Since ancient times, storytelling in the African setting has been a way of passing on traditions, ideas, behavioral codes, as well as maintaining social order. This was the way to transmit thoughts, opinions and beliefs in small communities before writing was established.
As one of the oldest in the long list of West African cultures, storytelling is an exercise for young and old minds. The words, gestures and facial expressions used by the storyteller have great power to captivate the attention of the audience. Usually, a skilled narrator paints a picture in the minds of his listeners with the use of repetitive phrases, proverbs and lyrics, inviting his audience to participate in the oral journey.
Like all cultures, every aspect is important. In this part of west Africa, storytelling is how moral standards, obligations and taboos were passed down from one generation to the next. Not through scribbles on slates or shapes carved in trees. Who would have thought!
A quarterly event such as Tales&cocktails started as a medium to stimulate the audience to treasure a culture of skillfully sharing narratives that began long before we did. Guests are encouraged to participate in storytelling games, share stories from diverse cultures and encounters through which certain life lessons were learned.
With the innovation of different forms of online and offline media, the culture of storytelling is fast being forgotten. By making a habit of sharing stories in our homes, within small circles or gatherings, the ancient culture of storytelling may yet be saved.
One thought on “Tales&cocktails; keeping the culture of African storytelling alive”
This is interesting. I’d like to know about the history of storytelling in Nigeria actually