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Nigerian Author Brings African Folklore to American Children


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.

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