Storytelling - The African Way

Updated: Jun 14, 2018

Masai People, Kenyan Rift Valley have a rich tradition of oral storytelling as a way of passing indigenous environmental knowledge across generations. Credit: Joan de la Malla

Storytelling is deeply rooted in the African culture across the continent and in every ethnicity, serving a deeper purpose and meaning. Global culture is known for movies, music, poetry and literature, storytelling and folklore on the other hand, are embed in African traditions and cultures and has influenced the way African societies and communities live and preserve their values.

Storytelling is the fabric of the African traditional society and community that seeks to transfer values, knowledge, wisdom, customs and traditions from one generation to another. With the aim that these stories will live on forever to inspire the next generation but most importantly perhaps help them understand preserve and appreciate their roots and the roots of our ancestry.

Living Legend and griot Singer, Youssou N'dour

In African society, storytelling takes many forms. Most commonly are oral traditions, artistic expressions through songs, music, folktales, chants, dance, riddles, proverbs as writing wasn’t known then. Ancient writing does exist in African culture, however, most stories are from oral traditions and artistic expressions rather than literature.