertainment, including musical and dance performances.

Some of the dances were performed by students of Harrisburg High School shown in the four photos here.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Rochester 2018 World Festival

On April 28, the Rochester International Association hosted the 2018 World Festival.This is an annual event that brings together people from various countries to showcase their countries. I was there, and had great opportunities to talk with various people about my work and about our world, which is steadily becoming a global village. There were vendors of different products and displays by different organizations. There were musical and dance performances and from different cultures.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Awaiting the Rochester World Festival

On April 28, the Rochester International Association (RIA) will host its annual World Festival. I will be there, displaying my books and spreading the word about my work as an educator and cultural consultant.

I am proud to be a member of the board of the RIA and to be involved in planning programs and events that are meaningful and vital in our world which is increasingly becoming a global village.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

My Faithful Nebraska Readers

A word from readers never fails to elicit my gratitude as a writer. A good word warms my heart, naturally. This week, I have stumbled across good news from the Nebraska Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. They run vision trips, a program through which Americans travel to Tanzania "to learn about the culture of Tanzania and the ministries of the Northern Diocese."

I am pleased that, year after year, the organizers of these trips have recommended my book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, to the travelers. The Traveler's Manual for 2018 says:

For those persons wanting to more deeply explore cultural differences between Africans and Americans, the book Africans and Americans by Joseph Mbele is recommended. This book is available at:

I appreciate that the book is recognized as a useful resource, just as I intended it to be. Nebraska has always been on my mind as a place where I have faithful readers. A few years ago, I acknowledged them on this blog. I think about them, and all my other readers, as I continue to work on a sequel to Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, which I plan to publish this year with the title Chickens in the Bus.

Friday, February 23, 2018

An African Storytelling Event in Red Wing, Minnesota

On February 17, I went to Red Wing, Minnesota, to make a presentation on African Storytelling. The event, organized by the Red Wing Public Library and the Goodhue County Historical Society, was well publicized.

I highlighted the significance of Africa as the cradle of the human race, where language and storytelling began, together with other forms of folklore. The evolution of human consciousness and the capacity to reflect on life, the world, relationships, and values found expression in folklore. I shared several proverbs to illustrate this point.

Then I told the tale of "Spider and the Calabash of Knowledge" and "The Lion's Advice," both from West African Folktales by Jack Berry, as well as "The Chief's Daughter," from West African Folktales by Steven H. Gale. We spent the last ten minutes on questions and answers.

Although I had visited Red Wing several times, over the years, this was my first presentation there. Lindsey, Education & Outreach Coordinator at the Goodhue County Historical Society, planned my visit well. At her suggestion, I brought copies of Matengo Folktales and Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences and people were able to buy them. That makes me feel that I left a legacy beyond my one hour presentation.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Thirty Days of Motivation by Penny Jones

On November 18, 2017, I participated in the Minnesota Black Authors Expo, as I reported on this blog. I got to know and talk with another author, Penny Jones-Richardson, whose table was next to mine. We shared our professional experiences--hers as a life and transformational coach, motivational speaker and author, and mine as an educator and cultural consultant. Later, to learn more about her work, I visited her website.

At the Expo, I bought her book, Thirty Days of Motivation: A Guide to Reaching Your Goals and Staying Focused. It is a collection of thirty short articles, each less than a page and half, but laden with useful reflections and encouragement.

Each article deals with a specific topic about life's challenges and offers advice on how to deal with and overcome them. It identifies typical obstacles to personal success, such as fear, procrastination, lack of selfconfidence and complacency. The author shares personal experiences and anecdotes, and addresses the reader in a personal way. You feel she is talking to you, asking questions and inviting you to think about issues in new ways. Whatever you are going through, and whatever doubts you might have about your situation, she offers assurance and hope.

I have enjoyed this book, not only for what it says, but also for how it communicates. I have learned, from the success of my own book, Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, that storytelling, rather than abstract theorizing, is the best way to reach and touch people. Thirty Days of Motivation is such a book. Anecdotal and confessional, it communicates simply and clearly. It is a book one can read again and again. I recommend it, especially to young people, who might not be sure where they are going in life and who might have doubts about themselves and their prospects.