Maimouna Jallow performs
Maimouna Jallow performs

World Storytelling Day is an annual celebration of the art of oral storytelling celebrated all over the world on or near March 20th.

On this day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night.

In Nairobi, the events for this global day were organized by cultural organisation Positively African and hosted in Westlands on the grounds of literary advocacy organisation Kwani Trust. The global theme for this year’s celebrations was “strong women.”

The day was spent by children and adults listening to stories and performances by different Nairobi personalities like Alexander Ikawah, Checkmate, John Nyamai, Warigia Grace, Chalo T and Neno Kali, Jama Mnukwa, Grace Msalame, Kevin Mwachiro and many many more. The stories were told in normal story tell form, songs, clapping, dancing and everything in between.

Away from the stage with the performances and the reading nook, there was a learning space where those who felt like learning about the storytelling art form could get in on the action. There was an opportunity for all to learn about blogging, illustrating, poetry and prose and more. Then there was a stories booth for those who wanted to share stories that they already had.

The highlight of the occasion was the evening show called And Then She Said. Following this year’s theme, his show saw novels by five strong African women being re-imagined by five strong African women. They included Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter re-imagined by Sitawa Namwalie, Zukiswa Wanner’s Maid In SA by Patricia Kihoro, Nadifa Mohamed’s The Orchid Of Lost Souls by Raya Wambui, Marjorie Oludhe-Macgoye’s Coming to Birth by Mumbi Kaigwa and Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Maimouna Jallow.

This show which was was very well received by the hundreds who filled the Kwani grounds. At the end of the performances, there was an art auction of illustrations by Nairobi artists depicting the five novels. The proceeds from the auction went to the Kevin Mwachiro Medical; Kevin Mwachiro is a Kenya journalist and writer who is currently battling cancer. We have reviewed his book Invisible here.

We all look forward to celebrating World Storytelling Day in 2017.