Traditional Testimonies in Sierra Leone: What Role for Librarians?


Tales are as previous as language, as outdated as the earliest societies. A handful of of the earliest tales even survive: people advised in pictorial type on partitions of cave in Lascaux, in France or in the Mpongweni Mountains in Lesotho. And other folks have come down to us in the world’s myths and folklore to which we now have accessibility on the printed age. Storytelling is more mature than printing, older than composing, and the very first stories to be established down on paper, papyrus or parchment ended up not the perform of those authors but documents of the oral traditions of earlier centuries. In Sierra Leone as it is in most African nations storytelling is an integral portion of the country’s daily life despite the fact that oral traditions have very largely yielded to the composed phrase.

We learn as we stay whilst we are young children, young individuals and grown ups. Studying is not confined to the classroom by itself: it can just take area anyplace. Moral values and social norms, beliefs and codes have to be transmitted from technology to the up coming, regardless of whether modified or not. Informal studying configurations are related and might be dominant even right now when far more formalized and certain establishments have partly taken in excess of.

While Sierra Leoneans guard them selves in opposition to their past the two educationists and librarians see a whole lot in storytelling that could be employed as foundation to orient and build the younger in the faculty technique. There are numerous indications that an enormous richness of conventional pedagogy in regard to the principles, contents, methods and institutional preparations existed and nonetheless exist in Sierra Leone. Tale tellers, their tales and songs, proverbs and riddles are nonetheless essential assets and subjects for indigenous finding out and training. Oral traditions do not only pass the mores and specifications of a culture. They established out to describe the entire world and conduct of the men and women in it. Oral traditions provide accounts of how the planet started and these creation myths are element also of the Holy Books of all the world’s prolonged-recognized religions such as Christianity and Islam. Also explained in is all human conduct in which great does not often triumph in excess of evil.

Stories which do not count on literature in turn do not rely on literacy. They can reach all of the community and their interactive quality is by itself energy, for it facilitates the functions of tales in social instruction, what Leeson (1985) named “passing on the country’s shared wisdom and values to the following technology.” Unfortunately there is a missing hyperlink in Sierra Leone as school heading youngsters are properly acquainted with the stories of Excellent Britain, the United States of America, Canada and Italy to cite a few illustrations but know extremely minor about their standard tales.


Sierra Leone contains sixteen (sixteen) ethnic teams. The greatest of these is the Mende identified in the Southern and Jap Provinces. Next to them in variety is the Temne in the North. The 3rd biggest group is the Limba, also in the Northern Province, adopted by the Kono in the Jap Province. There is also the Koranko in the North as properly as the Yalunka, Loko, Soso, Madingo and Fula. On the coastline, North and South are the Bullom and Sherbro adopted by the much smaller groups of Krim, Vai and Gola, with the Kissi additional inland in the Jap Province. The Western Location, which includes Freetown, is far more mixed in inhabitants, but is generally the residence of the Creole team. In all these ethnic teams storytelling is widespread as part of their lifestyle.

Ogutu and Roscoe (1974) experienced this to say about storytelling in Africa: “The continent has its own fiction traditions it has the custom of storytelling, narrated orally… the medium by way of which Africa down the centuries has bared its soul, taught its men and women and entertained by itself” (pp. forty three-44).

Traditional stories in Sierra Leone are perceived as embodiment of the beliefs, customs, rituals and constructions of society that need to be preserved. Tales operate inside of society to insure conformity to the approved cultural norms of continuity from technology to generation by way of their role in training and the extent to which they mirror tradition. Most standard storytellers declare to derive their artwork by means of desires, spirits, and apprenticeship to skilled storytellers others assert to acquire the artwork immediately from God although some say they paid to get it. Storytellers have the adhering to features:

• Fluency in the nearby language and mastery of a vast assortment of vocabulary for all stages of audiences
• Creative imagination and capacity to create rapport with their audiences
• Expertise of their audiences and their wants
• Familiarity with and ability to refer to their culture and atmosphere to enliven their stories and make them charm to their audience
• Good memory of exact retention and narration of a massive corpus of substance and
• Candour.

The contents of conventional stories can be grouped into:

• Myths-stories tinted with religion, superstition and conventional beliefs especially about the origins of mankind and phenomena
• Legends-tales about historical activities and unforgettable individuals this sort of as war heroes, excellent medicine men and migration
• Fiction-imaginary tales classified into allegory, fables, fantasy and parables.

These can be even more classified by social purpose or institution namely:

• Political stories-stories about management and the connection amongst leaders and their subjects
• Tribe tales-these reveal the buildings, family members and communities i.e. relationship and genealogies
• Faith and deities-stories about development and phenomena these kinds of as demise and rain
• Moral virtues-tales supposed to deride these kinds of vices as delight, greed, thievery, murder, dishonesty, foolishness and lack of insight
• Economics-tales that offer with work, borrowing and lending, industriousness and laziness.

Characters in common conventional Sierra Leonean stories assortment from men and women to animals, stones, trees, vegetation, deities, spirits and birds. These people are symbolic: Bra rabbit- trickery tortoise-knowledge elephant-nobility vulture-persistence lion-bravery and toughness sparrow, parrot and crow-intelligence dove-great fortune spider-crafty. Stories are told purely for evening entertainments. Often storytelling sessions could be any time of the day with audiences in personal verandahs, ‘court barries’ or other public places. Nonetheless, the conventional placing exactly where twenty to forty men and women sit jointly about a kerosene lamp or fire at evening after a day’s work is accomplished and foodstuff has been cooked and eaten. Storytellers are also invited to cultural social features this kind of as weddings, burials, mystery modern society celebrations and crowning ceremonies. Tobacco is usually offered for without having smoking storytelling concepts will not movement.

Stories go together with tracks a song begins off a story an crucial line in a tale tends to make up a new story a proverb ends a story a track in the center of a story is utilized to wake up listeners or to prepare for the coming climax. Extremely typically tunes do invite participation, and listeners turn out to be energetic supporters of a chorus, clapping their arms, reaching to lies and jokes of the story teller, who in turn responses the remarks frequently with another story. Songs are backed by the beating of traditional musical devices like ‘kaylain’, ‘sira’ ‘seigureh’ and ‘sangba’ (nearby drum) to include rhythm. Tale telling viewers is typically active. It catalyses the narratives by spontaneous exclamations, questions to the narrator, echoing of the narrator’s voice, and becoming a member of in the singing of choruses. For all these to get area self-control is managed. The audience is created to chortle and exclaim but with out jeopardizing the continuation of the narration.

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