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As a writer, I have such a love for stories. The art of storytelling is changing on the continent, but still exists. I recall the childhood stories in primary school that started with the call "Hadithi! Hadithi!" Our response as children was "Hadithi njoo!" This Swahili phrases translate to "Story! Story!" The response is "Story come!" In Haitian creole, I learned that the equivalent is "Krik! Krak!" Stories have always been an important part of storytelling culture. Even though in this day and age, we might not be sitting around the fire, hearing stories from the older generation, the storytelling nature of Africans persist. Twitter threads, blogs and youtube channels are becoming our new fireplaces.
Stories are always open to interpretation and that's what makes them most beautiful. The same story can mean so much to different people. For me, this particular story from Zanzibar sounded like a feminist tale of a woman scorned who then gets her lady friends to help her get revenge. The ending though was not very in line with what I expected. The guests on the podcast brought interesting perspectives on the story with one mentioning that the tale was meant to reinforce societal expectations of women and marriage at the time. One particular guest was of the same opinion as I was—she would have changed the ending to have more of a girl-empowerment stance.
It is an interesting story: one that examines class, gender and racial issues in society. One can envision different stories in this day and age that would follow similar themes, universal themes. I quite enjoyed the storytelling, the narration, the different perspectives from the guests, the music and of course hearing one of my languages (Swahili) being spoken. The listener will also get to learn a bit about contemporary and ancient Zanzibar and for a moment feel as if they are sitting by a fireplace, maybe in Forodhani market in Stonetown, listening to the story.