Sigana International Storytelling Festival is an initiative of Zamaleo Act and Culture Trust and brings together the finest oral storytellers with different story telling approaches from different cultures of the Countries in the world. This unique carnival celebrates the art of storytelling that is slowly fading as technology takes the information sharing space globally. The uniqueness of the stories told is that they were not just for entertainment; they also helped children grow their creativity and imagination. But most importantly, they were used as a way of character shaping, instilling good morals and promote positive behaviours as they grew up. Sigana International Storytelling festival seeks to strengthen the storytelling culture through stories, poems and songs in order to pass down information from one generation to another. The festival is held annually and this year’s event took place on 10th June 2021 at knls Buruburu Library where a a total of 148 pupils and 10 teachers were in attendance.
The festival seeks to achieve the following objectives;
- Create an appreciation among participants of the wisdom and beauty of storytelling as a powerful means of teaching, communication and entertainment
- Showcase different tellers and their art
Participants were grouped into two age categories; lower and upper primary and placed at different locations – Mezzanine and Ground floor. The festival was conducted by 5 storytellers, 2 for the lower primary and 3 for upper primary who later switched locations to the different categories.
The stories were well received by the children evident from their happy and smiley faces. The storytellers sang and taught songs to the stories to the children before beginning their stories to create a rapport. This caught the children’s attention and ushered them into the story world. They engaged the children in their stories by asking them questions and asking them to repeat some words or phrases after them. The use of appropriate facial expressions, signs and gestures kept the children hooked to their stories and entertained at the same time. As the tellers told their stories, instruments like the guitar, shakers and drums were used to imitate sounds produced by the animals in the story and at other times in the rhythm of the songs they sang as well as create suspense and modulate the mood of the story. The tellers also danced along to the songs and made walking impressions of the animals they told about leaving the pupils laughing and enjoying the stories. The teachers appreciated the stories told to the pupils and pointed that the language used was friendly and easy for children to understand. The observed that the storytellers were skilled in their area and they had a unque approach to sharing information which indeed will be memorable to the children. They pledged to participate in future events and requested to be informed about library programs.