Sunday, May 29, 2022

African storytelling, the dying art of imparting values and morals

Values and morals are an integral part of life because they can be used to shape the behavior of persons, be it old or young.

All around the world, people need values and morals to be able to differentiate between wrong and right.

If people did not have values and lacked morals, the world would be a cold place to live in and everything would be in disarray.

Without values, the world would be a place where everyone does everything at free will without first analyzing if it would be for the good of the community or not.

Long before technology like television, internet, games, play stations came to Africa and to Botswana, storytelling was a major part of entertainment, especially among Africans.

It instilled values as espoused by the elderly generation to the younger generation. Storytelling was used to teach the youngsters to differentiate between bad values and good values.

It is sad to note that the trend of storytelling is slowly fading.

Growing up in the villages, farms and cattle posts in Botswana one would remember that at one point after supper, they would convene at a fire place with the elders to be told folk tales(mainane), which usually were targeted at entertaining and yet imparting a strong message for the listeners to learn some values.

The fictional characters related to everyday living and the elders would normally narrate the stories to illustrate the values of life, which included living a righteous life, honest life and benefits of being humble.

Galeboe Moeng, a youth from Mochudi told me that she feels disappointed that the practice of storytelling is dying due to modernization. She said that when she grew up, her grandmother would recite stories, which were always emotional, full of life and very entertaining and yet educative.
“I remember the story she told me about the reason why a rabbit does not have a tail, saying that it is due to its laziness. This simply sends a message that laziness is a bad habit,” she said.

Chakalisa Dube, of Tutume Village in the Central District, also said that it is sad that the culture of storytelling is dying as it used to create a strong bond between families.

He said that it kept children disciplined as compared to nowadays when the youth do not have morals and values.

“I would say that modernization has also killed the art of storytelling as everyone would rather go to a bar or even watch movies, some of which encourage immoral behavior,” he said.

Storytelling played a vital role in shaping the upbringing of children as it instilled positive behavior through the creative concept of sending messages through a story.

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