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Conventional Stories in Sierra Leone: What Purpose for Librarians?

Conventional Stories in Sierra Leone: What Purpose for Librarians?


Stories are as previous as language, as previous as the earliest societies. A couple of the earliest tales even survive: all those informed in pictorial type on walls of cave in Lascaux, in France or in the Mpongweni Mountains in Lesotho. And many others have occur down to us in the world’s myths and folklore to which we now have access on the printed age. Storytelling is more mature than printing, more mature than creating, and the very first stories to be set down on paper, papyrus or parchment ended up not the get the job done of those authors but records of the oral traditions of earlier generations. In Sierra Leone as it is in most African nations around the world storytelling is an integral element of the country’s lifestyle despite the fact that oral traditions have incredibly mostly yielded to the composed phrase.

We master as we dwell though we are young children, younger folks and grown ups. Finding out is not confined to the classroom by itself: it can acquire position wherever. Moral values and social norms, beliefs and codes have to be transmitted from era to the subsequent, irrespective of whether modified or not. Informal mastering settings are relevant and may be dominant even currently when additional formalized and specific institutions have partly taken in excess of.

Though Sierra Leoneans guard themselves in opposition to their previous both of those educationists and librarians see a great deal in storytelling that could be utilized as foundation to orient and develop the youthful in the university system. There are lots of indications that an enormous richness of classic pedagogy in regard to the principles, contents, strategies and institutional preparations existed and nonetheless exist in Sierra Leone. Story tellers, their tales and tunes, proverbs and riddles are nonetheless significant belongings and subjects for indigenous mastering and schooling. Oral traditions do not only go the mores and standards of a modern society. They established out to explain the entire world and behaviour of the individuals in it. Oral traditions provide accounts of how the world started and these development myths are section also of the Holy Textbooks of all the world’s extended-recognized religions this kind of as Christianity and Islam. Also explained in allegorical phrases is all human conduct in which great does not normally triumph above evil.

Tales which do not depend on literature in switch do not rely on literacy. They can attain all of the community and their interactive excellent is itself energy, for it facilitates the capabilities of tales in social instruction, what Leeson (1985) identified as “passing on the country’s shared knowledge and values to the upcoming technology.” Unfortunately there is a lacking connection in Sierra Leone as university heading children are very well acquainted with the tales of Good Britain, the United States of The usa, Canada and Italy to cite a several examples but know incredibly very little about their standard stories.


Sierra Leone includes sixteen (16) ethnic groups. The biggest of these is the Mende discovered in the Southern and Japanese Provinces. Up coming to them in amount is the Temne in the North. The third largest group is the Limba, also in the Northern Province, followed by the Kono in the Eastern Province. There’s also the Koranko in the North as properly as the Yalunka, Loko, Soso, Madingo and Fula. On the coast, North and South are the Bullom and Sherbro followed by the much smaller teams of Krim, Vai and Gola, with the Kissi even more inland in the Jap Province. The Western Space, together with Freetown, is extra mixed in population, but is in essence the house of the Creole group. In all these ethnic teams storytelling is popular as section of their culture.

Ogutu and Roscoe (1974) had this to say about storytelling in Africa: “The continent has its have fiction traditions it has the tradition of storytelling, narrated orally… the medium via which Africa down the hundreds of years has bared its soul, taught its folks and entertained by itself” (pp. 43-44).

Classic stories in Sierra Leone are perceived as embodiment of the beliefs, customs, rituals and buildings of society that require to be preserved. Stories work in just society to insure conformity to the accepted cultural norms of continuity from generation to technology by means of their part in schooling and the extent to which they mirror tradition. Most regular storytellers claim to derive their art by means of goals, spirits, and apprenticeship to expert storytellers other people claim to obtain the art straight from God although some say they compensated to get it. Storytellers have the adhering to options:

• Fluency in the nearby language and mastery of a vast range of vocabulary for all degrees of audiences
• Creativeness and capacity to build rapport with their audiences
• Expertise of their audiences and their demands
• Familiarity with and ability to refer to their culture and surroundings to enliven their stories and make them appeal to their viewers
• Great memory of exact retention and narration of a massive corpus of materials and
• Candour.

The contents of classic tales can be grouped into:

• Myths-tales tinted with religion, superstition and traditional beliefs particularly about the origins of mankind and phenomena
• Legends-stories about historical functions and memorable people today these as war heroes, outstanding medication adult men and migration
• Fiction-imaginary tales classified into allegory, fables, fantasy and parables.

These can be even more classified by social functionality or institution particularly:

• Political stories-tales about leadership and the relationship in between leaders and their subjects
• Tribe stories-these expose the buildings, family members and communities i.e. relationship and genealogies
• Religion and deities-stories about generation and phenomena this sort of as demise and rain
• Ethical virtues-tales meant to deride these vices as pleasure, greed, thievery, murder, dishonesty, foolishness and lack of insight
• Economics-stories that deal with function, borrowing and lending, industriousness and laziness.

