Our storytelling traditions
Lebohang Masango – anthropologist, poet and award-winning author of Mpumi’s Magic Beads – believes Africa’s storytelling tradition is particularly unique. Through stories, we have the ability to pass down lessons and important information about one’s heritage. ‘’It’s a beautiful way to connect the present generation to the generations that came before. It also binds us to indigenous forms of knowledge. It’s a wonderful representation of who we are, in our differences and similarities. When you hear a story from a person you’ve never met, you get to inhabit a piece of them,” Masango says.
How storytelling shapes children
Legendary storyteller, activist, actress, poet, playwright, author and director, Gcina Mhlophe says, “Stories can get children excited about the fact that we’re all different but we each have something special to bring to the table. My story – Horns Only – is about two unlikely friends. A zebra and a monkey who went everywhere together until there is a party and the rhino says that only animals with horns can come. Stories like that raise so much discussion amongst children; often they say, ‘I don’t fit in because I don’t have a father’, or because ‘I don’t have money’. There are so many things that make us feel like we do not fit in,” Mhlophe explains, ‘’stories have different ways of awakening our soul, of making us look at ourselves, of helping us feel like we belong. Stories written, told or made up; they are always our companions.”
Thanks to the outpouring of generosity shown by the South African public, Cadbury Dairy Milk is in the process of distributing over R1-million worth of educational toys, books and games to orphaned and vulnerable children across South Africa.
For these children, many who already have limited access to stimulating resources, the impact of the past few months is greater than we can imagine. With less contact with volunteers, coupled with the added strain placed on their caregivers, now more than ever orphaned and vulnerable children need us to add more love, hope and inspiration into their lives.
Stories inspire, they encourage, they create connections and they enable children to dream. Through stories children can imagine a world far beyond their reality. A world filled with new possibilities and experiences they can see and believe in for themselves.
This is why Cadbury Dairy Milk is taking it a step further with the launch of the Glass & A Half Project Presents: There’s a Story in Everyone– an initiative which aims to inspire these children through the power of storytelling.
“Generosity is at the core of everything Cadbury Dairy Milk does. We believe that generosity isn’t about simply giving for giving’s sake, rather it’s a feeling driven by genuinely and selflessly wanting to improve someone else’s situation. South Africa has a deep storytelling tradition. Through your stories, we wish to empower and inspire while offering comfort and hope to the many orphaned and vulnerable children within our community. Now’s the time to share your story and inspire theirs.”Lara Sidersky, Mondelez SA Category Lead for Chocolate
Sharing your story
For some South Africans, sharing a story, whether fictional or factual, might feel daunting. We make ourselves vulnerable when we share a creative piece of ourselves, however, Masango has some advice for conquering that ‘fear’. “A person’s ability to tell their own unique story is important. We get over fear by sharing a small memory from our own lives. Tap into your childhood experiences. When you tell a story about something you know, you already have the answers and feel confident.’’
Mhlophe adds, “You don’t have to tell a story with many intricate twists and turns. Keep it short with a few details. Then you are inviting a child to visit your world at their age. When I lived in my mother’s village in the Eastern Cape, there was a dry riverbed and when we had heavy rain a serious waterfall formed. I’d run out and stand behind the waterfall, shout, sing, jump up and down and make a noise. It is a wonderful memory that reminds me of a joyful time. You can share memories like that. The more you share, the easier it gets.”
“When a person shares a story with kids, you can connect heart to heart through storytelling, through these invisible threads. They don’t know you, but you bring a beautiful story and that is the magic. I tell stories that I love and I hope my joy and enthusiasm will be infectious.”
Over the next few weeks, Cadbury Dairy Milk is calling on South Africans to share their story and inspire the many orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa. Expert storytellers will be sharing more tips and advice to help South Africans carve out their most inspirational stories. A selection of these stories will be collated into an audio e-book for download from the Cadbury Dairy Milk website and shared with the many orphaned and vulnerable children across the country.