By Manyuon Dhieu Chol, Nairobi, Kenya
February 3, 2017 (SSB) —- As culture is a set of social codes governing values, norms and behaviors held consciously or unconsciously by groups of people. The Dinka cultural heritage and ways of age have been, and will inevitably continue to be, with our children and the generations to come.
Story-telling on: folktales, fables, animal lores, folklore, folk songs, myths, fairy tales and legends is common among the Dinka Communities as well with other African tribes. The stories are generally told by an adult to the children as they sit around a fireside in the evening, some individuals were so crafty in storytelling and they were categorized and respected as good story-tellers.
It is not possible to trace the authorship of any of the stories recorded in this book. When a Dinka storyteller is questioned on the authorship of the tales, he says that they were handed down from his ancestors, and the same story, or parts of it may be found in other sections of the Nilotic communities.
In this book, The Folktales: A collection of the Dinka’s Short Stories, Dinka mythologies: myths, legends and folktales have been collated. These stories are extremely diverse and heterogeneous; they convey customs and talks of our ways of age as their themes and motifs give us an overview of African traditional cultural heritage and diversity, especially of the Dinka community.
These oral traditions were passed by the words of month from generations to generations. The myths explain the actions of gods, heroes and natural occurrences, while legends widely tell about the past stories that may or may not be based on facts and the folktales entertain us about heroes, adventures, or mischief-makers.
Furthermore, folktales are more or less the same as myths as they often offer fictional explanations for natural occurrences. I believe both the scholars and students of the Dinka tribe and other African communities will find this book useful in schools at different grades as they fulfill their academic calls.
Some of these tales will make you think, laugh, wonder, but almost all of them have hidden wisdom for you to discover! Although a lot remains to be done, the author has demonstrated to us that there are more hidden oral traditions to be explored.
What makes human beings different from other species is their thirst to know their customs. These past stories are important for their individual or collective self-esteem and are crucial in setting up their present and future socioeconomic goals. The knowledge gained in the past by older generations was passed down to subsequent
generations through oral literature.
In this book, animals, birds and human beings are the main characters; some of them are considered as clever as a fox and a hare, as bewitching as an owl, as diplomatic as a rabbit, as greedy as a hyena, as brave as a lion or as a tiger and as forgetful as a dog.
As Samuel Huntington puts it, “The most important distinctions among people are not ideological, political, or economic, it is the cultural norms. Peoples and nations are attempting to answer the most basic question human being can face: Who are we? And they are answering that question in traditional ways that suit their cultural and social backgrounds, reference to the things that mean most for them.
People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs and institutions.” Basing the studies on oral traditions passed down from generation to the next, I am sure, both the Dinka scholars and students will be able to use this book at school at different levels as they would find it more interesting and useful for their literal works.
Although a lot remains to be done, the author has exposed to the Jieeng communities that there are more other hidden unrecorded oral traditions to be explored and transcribed.
Manyuon Dhieu Chol,
Copies can be found from Thon Dhieu Chol, Tel. No. +254705420104 and E-Mail: email@example.com
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