Cape Town - Storytelling is the gateway to unlocking the imagination and sharpening young minds. With school holidays a little longer than usual, minds need to be stimulated and kept active with lots of activities and some reading.
Fear not though young beaners, Africa’s legendary story-teller Gcina Mhlope will be retelling good stories to keep you educationally entertained for 15 days during the extended school break with a daily five-minute online story.
The pre-recorded stories are told creatively to capture the imagination of the young ones. The first story, Mazanendaba, is about a woman and her husband who loved to go down to the river to play and fish. But the pair realised there were no stories being told, so Mazanendaba went out to the forest to find animals to tell her stories. To find out more about Mazanendaba, log on to the Mancosa website and go to the special responsiveness tab where you will find lockdown stories to enjoy.
In a statement, Mhlope said she chose stories with an African theme that would deliberately expose children to a wide vocabulary and provide them with verbal and mental stimuli - something they would be missing since the closing of schools.
“I have specifically chosen stories that will take children’s minds somewhere else during these dark and gloomy days.”
First influenced by her grandmother’s tales when she was a child, she cultivated a career spanning several decades of telling stories.
Mhlophe’s written and performance talent has transported her from South Africa to South and North America, Europe, Greenland and Japan. She has performed her stories in theatres like the Royal Albert Hall in the UK, the Kennedy Centre in the US and collaborated with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on a children’s CD.
Professor Zaheer Hamid, academic director at Mancosa and head of the School of Education, said these audio recordings of the storytelling series would be available free of charge on Mancosa’s website (www.mancosa.co.za) from January 25 to February 12.
“Keeping children occupied during the lockdown could prove quite a challenge. While some schools were sending out work, many children who were feeling the impact of the current global catastrophe needed a digital diet that was both light-hearted and uplifting.
“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 15 stories, even if only for a few minutes each day.”