Gcina Mhlope entertains children with African stories

05 August 2020 - 07:00
By gcis vuk'uzenzele
Gcina Mhlope entertains children with African stories.
Image: Supplied. Gcina Mhlope entertains children with African stories.

If you’re looking for an easy, educational way to keep your children entertained, then legendary South African storyteller Gcina Mhlophe is here to help you.

Mhlophe joined up with tertiary institution Mancosa to produce recordings of 15 audio entertaining African stories for children. The last five stories also contain videos to go with the audio.  

The storytelling series includes five-minute recordings of uniquely African stories such as How Lion Got His Roar, Queen of the Tortoises, Princess Nozizwe and the Ogre, and many others. Each story is not only entertaining, but also contains an educational or inspirational message for children.  

The initiative came about through Mancosa’s School of Education’s partnership with the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust to get Mhlophe – a world-renowned actress, playwright, storyteller and author – to keep children captivated with her iconic voice and talent for storytelling.

The stories are available free of charge on Mancosa’s website and their social media pages.

Mancosa Director Martha Moyo says the idea came about during the closure of schools during Level 5 of the national coronavirus lockdown.

“As part of our humanitarian activities aimed at giving back to communities during the pandemic, we decided to focus on children by keeping them entertained with stories, even if only for a few minutes,” Moyo says.

Even as children go back to school, the stories will remain available for free, helping parents to keep their children busy and stimulated at home. 

Mhlophe says she chose stories with an African theme and also focused on making sure that children were exposed to a wide vocabulary and important life lessons.

“I specifically chose stories with the theme of compassion, care and love – these are the qualities that we need most while the world is battling the severe coronavirus crisis,” says Mhlophe. 

Mhlophe, who was born in KwaZulu-Natal in 1958, was first exposed to storytelling when her grandmother told her tales as a young child. She went from being a domestic worker to becoming a newsreader, and then turned storytelling into a professional career. 

She has since travelled around the world, appearing in theatres from Soweto to London, America, Europe and Japan, and also gives storytelling workshops.

*To access the stories, go to www.mancosa.co.za/lockdown-stories/

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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