Characters in normal traditional Sierra Leonean tales vary from people to animals, stones, trees, vegetation, deities, spirits and birds. These figures are symbolic: Bra rabbit- trickery tortoise-wisdom elephant-nobility vulture-endurance lion-bravery and power sparrow, parrot and crow-intelligence dove-excellent fortune spider-crafty. Tales are informed purely for night entertainments. In some cases storytelling periods could be any time of the day with audiences in personal verandahs, ‘court barries’ or other public spots. However, the regular placing where by twenty to forty people sit collectively about a kerosene lamp or fireplace at evening right after a day’s function is finished and food has been cooked and eaten. Storytellers are also invited to cultural social functions these types of as weddings, burials, key society celebrations and crowning ceremonies. Tobacco is usually provided for with no smoking storytelling strategies will not circulation.

Tales go alongside one another with music a music begins off a tale an important line in a story can make up a new story a proverb finishes a tale a track in the middle of a tale is utilised to wake up listeners or to get ready for the coming climax. Quite frequently tunes do invite participation, and listeners develop into active supporters of a chorus, clapping their arms, reaching to lies and jokes of the story teller, who in turn solutions the feedback frequently with a further story. Songs are backed by the beating of traditional musical instruments like ‘kaylain’, ‘sira’ ‘seigureh’ and ‘sangba’ (local drum) to incorporate rhythm. Tale telling audience is generally energetic. It catalyses the narratives by spontaneous exclamations, concerns to the narrator, echoing of the narrator’s voice, and becoming a member of in the singing of choruses. For all these to acquire position willpower is maintained. The viewers is created to giggle and exclaim but without the need of jeopardizing the continuation of the narration.

SOCIAL Features OF Regular Tales

Foremost is socialization. The telling and listening of stories is a social action that provides men and women collectively to share in artistic and imaginative affair. The situation is intended to entertain so that people could overlook the drudgery of everyday existence. Folks are transplanted to a globe of make-belief. As the narration goes by way of the nuances of recreating the fictional entire world the audience is carried together like travellers on a flight. The pleasure derived is facilitated by the social organization of the viewers. The atmosphere is commonly casual with no coercion or harassment all people is on equivalent footing regardless of gender and age.

Contributors have a opportunity to narrate and hear. The predicament underscores the worth of social cooperation. The self-discipline inherent in the narration is inevitably transformed to spheres of existence. Members master to regard other people, appreciate personal discrepancies in capabilities and temperament and be ready to relate in a common exercise.

Psychological stimulation is derived from storytelling. Stories are instructed and acquired as a result of the ear. The desire they position on the narrator is to remember the tale and explain to it for a achievable retelling in long term. This is superior coaching for the memory. One has to be attentive to get the necessities of a story and assimilate it into repertoire. Therefore the intellect ought to be pretty lively to accommodate the new awareness or types of what is by now regarded. As nicely as training of memory the narratives sharpen significant appreciation. A single has to inquest the message of the narrative and evaluates the gatherings similar.

Stories are not just told for their individual sake but have essential parts of social instruction to impart. The allegories of gatherings and characters reflect on human existence and are a source of learning. In the figures of stories the viewers will see laziness, sages, cowards, agitators and the arrogant to cite but a number of examples. Stories give hints as to how to react to them. The narratives give recommendations on what is cherishable. In other words they find to change life.

Tales are cultural records. The lifestyle of a individuals is the totality of their methods of everyday living which consist of faith, beliefs, customs, techniques, songs, literature, attitudes, and philosophy. By remaining didactic tales current to people the philosophical essence of the modern society. The contents of oral traditions epitomize the foundations of that group. The tales of religion, generation and supernatural give the spiritual foundations of that team. Biographies and historical tales current the mundane landmarks in what is the society right now. As a result of the conventional heroes, people today enjoy what the modern society admires.


Tales are abundant in custom and a precious heritage which are the country’s supply of oral literature. Storytelling is like heritage: it reveals the earlier, educates the present and throws lights on the future. Tales contact the soul of modern society and jolt them into an consciousness of their situation. In Sierra Leone however these treasures of oral tradition are in hazard of remaining disdained, overlooked and buried. By advertising the collection and publication of these oral resources of information faculty librarians will not only add to a worthwhile revival of fascination in a hitherto neglected field but will guarantee that posterity will derive utmost advantages from these an endeavour.

Sierra Leone is, in political parlance, a comparatively new state subsequent a ten years-extended civil war (1991-2001). Recording stories and like these in the university curriculum could uncover methods to the country’s difficulties of non-integration. Just as the country’s Nationwide Dance Troupe around the years progressed into a family members countrywide ensemble so will recording classic stories existing a less heterogeneous origin and presume a genuinely national and homogenous character.

