Storyteller Gcina Mhlophe. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives and Facebook

Durban - Legendary storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe will be hosting the National Storytelling Day at the Bluff Showgrounds on Thursday.

The National Storytelling Day will coincide with Mhlophe’s 61st birthday, who is the director of the Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust and one of the country’s most recognisable spoken word artists. 

“There is going to be reading, singing, poetry dancing and a whole lot of educational entertainment because that is how storytelling is,” said Mhlophe. 

Mhlophe, who is born to a Xhosa mother and a Zulu father has cultivated a career spanning decades of telling stories in indegenous languages. She has a long-held belief that “A people without the knowledge of their past, origin and cultural heritage, is like a tree with no roots,” - which is taken from a Zulu saying.

“For me, it’s a calling, my calling, it’s my whole entire life. I love doing what I do, bringing dignity to our culture and traditions through storytelling,” she said. 

Mhlophe will also be joined by Durban-based indian storyteller, Mala Gounden.  

The programme will also feature musicians, Madala Kunene, Njabulo Shabalala and Victor Sithole; Thandi Swaartbooi, from Women Unite Cape Town; Bongiswa Kotta, from Freedom Park; Bavikile Ngema, a traditional instrumentalist and the Umlazi Com-tech jazz band amongst others.

African Stories Under the Storytelling Tree has been a monthly event held since August 2019 at the Bluff showgrounds under the large wild fig tree, showcasing music, storytelling, poetry and history-telling. 

People will be honouring today by telling or reading stories in classrooms, libraries and the workplace in all nine provinces of South Africa at 11am.

Learners from various schools will be present to watch and participate.

The National Storytelling day event will be free of charge. People are encouraged to bring their book displays. There will be a tent and chairs for special guests and adult audiences.

IOS