Thursday, November 19, 2015

Another St. Olaf Storytelling Event

I received an invitation from Karibu, a student organization at St. Olaf College, to tell African folktales as part of the Africa Week celebration. I have done so in the past and will do it again, any time. How can I decline an opportunity to showcase African creativity and the African contribution to the universal culture of storytelling and all it stands for?

As the cradle of the human race, Africa is the birthplace of language, storytelling and civilization. Together with other folklore forms such as proverbs and songs, stories reflect upon life and the human condition and the world in general. They project man's joys, sorrows, successes, failures, and above all the human desire and capacity to thrive against any odds.

Stories are a rich blend of aspects ranging from philosophical reflections, moral lessons and entertainment. They constitute a dynamic system that adapts itself all the time to changing circumstances, thereby remaining always relevant. Having originated and evolved as an oral tradition, storytelling thrives in written and other modes, including film.

This evening as I was speaking to my Karibu audience, I mentioned some of these things and then told two tales: "The Chief's Daughter" and "How the Ashanti Became Debtors," both from West African Folktales by Steven H. Gale.

No comments: