Stories

Africa Braveheart & the Mother Spirit

Africa BraveHeart and the Mother Spirit” is a reimagining of Cinderella drawing on African mythology and imagery, and placing Africa in the context of international relations. The wicked stepmother and stepsisters of the story are represented as the colonial powers that have done so much damage to Africa.

Africa’s transformation into a beauty who can win the prince’s love is based on her reconnecting with her roots and her intrinsic beauty and power, rather than trying to fit into what her stepsisters think she ought to be.

Princess of the Wildness

“Princess of the Wildness” is a unique book best described as contemporary African folklore. Drawing on ancient storytelling traditions, it addresses issues facing modern sub-Saharan Africa in a fun, family-friendly way. The author’s voice renders these stories timeless, as their protagonists both drive trucks and encounter evil spirits. The tone echoes the magical realism of Garcia-Marquez, but with a simple, fairy-tale quality that feels universal.

Children can read Princess of the Widness with pleasure, enjoying the characters’ adventures even as they learn more about traditions and cultures of Africa. Adults can enjoy it as a work of art drawing on a folkloric history and vocabulary they may not be familiar with. It brings a voice to the market that’s new and fresh, and speaks to a lot of people who are waiting to hear it, whether they know it or not.

The book tells the story of a young woman “Ndito” born among the Masai, and how she faces supernatural forces and triumphs over them.

The story begins with her parents, a cattle breeder and his wife, and places it in a modern context, as Ndito’s father has to spend a lot of time on the road in his pickup truck. The rhythms and traditions of Masai village life are established, and when Ndito is born, with detailed Masai traditions, the context is well-understood.

Ndito suffers from a life-threatening illness in childhood, but is cured by the Mganga, or traditional medicine man of the village. In a tense and folklore-infused scene, she recovers, but her destiny is bound to the spiritual traditions of her people.

Her deep connection to the natural world around her becomes clear as she grows, and as she comes of age, she feels a pull toward a lake deep in the jungle, to visit the magnificent birds that dwell there.

Her journey to the lake follows a traditional folktale structure, as she encounters various obstacles on the path and finds a unique way of overcoming each one of them. The obstacles are mostly in the form of scary, half-supernatural people who seek to bar her way for reasons of their own.

Ndito overcomes these strangers, Mama Yeyo, Mzee, and the wild twins, through her own cleverness and compassion. The overriding theme is that no matter how scary or seemingly inhuman a person might be, there are still things they want and things they will respond to, even if those aren’t obvious at first. She makes her way past the scary people, the dangerous animals, and the unfamiliar terrain, finding her way to the lake she’s sought.

The lake renews her personally and spiritually, and she makes her way home, past the same dangers, finding new and easier ways of escaping them. At home in the village once again, she becomes a respected healer and storyteller.

Coffee Beans & Banana Bunches

This book and short animation is in two parts linked together.

“Kibo and Mawenzi” is a classic folkloric creation myth, depicting the two peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro as neighbours. Like most neighbours, they have a relationship that’s both friendly and antagonistic. Mawenzi takes advantage of Kibo’s good cooking until Kibo has had enough, and smacks her over the head with a wooden spoon, which is why today, the top of Kibo is always smoking, and the top of Mawenzi still looks cracked.

“Coffee Beans and Banana Bunches” nishes out the book with a simple, beautiful portrait of village life on the slopes around Kilimanjaro, the place they call “the roof of Africa”. The villagers there grow bananas
and coffee, and their economy is based on those things. The day-to-day work of growing the coffee beans and preparing them for market is depicted in a fun, rsthand tone, and the many uses of bananas are outlined in loving detail. It’s a small, charming story, almost a still life painting of a way of life the author knows intimately.

Three Magical Stories

THREE MAGICAL STORIES™: is a trilogy of African children’s stories that each contains an important, inspirational message.

‘The Farmer’ is the humorous tale of a poor farmer named Kijuka and his best friend, a cow named Ndale. Their simple village life is upended one day when Kijuka finds something magical in the soil while harvesting his crops. The discovery sets the pair of friends on a path that leads to love, fortune, happiness, and ultimately, to discover the true value of friendship.

‘The Tree’ tells the story of a little man who loves nothing more than planting trees in and around his village. His trees are famous for their fragrant smell, their size and shape, and how they dance in the wind. People come from far and wide to see the trees dance and to hear them sing their songs.

‘The Clay Baby’ is the story of a lonely clay pot maker who longs for nothing more than a child of her own. One day she finds an injured butterfly, and upon caring for the creature, she discovers a magical secret that could give her everything she’s been hoping for.