I really like the lecture by Professor Ochieng in the way he presented the folktale and storytelling tradition from Kenya in diverse forms. He combined telling folktales, presenting information and performing song/dance in an appropriate way that the class could take part in various activities and learn about Kenyan folktales from different aspects and perspectives.
He told many folktales which originated from peasant culture. The stories evolve around daily activities of people and also mention domesticated animals that are close to human. He told stories by using his voice and body language, which expressed the difference of oral tales from those told by other means. Oral stories in Kenyan community are usually told by one person, gathering around is the audiences. They are set at night when everything is shadowed that the tellers can convey the entire details and messages. African folktales illustrate the community’s origin, social foundations and reasons behind all of their beliefs, and particularly, folktales in the oral form help audiences appreciate the whole stories better.
As knowing those African tales by listening directly, I feel that the stories are more imaginable and realistic. Especially, that Dr. Ochieng asked us to dance and sing which made people closer and somehow brought the atmosphere of the setting where the Kenyan folktales are told to the classroom.
Not only having an idea about how the storytelling tradition in Kenya is, I also know about the significances of stories. They all celebrate wit and quick thinking, raise the awareness of community’s and people’s history. Besides, they are also used for explaining some phenomenon. But on top of that, they always teach people some lessons about morality, ritual, values, attitudes or beliefs.
Overall the storytelling tradition in Kenya is very interesting to me that there is an interaction between the storyteller and audiences. Folktales are not only to convey lessons but also to connect people in the community together.