Poster of the evening, of the first storybook edition of December 1, 2023 / Photo of Koffi Koffi initiator of the festival (with agreement for publication)
On December 1 and 2, Abidjan vibrated to the captivating rhythm of the tales, a true mirror of African society. This first edition gatheredit renowned storytellers such as Alexis Djisso, Koffi Koffi, Amoin… In fact, after the Adama Tounkara Museum (MUCAT) of Abobo, the course was set for theFrench institute at the Plateau. Also, several Ivorian storytellers stood ready to unearth this ancestral art buried in oblivion.
The cradle of orality
A friend, reacting to one of my posts on Facebook, points out: “Orality has always characterized Africans, despite the discovery of writing on the continent. It therefore remains the essential mode of communication and transmission of knowledge in Africa. However, orality transcends simple spoken language; it is expressed through vehicles, notably tales, legends and theater. Unfortunately, this oral and living story is now in decline. So what can we do to avoid letting this part of our history fall into oblivion?
To read : Effrouba, a king on the Ivorian literary chessboard
Storytelling, an art in danger
The observation of this decline has pushed Ivorian intellectuals to revive this endangered art. The tale, a true living fable told during African nights, was intended to entertain and educate. Indeed, these nocturnal gatherings around the fire were unique educational moments. Even if we can say that to educate, a simple gesture or look was enough to transmit lessons. The story participated in the training of the child on a social and educational level.
The age of storytellers. Older men trained the younger ones in acts of courtesy and civility. Story time was at night, after dinner. The storyteller, who most often was a member of the family, sent us through the imagination to the land of the funny. However, we do not know everything, at the risk of having misfortune. Unfortunately, this mode of education is disappearing.
Poster dance of the tale at the French Institute of Abidjan from December 2, 2023 credit / Photo of Koffi Koffi initiator of the festival (with agreement for publication)
Storytellers, keepers of tradition
African storytellers, masters of the art of oratory, juggle with words to captivate their audience. Indeed, they did not wait for the treatises of thinkers to know how to speak. They know how to evoke vivid images and play with the moods of their audience. There are key moments that we never forget. Among them, memories of a song accompanying the timid steps of an antelope offering its life as a ransom for the release of its young. An oratory art often imbued with irony but also with a lot of wisdom. Tales often have an important social significance. They describe the realities of relationships between individuals with great relevance. These storytellers were the guardians of our fears, using storytelling as a net to capture our emotions.
To read : Connect the child to the story
Richness of the tale
At a time when artistic values are weakening, there are artists who are rebelling. Indeed, it is gratifying to see artists striving to breathe new life into this often neglected art. The story, a learning tool, taught us surprising truths, sowing seeds of imagination and fear of the invisible. Also, it represents a web woven between tradition and modernity, where the mind tames the unknown and confronts the unspeakable. Indeed, storytelling is a great way to bring people together and, above all, to educate…