Hadithi ya Africa storytelling goes virtual

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Joe Machingura
Cape Town – Hadithi ya Africa, a continent-wide story telling competition, will be conducted virtually this year.

The contest, launched in 2018 in South Africa, is only open to Africans and all stories must be true and based on personal experience.

Co-founder Lazola Belle told The Southern Times Arts that the competition was an effort to stop the distortion of Africa’s story by “cultural dilution” and other factors.

“The narrative of the African continent at large gets distorted because there are not enough people sharing these stories. If we do not capture our narratives digitally, the generations that will come after us will not have an opportunity to hear our thoughts or voices.

“As such, digital technologies offer a beautiful opportunity for us to save these experiences, ideas and lessons for generations to come. Having these stories on a digital platform means the stories will be a part of us for a very long time; someone 100 years from now can retrieve them.”

Hadithi ya Africa, is owned by Belle and Thandwefika Tshabalala is originally a travel company that has branched into the arts.

“In 2018 we consolidated our travel across the content and we coupled that with our love for sharing stories and public speaking, and ended up creating this platform for people to come and openly share their lived experiences.

“Initially it was a platform where we shared our traveling experiences across Africa. So we started the story telling contest,” Belle said.

“Hadithi” is a Swahili word for “story”, and the idea behind the concept is to have the storytelling unite the entire continent, hence “Hadithi ya Africa”.

Last year, storytellers from across Africa participated in the finals in Johannesburg, South Africa where Zimbabwe’s Gift Pfuma emerged triumphant.

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