Week 3 – Story Telling

Today’s class was all about storytelling. Storytelling is such an age-old human tradition and stories are an intrinsic part of our societies and culture. Today’s group told us the story of Joe, the Chicken and it made us all more aware of not only what we were putting into our bodies, but also the extreme measures needed to feed the entire human population (for instance pumping baby chicks full of hormones).

After the group finished their facilitation we were split into groups and had to discuss the stories we had to read for homework. My personal favourite was definitely The Bent Backs of Chang Dong, where a woman shows people another pay of thinking / doing without forcing them to do it. She leads by example and hopes that others will follow suit. My other favourite was The African Dress. As an Afrikaans person, this one really touched me. I feel ashamed for what the Afrikaners did to non-white races during the Apartheid Era, but this story made me feel grateful for the sacrifices that people like Zanele Mbeki made for the country and I loved how she reclaimed the right for all SA women to define the meaning of the term ‘African Dress’.

Another very interesting topic we discussed was the four common rituals in every culture (Birth, Coming of Age, Marriage, Death). We had to form groups of 4 and each had to discuss the rituals their culture had in terms of these 4 phases in life. It was then that I discovered how little I knew of my own culture. Some of the other members of my group were telling me about the Afrikaans tradition of the Trusue Chest, which doesn’t really exist anymore. This made me curious to discover how I came to be. After doing some research, it seems as if my ancestors came to South Africa in 1820.

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