On Saturday 1st August I had the opportunity to attend the African Storytelling Festival. The festival named Nne Agwu which translates as ‘Mother of all Wisdom’ takes place from Friday – Sunday in the Ancient woodland of Epping Forest at the Debden campsite. This annual festival is initiated and bought to life by Chinyere the creator of Shanti-Chi to keep oral traditions alive.
I purchased a adult day pass which was only £40 for Saturday or £20 for Friday or Sunday which is a good cost effective and competitive price. It did not take me long to drive as I don’t live far from the A406/M11. On my arrival I was directed to campsite 3, which was great to be able to park on the actual grassland. As I entered the site I was amazed at the setup that had been created by the organisers. There were three main large gazebo – labelled welcome, food and workshop tent. In the centre was an array of tents of different sizes, colours and even some very large family surrounded by woodlands.
Within the food tent was an abundance of fruit, veg and natural juices set up by Ian & Cindy. A few vendors had all the camping equipment and cooked their own food. But I was taken back home to Ghana watching plantain and corn being roasted on the open fire. A brother shared his roasted breadfruit that was soooo filling.
I had a enlightening conversation with Omo Agba Metala who is a storyteller, writer, educator, Yoruba language teacher, media services, health and wellbeing practitioner. I also purchased some herbs, nutrition powders and natural products. www.wamikampt.com
It was great to see some friends and connect with new acquaintances as we sat by the fire pit taking in fresh air and watching the children run round freely, playing games, roasting marsh mellows and exploring the forest.
There was many workshops throughout the day and I managed to catch the last 20mins of Angie Amra who was drumming and teaching the guests to express their animal character into a story. In the evening we were entertained again with a wonderful story.
“One big mango on the tree, all for we, all for we”
Amantha Edmead shared a story about a tortoise who wanted to go to a party. She made me laugh so much with her animated expressions and Caribbean accent.
I was so excited to listen to Ashanti who was a story telling graduate of Shanti-Chi. She looked amazing in her dress and orated a very impressive story where she used children from the audience.
‘hocus pocus – lets stay focus’.
Griot Chinyere showcased an enchanting story showing her wit and imagination that entertained the children and adults together.
The night ended with a drum and dance session where we were bought to our feet as we jammed and to the beats and chants.
Happy with the sun shinning, wonderful company, great food and mother nature I had a fantastic cultural, spiritual connection filled with African traditional stories that well captivated oral traditions.
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Hope to see you at the 5th African Storytelling Festival
Bless Sister E