African folklore is often passed down for years
through different generations. It is common that in most households the grand
parents will seat the children around the fire and tell stories of adventure
and mystery involving fascinating characters. These children grow up and pass
on the stories to the next generation.
However it is often difficult to pass on
these stories when Africans migrate to the west. Their children often grow up
consuming only Disney characters and reading children's books written for a
western audience. This inspired Kunle Oguneye a computer programmer with a two
year old child,who he felt should learn about African folklore. He decided to drop
his career and go in publishing. His first book titled 'The adventures of Sikulu
and Harambee' tells a story of two friends who
help a stranger in the sense of the famous 'good Samaritan' story.
Sikulu is a spider and Harambee is a
hippo,they are friends in the village of Sioma Zambia.
Oguneye says that the story of these two characters is based on an actual
folktale "it basically reinforces the
beauty of kindness to young children" he says. In the book,the author
offers his young readers who are likely not aware of the country
involved-Zambia;some information about Zambian culture. He hopes that
both children and adults who read the book are bound "to come away better
informed about life in Zambia". The
author plans to take his characters all over the African continent and with
that explore the uniqueness of each culture while teaching his young readers
'about the rich and diverse continent' Kunle expresses his frustration at
American mainstream media,which he says rarely tells positive African stories.
He also recognizes that most cultures are represented when it comes to children
stories, "you will see Dora and sponge bob on American television' he says
referring to popular Disney charactes ' but you have not African characters in
children stories' He therefore hopes that in the near future his can develop
both Sikulu and Harambee into well known characters that can be enjoyed by
young American audiences.