Traditional Stories in Sierra Leone: What Role for Librarians?

INTRODUCTION

Stories are as old as language, as old as the earliest societies. A few of the earliest stories even survive: those told in pictorial form on walls of cave in Lascaux, in France or in the Mpongweni Mountains in Lesotho. And others have come down to us in the world’s myths and folklore to which we now have access on the printed age. Storytelling is older than printing, older than writing, and the first stories to be set down on paper, papyrus or parchment were not the work of those authors but records of the oral traditions of past centuries. In Sierra Leone as it is in most African countries storytelling is an integral part of the country’s life although oral traditions have very largely yielded to the written word.

We learn as we live while we are children, young people and adults. Learning is not confined to the classroom alone: it can take place anywhere. Moral values and social norms, beliefs and codes have to be transmitted from generation to the next, whether…

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