Three ladies, ready to massage our minds with words, rose onto the Fatuma’s Voice podium. An evening of potent beauty. The witty explorations that came with each story took as aback to the root of our consciences. Time does not die. It flies away. And Saturday’s did so gracefully as the Nyef Nyef Stories team led by Muthoni Garland wallowed us through journeys, a two hour storytelling streak about Moral Dilemmas that could as well have changed everyone’s life.
What happened to us? Where did we take the Lwanda Mageres, the Kalisangas and Kaliteyos? What became of our fables and legends; their rhythms, vocabulary, and ever so sublime reverence to life? Why did we allow ourselves to get caught up in the hue of Western education, junking our literature and philosophies affixed on civilization? We may have to answer this in time; did we have to change everything to be ‘civilized’? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Muthoni Garland, Agnes Wangithi, Millie Dok, and Ciru Ivy, collected our emotions that evening. They reminded us that our lives mean nothing without stories; those we tell and those we don’t. Stories make us. Stories are the soul of time.
One after the other, their storytelling tapestry wowed our ears. It was musical. We engaged with every piece, reasoning out what this or that could have meant. How something resonated with our day to day lives. The audience moved. We were stirred. It was one of those sessions whose end pained. You wanted it to go on and on, but Nairobi is cold and people had to go home.
Nyef Nyef Stories are trying to get our mojo back. Back to the times we’d meet to share proverbs, folk tales and dreams to commune. This is Africa. The songs are not dead. They are stuffed in our silence, our fears, and suspicions.
Maybe this art is the one thing we need to do to live in cohesion. Maybe it’s after you listen to someone’s story shall you get to know where they’re from and why they do what they do. And maybe it is after that that you could begin to see the world differently; not as a place where your beliefs reign supreme, but a space of diversity, of colour, and mystery.
Are you a storyteller? Do you want to share your stories in our sessions?
Feel free to contact us via email: [email protected] or better yet call 0722 79 04 79.
See you on 11th June at Pawa 254 as we host the African Media Legend, Jeff Koinange.
“Fatuma’s Voice is always a learning experience being around literary giants and critical minds. I couldn’t be more grateful for the chance.’’ – Caleb Khang’ati Wanda (Poet at Fatuma’s Voice)
“Reclaiming our oral storytelling tradition until it throbs in every African home and heart is particularly important now as the world evolves from the information age to the conceptual age. Storytelling as the original form of African education has at its root, the belief that ‘none of us is as smart as all of us’. The style of delivery and the choice of stories can be tailored so they act as tools to engage, connect and empower modern African audiences. By creating awareness of our past traditions, heroes and villains, stories deepen our sense of identity and strengthen our hand in a world that seems intent on distorting our vision of ourselves; a world that seems intent on attacking our self-esteem by portraying Africans as needy victims just so it can feel good about offering bits of aid.’’ – Muthoni Garland (Nyef Nyef Stories Member and Founder Story Moja Festival)