Storytelling and indigenous literature are some of the expressions that Africans can identify themselves as the world commemorates Africa Day. These sentiments were shared by author, Charmaine Mrwebi, during Africa Day celebrations in Mangaung, Free State.
Mrwebi, along with some renowned elderly authors and poets, observed the day by sharing their literary knowledge, at Unity Primary School, where Grade 1s and 2s were treated to storytelling and poems in indigenous languages, such as Sesotho.
Grade 1s and 2s pupils of Unity Primary School watched a stage-play and were taught about their roots, culture and tales of their forefathers.
“Most of the time we overlook our grandmothers and there’s this bridge between children and grandmothers. Our grandmothers are our teachers they’re our historians, through them they carry our stories, but as we neglect them our stories are dying. My grandmother told me stories. It is my responsibility to tell my children stories. It is Africa Day and it is relevant that this day; rise black people, rise black mothers, take your stage and let us make sure that our children knows our stories because our stories carries our message and our identity identity,” says Mrwebi.
Different authors narrated fables through indigenous languages to instil knowledge that can be passed on from generation to generation. Renowned author, actor, director and scriptwriter Khotso Nkhatho believes it’s crucial for Africans to embrace their authenticity through their ethnic languages.
“It’s about a child who was not so obedient and then he nearly went the way of all flesh and I would encourage our parents even children, to also embrace these languages. We know where we are together, but please let us not forget where we come from, Africa my continent I love you,” says Nkhatho.
“I’m going to read this book and I’m so happy and I’m excited that’s what I’ve been wanting to do, to tell children that Ditshomo, as we say in our language. Now today I’m very happy to talk with, to come and read to the children, so that they can know where they stand with our culture, so that they can know what our parents and how they should behave,” Sesotho author, Mmalosang Rathaba explains.
The authors of indigenous languages hope that the knowledge that they’re passing on to these young minds, will be forever edged in their minds.