Conventional tales teach moral classes popular to all the ethnic groups in Sierra Leone. Sir Winston Wilson the moment observed that the further more back we appear into the earlier, the extra into the long run we can see. Recording traditional tales could assist Sierra Leoneans to seem again to their earlier with a see to viewing into their potential. Moreover, educational institutions alongside community libraries are the most well known sites to notify stories to young children. The kind of audience decides the variety of story to be advised. For occasion little ones from ages 3 to five get pleasure from stories about animals and about kids by themselves. When school-age little ones go in for long tales. Junior Superior School pupils like myths and epics. They are fascinated by heroes and appreciate journey and romance.

The suitable to examine one’s individual world is an important element of the ideal to study. Stories and tunes are the media by way of which Sierra Leoneans have been to go to their small children the traditions, customs, society and oral record of their culture. Indigenous literature even so is important to reduce the literate individual from getting to be alienated from his own culture and custom. It strengthens the appreciation of one’s possess cultural values and cultural id in a promptly switching ecosystem. In Sierra Leone the place for a extensive time schooling has been centered on guides that relate to other cultures this is really significant. Like all over the place else in the planet the recognition of people’s cultural heritage is also a prerequisite for the continuity, cohesion and development of their culture. Above and higher than all the abundant oral traditions of Sierra Leoneans with their various languages can quickly get lost with the propagation of modern means of interaction, if not preserved.


Libraries are the gatekeepers to the earth of facts and knowledge. Kinnell (1992) opined that Good libraries empower. Using their sources can unfetter our creativeness, disclose hitherto unrealized worlds encourage awareness induce satisfaction make us chuckle insights problem our misconceptions assuage fears prick our conscience influence our sensibilities and provide professional refreshment. “What we study from fantastic books and other sources turn out to be component of us”(p.5).

Libraries are the neutral grounds on which the particular person baby may well expand via impartial and unhindered discovery. They are locations to find out and exercise data competencies. Libraries give resources of data for young folks, enabling them to find and use the electrical power of obtain that information and facts techniques can deliver in the society of today and that of tomorrow. Amonoo and Azubuike (2003) opined that libraries are catalysts for human development as they aid the progress and transmission of awareness and culture, and foster civic consciousness in assistance of democracy. Libraries protect and promote cultural heritage and diversity, and foster mutual comprehension and respect for cultures and peoples. For Johnson (2013) “great university and college or university libraries can enhance the instructional knowledge, persuade examining and fostering the crucial wondering that students will have to have to survive and prosper in an significantly complex culture”(p.295).

An gain that libraries delight in is that they are centrally placed in just communities. As this sort of they are very well placed to satisfy a purpose as cultural facilities. They are all-natural spots for the promotion of literature including poetry, drama, prose and storytelling. They also present venue for visual arts and songs. In addition they are cultural centers in the legitimate feeling of the phrase, highlighting local culture and ready to emphasize the culture of little ones symbolizing the a variety of teams inside of the neighborhood.

Le Roux (2005) averred that the college library is nothing at all significantly less than the conscience of the curriculum. Schools libraries supply appropriate and up-to-day resources and services for training personnel and pupils to assistance the curriculum. Implicitly the collection so developed need to be one particular that displays not only the identified demands of people but also predicted requires of possible instructors and pupils. By presenting their customers with a agent selection of kid’s literature libraries could stimulate academics and pupils alike to acquire imaginative use of storytelling supplies that could be passed on to pupils in subsequent yrs.

Provision and promotion of providers presupposes a expertise and comprehending of the environment in just which youngsters live on a world-wide, nationwide and basis. Little ones can derive from libraries satisfaction of tale working experience, of language, and of affiliated artwork. The methods of the library may foster knowledge of a broader earth and an comprehending of other men and women with regard to habits, culture, or circumstances (Johnson,2013). Youngsters can gain self-awareness through relating to scenarios, activities and figures. Libraries can offer for kid’s information requires. Very good services may possibly assist to engender confidence in the acquisition of vocabulary, speech and language. Libraries supply possibilities for shared experience involving older people and little ones. Central to the philosophy of library provision for younger men and women is to aid official and informal schooling.

School libraries are conversation facilities. They constitute an perfect signifies of disseminating / understanding. Their goal is to facilitate accessibility to the clientele they serve to the resources of understanding to aid their cultural and skilled growth (Wehmeyer, 2005). In the long run this purpose is associated with the mental advancement of pupils and their attitudes to scenarios of all forms, ethical, intellectual, social, simple and leisure.

