Why We Tell Stories
Nuria Ranking: #113 in Kenya Fiction
Storytelling was an intrinsic activity in traditional African communities. Typically told by older people, usually grandmothers and grandfathers, stories were a way of life for the young and old alike, linking the past, present and future of those societies. Set as they were around a fire, the storytelling tradition strengthened communal ties between the old and the young, and as reinforced bonds among the young.
Stories emphasized shared culture, cultural values and history that were the foundation of the society’s ties. They underscored important societies’ traditions, beliefs and other norms.
From the old, the young learnt lessons about their community that to affirmed their collective identity. They learnt and internalized moral values such as honesty, courage, respect, solidarity and caring for others. Invariably, stories discouraged greed and selfishness. Further, the tales captured the essence of the environment in which the people lived while reinforcing their core values. They contributed to character-building through appreciation of the moral of the stories.
In Why We Tell Stories, Dorcas Kiptoo and Arthur Dobrin bring their storytelling experiences and expertise to the fore through a selection of from the African folklore. Even as the two look back to societies of yore to dig up the tales, the inherent lessons remain as relevant in contemporary times as they were ages ago.
About the Authors
Dorcas Kiptoo was born in Mogotio, Kenya. She attended Kenyatta University where she earned her Bachelor of Education degree. She currently lives in New York.