African storyteller Bongiswa’s special visit to Vizag

African storyteller Bongiswa in Vizag

Dressed in Khosa attire with Masai jewellery and her spiritual rain stick, storyteller Bongiswa was recently in Vizag for VJLF. The storyteller shares how she feels people here have the same lovely spirit as Africans.

Her journey

“From being a secretary at a heritage site, I started storytelling in 2004, and haven’t looked back. I’ve travelled all over South Africa, in Oslo, Kenya and now India. I do storytelling with children, visitors to the heritage park I work at, corporate and old people as well.”

Her stories

“Most of my stories tell about my culture and my country. It is a way of sharing who we are as South Africans. Some stories have a lot of healing, while others have morals and spirituality. I believe that when I tell a story, I awaken a story in another person. One of my favourite stories is that of the monkey and the crocodile, which my grandmother told me when I was little. I still carry that story with me, improve upon it and tell it.”

Words of wisdom

“Stories are universal, and cultural differences change the way we present them. We use plenty of dancing, music, chanting and praise poetry that honours my ancestors. While language may be a barrier in some places, body language, dancing and rhythms, help me overcome those. It’s very important for children to read books, because it makes them open minded and they learn a lot. While it is difficult to control what a child sees on television and Internet, parents can control what children read. The VJLF is a great festival, and I’d like to say ‘Viva Vizag’, go forward with such events!”

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