We have to strive, at each and every given moment, to advance the African story. Whenever we get the opportunity we have to use it to tell our own story, our own stories. We have to go back to our roots and reach out and remember that first and foremost we are an African people. Issues of Identity are plaguing our nation because we, the storytellers have neglected to create the African story.

Because in colleges and universities of the world we are taught the Eurocentric way of doing things we tend to shy away from introducing African concept. The euro convention of telling stories is intrinsically linked to the Eurocentric concept of approach to life (the Babylonian/Barbarian approach to seeing the world, see the world, make friends and seek to conquer) So even the language of Europe is oriented towards conquest. We came we saw we conquered.

The African ethos on the other hand is based on the Ubuntu philosophy of Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (I am because you are and because you are, I am) This should be the first philosophy represented in our stories, regardless of the form or shape they take. Our stories need to reflect the unitary state of the family, even in times of strife. This is what should inform any story we tell. Which means we need to use high skills to weave this philosophy in our narrative, when we fracture the family, it should be because when they eventually come together it will be for a larger and bigger unity. Our stories, at their conclusion, should raise arms in victory, just like the narrative of our struggle which resolved each time, that we will be victorious one day.

Our story should reflect our beauty, consciously, deliberately. Our stories should use African looks as a reference for our beauty. This is the part that most of us as storytellers have failed to do. We very easily and readily use the Eurocentric concept of beauty and therefore end up castigating the concept of African beauty to the dustbin. Hence our children are now looking for skin lightning creams, hence more than 90 per cent of our women, our wives, our daughters, our sisters and our mothers, have abandoned their natural hairstyles… they instead ship tons and tons of fake hair from Asia and Latin-America. We have neglected to tell them they are beautiful as they are we instead go on hunts for those who look European and take them and put them on pedestals. The term Yellow bone is now a term of endearment…

Telling the African story is not easy, it has a lot of dimensions and a lot of responsibilities, hence most storytellers, go for the easy way of just telling stories, forgetting who we are and where we come from….


About The Author


Born in Orlando West, Soweto, South African, Duma ka Ndlovu is a filmmaker, poet, playwright, journalist, and TV producer. He was professor of African history and African-American literature at New York's Stoneybrook University in the eighties and between 1996 and 2004 he was chairman of the SA Music Awards (SAMA).

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