Necessary Tasks FOR LIBRARIANS

Regular stories are facets of peoples’ indigenous awareness methods and contemplating their social capabilities in modern society there is each individual need to have for these to be preserved. The fact in the major is that a lot of the artwork of storytelling is owned by older people most of whom are developing previous and dying. And in Africa for occasion when an previous individual dies it is thought that a library is burnt. This is where by college librarians should really occur in to perform a critical purpose. Standard storytelling is an inexplicable phenomenon of Sierra Leonean existence and is indispensable for long term development. By now techniques have been carried out by some companies like Partners in Grownup Training (PEA), the Office of Historical past and African Scientific tests and the Division of More-Mural Studies (DEMS) at Fourah Bay University to history some conventional stories, tunes, proverbs and riddles for potential use. College librarians must be component of these attempts by recording traditional tales applying regular info and interaction systems this sort of as telecommunications (mobile phones), personal computers, microfiche, and audiovisual systems( e.g. cassette recorders, slides, video tapes, tape recorders and CD-ROMs) to file, repackage and disseminate stories for their meant audiences. Specified the worth of world-wide-web technologies in information gathering and dissemination librarians can also file tales in world-wide-web OPACs so that teachers, pupils, and researchers can read different tales as well as biographies of renowned story tellers in the country (Kochtanek and Mathews, 2002).

Further more college librarians must be transcribing and publishing stories into booklets and anthologies for use in educational facilities. This sort of efforts will lead to the modest inventory of prepared elements in the country out there for universities, youths and even adults. Translating traditional tales into many languages will contribute to intercultural comprehension in the state. Via these endeavours the country’s cultures would turn out to be the information of learning and even the kind by getting it from its roots.

As conventional tales and songs are residing in selected contexts rudiments of these could be presented in images: village lifetime, arts and crafts, landscapes, peoples and travel routes. Central in all these attempts will be images of tale tellers and their audiences, dancers and artists. The visual impressions designed by shots will even further strengthen children’s comprehending and interest in faculty. Story telling sessions should really not only be filmed / videoed but librarians ought to compile biographies of storytellers for use in educational institutions. This sort of strides will enrich kid’s awareness of the numerous ethnic teams in the country and could go a extensive way in decreasing illiteracy.

In faculty librarians need to advocate for enhanced slots for storytelling on the time desk. They need to also lobby for the introduction of standard storytelling up to Junior Secondary College amount as elements of Literature. Young children must be introduced to the library for particular storytelling sessions so that they could not ignore their tradition. Parents and Storytellers should really be invited to narrate tales in college for the advantage of youngsters. Such endeavours have to have collaboration with subject lecturers who much better realize the needs of pupils and the curriculum. School librarians should also keep backlinks with general public libraries and nearby schools in their regions. Children must be taken on go to to community libraries within just their localities where by storytelling periods could be held. In all these moves school librarians should really have substantial information of storytelling correct for the diverse requires and levels of pupils in their respective educational institutions. Hyperlinks really should also be made with tertiary establishments and corporations engaged in grownup literacy which are already concerned in traditional storytelling things to do as component of their curricula. Lecturers and animators could be invited to university to speak to children about the importance of regular storytelling and even notify tales for the reward of pupils and lecturers. There are group radios stations all in excess of the nation and colleges can invest in air time to hold discussions on storytelling. If feasible storytellers should be invited to these kinds of talks to be either interviewed or notify tales. In reality the nationwide broadcaster, the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) could play a primary position in this way by developing at minimum a slot in its weekly systems for storytelling.

The university librarians, to be efficient, want to be equipped to “offer” the art of storytelling in the exact way other opponents for small children “provide” their wares. They really should organize E-book Months with storytelling periods incorporated in the pursuits to be carried out in these types of Weeks. In the course of such periods storytellers and dad or mum could be invited to explain to tales to youngsters. Academics, parents and more mature pupils ought to be inspired to create and examine stories to the younger kinds. They should also display video clips or slides/musical versions of renowned common tales.


A effectively made use of college library encourages mastering, raises achievement and boosts pupils’ private and social growth. It is an asset to the school, both equally in conditions of bodily resources and the broader means in the course of the college it will harness for the gain of its users (The Library Association (1998). Invariably, classic stories have handed from the historical to current working day generations by term of mouth. They have survived the test of time due to the fact of the universality of their messages throughout time and boundaries. Therefore Sierra Leoneans even now discover regular tales pertinent and adoptable to their ordeals currently. As time passes on classic tales nevertheless have to be handed down to their descendants. Significantly this ought to not be exclusively as a result of the oral word. Literacy and other elements of modern-day everyday living arrive in to assist the preservation and even more transmission of traditional tales. And this is where school librarians should come in. As a result of compilation of anthologies, recording tales into audio tapes, CD ROMs, and cinema movies and generation of networks to cite but a several illustrations, faculty librarians will be equipped to make a more lasting record of this important asset for foreseeable future use.