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Story telling festival unites Africans in Kenya


Why don’t chickens steal? When did the moon learn to be kind? Answers to these mysteries were revealed at the Re-Imagined Storytelling festival in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dozens of storytellers from Africa and elsewhere have gathered to revive a variety of stories… a tradition long forgotten.

According to a Kenyan story teller, Wangui Wa Kamonji the tradition of story telling must be retained.

“Our past is important to me, our story is important to me and I talked about it a little bit in the story I told on stage. It is what connects us to our memories, to our ancestors and guides us, it teaches us how to live, how to be good people, how to interact with others, how to interact with the environment.How do you do all these things? Stories are the ones that guide us, that anchor us, Kamonji says.

In the age of smartphones and Netflix, spoken art seem gradually dissapearing, according to Maimouna Jallow, organizer of the festival.

“I started this journey about three years ago and went to several small villages in search of folk tales from East Africa. Almost everywhere I went, people didn’t remember their own stories, and the generation of people who told those stories is approaching 80, so it was very important for me to see how to preserve not only the stories, but especially the culture of oral storytelling.’‘

‘’ I also think it’s very different to watch television or read a book, but to have this storyteller in front of you, with an audience that can interact with it, it’s a very valuable thing that we risk losing” she concluded.

With a salute to African cultural giants; Thomas Sankara, Fela Kuti and Ama Ata Aidoo, the storytellers addressed themes on corruption, war, obsession with glory and materialism. So, what answers the question ‘why don’t the chickens steal?’- because the chicken has squandered all the wealth that has been attributed to it as king of heaven. When other birds discovered its misdeeds, it was banished from the air and became man’s favourite dish. A delicious delicacy.

So, the story goes.


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