Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Duchess went story-telling on World Book Day

 To celebrate the World Book Day on the 2nd of March, I was happy to be selected for the book reading session to a class of pupils in our nearby primary school. Not only was I worried about what to read, I also worried about the song to sing that would interest children from different backgrounds. I decided to check our local library to find any "relative" African story which would be distinct and also serve as a takeaway to the weans. Luckily, I came by these two African myth children stories, The Mother of Monsters and No Dinner for Anansi. I skimmed through the tales, gave them my approvals and took them with me.
In class, my reading captured the attention of the kids as I leafed through the book. It felt like Tales by Moonlight in Africa.
As I read along the lines, I became grateful to the authors of these stories, I was happy these books came to my rescue. I did not want to read what the kids were used to. I mean from Harry Potter to Jeff Kinney's series. To me, that would feel like regurgitation. So I read with admiration in this little opportunity. As I finished and got on to questions on 'Morals of the story' session, I was not surprised that the kids were all attentive and inquisitive. They thanked me collectively and individually and I left.
As I strolled away from the school gate, the words of Dr Sallyanne Duncan came to my mind that "When your writing leaves your domain, it becomes a subject of interpretation and scrutiny". I thought to myself that we should have our African myth/stories developed and promoted. We tell stories in Africa, stories embellished with different animals. kings, queens, wicked step-mothers, brave hunters, orphans and tales on upholding the moral standard of a community. I mulled over why we didn't have many of these stories in printed materials? Perhaps some stories would have been read the way African music and sounds are filtering across borders.

If you can write a story in your mother tongue or any other language pls do so. One day you or someone will be glad you did, your book will come in handy to enrich or promote understanding of your culture.
The books I read today are a South African story and I guess 'Anansi' is a Ghanaian name. 

The children enjoyed the story. When I asked the class their take on the story, a little girl retorted " When your father asks you to get married then you should get married!!" lol.

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