We have been telling stories for thousands of years long before the British missionaries started teaching us to write. Stories are all around us. They inspire us, they make us feel like we belong, they also teach us a lot. When i was young we would gather around and wait for our parents,teachers or an elder to say the magic words Hadithi Hadithi! (story story!) and then the we would gleefully respond Hadithi Njoo! (stories come or tell us the story).
In partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, we have been developing our literacy app for class 1 and 2 in Kenya and Uganda consisting of hundreds of stories in English, Kiswahili and Lugbarati. They all have faces that we are familiar with, names we can relate to – roads, trees, classes that we see everyday, thanks to our amazing illustrators and story tellers from across East Africa. Each story is narrated by local artists.
Every day, as I edit these stories I see a little bit of me when I was younger, laugh at the creativity of the storytellers and also get to re-learn some of the mythical stories told by our parents and grandparents. I hope the class 1 and 2 students reading them will feel the same.
Below is one of the class 1 stories, written by one of the Aga Khan teachers, illustrated by Kelvin Shani.
The Body Game
Can you guess what happens next?