Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Africa’s first 3D animated series wins award

Magic Cellar, the first 3-dimensional animated series based on African folktales was awarded the prestigious Platinum REMI Award at WorldFest in April. Hopefully, this success will encourage other attempts. I have not yet seen it, I look forward to doing so and in the meantime, I accept the award as a proof of the quality of the production.

You can find out more about the characters and the animation at .

Friday, May 12, 2006

How many African folktales exist?

In my first first post, I alleged that very few African folktales had been documented out of the huge collection that must exist. Now, here is a reference which I found on to back that claim up. It says:

"Struck has estimated the number of African folktales at nearly a quarter of a million. Klipple estimates that five thousand different African myths and tales have actually been published, although her bibliography, prepared in 1938, contains references to nine thousand....Among the thousands of tribes in Africa, there is not a single one for which a complete collection of myths and tales has been published." " The Yoruba, for example, distinguish between myths and legends (itan) which they regard as historically true, folktales (alo apagbe), riddles (alo), proverbs (owe), songs (orin), praise names (orile), curses or incantations (ofo), and the Ifa divining verses (ese).."Funk & Wagnalls,Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend,pg.18).

I guess the actual number is anyone's guess, but there must be a lot.

Monday, May 08, 2006

New folk tale: Three brothers and the pot of porridge

This story of the three brothers and the pot of porridge was told to me recently.

I forgot to ask what happened to the youngest brother after he fell into the river. Did he drown, or did he get rescued and learn a lesson he would never forget? I resisted the urge to “fill in the gap” there, but could not resist creating a logical reason why the brothers declined the offer of supper in the first place because I imagine that they must have been hungry after making this long trip on foot. Also, within the context of African culture, even present day, it is perfectly normal (and expected) to share your hosts meals.

I forgot to add this. Any Yoruba-speaking person out there able to translate this phrase?
Ki okun gbe mi si erigidi ofun

There’s also the possibility that I’ve gotten that part of the song totally wrong, so if you’ve got suggestions, they’ll be much appreciated.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Integrated blog feed into website

I discovered FeedDigest which made it amazingly easy to incorporate a feed from this blog into the website.
So here is an archive of the former content that is now replaced by the blog feed:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


This is a companion blog to - a website where I intended to post all the West African stories I can recollect from my childhood. I set up the site, got ready to write and realized to my dismay that I could hardly recollect any of the many folktales I surely know. Fragments of many different stories lay in a mangled mess in my memory, defying attempts to be put together in a proper order. I have therefore relied on family and friends to assist in the process but many find their memory in a similar condition.

I thank everyone who has offered comments, stories and suggestions. This blog is one of such and hopefully will provide an easy way to connect to anyone who is interested in contributing to this collection.

Oral story-telling, the traditional means through which folktales have been passed on for many generations, is dying. There are a few books which document stories from different parts in Africa but their numbers do not compare with the sheer volume of folktales which exist in our rich and diverse cultures. Is it too late to document them all? I do not know. But you and me, we will try.

The folktale collection today stands at a sparse 11 stories. The process is just beginning, so if you are familiar with West African folktales, please contribute your comments, stories (and story fragments) here. Thank you.