Festival revives old art form

MUSEUMS will come alive during a popular storytelling event between June 11 and July 11.

MUSEUMS will come alive during a popular storytelling event between June 11 and July 11.

Museums are generally quiet places caring for objects of often priceless scientific, artistic or historical importance, which are available for public viewing through temporary or permanent exhibits.

In the 2010 edition of the early childhood, youth and community development work of the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund-backed Kwesukela Storytelling Academy, Storytelling Project and Storytelling Festival, South Africa has a rare treasure - namely the revival of an old African art form, a celebration of the myths and legends of the past and a unique inter-cultural communication tool.

"Storytelling not only celebrates the myths and legends of the past, but also has a powerful role to play as a mediating agent between cultures in diverse and at times conflicting social and cultural contexts," Kwesukela founder and leader Nomsa Mdlalose says.

"So we must appreciate the critical role of this ancient art form as a communication tool and as a unique way of explaining complex issues to people in a manner that is more accessible to them, irrespective of their class, race, religion, and culture. It is stories that remind people how to be human, because stories do not forget," she says.

Mdlalose is due to share the storytelling limelight with fellow artists such as artistic allrounders Masoja Msiza and Gcina Mhlophe.

The venues include Museum Africa in Newtown in Johannesburg, the Irish Museum in Polokwane, Local History Museum in Durban and Freedom Park in Pretoria .

They will tell 30 new African and South African stories encompassing African soccer, its heroes and heroines, myths and legends and other quirks about the game. The theme is: When People Forget, Story Remembers.

Pioneer Mdlalose, who boasts a master's degree in storytelling from America's East Tennessee State University, is fine-tuning plans of offering storytelling at tertiary level. She has established storytelling sessions for both adults and children as a permanent feature across South Africa.

Two related children's storytelling festivals will take place at Ubuntu Kraal in Soweto and on Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg between June 30 and July 4.

Everyone is invited to the Kwesukela storytelling events.

For more details phone 011-462-5341 or e-mail talktome@iafrica.com or pr@artbouquet.co.za

lSowetan is media, publicity and nation-building partner of the Kwesukela Storytelling Festivals, which has been made a part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation's youth and community development activities.