Kumbirayi Shoniwa Entertainment Reporter
FOLK tales consist of mainly traditional oral narratives which include legends, proverbs, music, jokes and stories which belong to a particular culture or social group.
Most folk stories or ngano embody the hopes and aspirations of the majority of people in the society and are used to transmit and preserve cultural values of the group.
The stories help in showing how society views itself and also conveys their notions of justice, rights and social obligations of its citizens.
Laziness, greed and selfishness are therefore portrayed as negatively as possible with the offending characters such as Gudo in ‘‘Tsuro na Gudo” always suffering for their stupid and unwise behaviour.
On the other hand, goodness, honesty and unity are depicted as important virtues which the heroes and heroines of folk tales always use to prevail over their problems.
The use of animals as human characters is done to highlight attitudes and behaviours of people in a way which pokes fun at their awkward actions in real life.
Animals are used as tools to convey messages to audiences without seeming to personalise issues or pinpointing certain individuals for rebuke.
In addition, animal imagery makes it possible for children and other people to easily understand the relevance of the story being told due to the simplified character of the animal.
Folk tales also use performances and personal interaction between audience and storyteller such as the “Paivepo” and “Dze-pfunde” recitals which ensure attentiveness and participation of all people concerned.
The use of various vocal tones, miming and bodily gestures are done to emphasise important themes and ideas which the audience needs to remember long after the story has been told.
Folklore is also told in order to educate children into cultural values of the society as well as give them motivation and a sense of well-being.
In stories where small animals seem to beat the odds and overcome bigger ones both physically and mentally, the children learn the important lesson that anybody is able to achieve great things in society no matter how small, different or inexperienced they may be.
Some folk tales portray animals gathering and discussing issues which affect them as a group with arguments and discussion used to highlight democratic process and the importance of unity and agreement in society.
So next time you begin to think that folk stories are pastimes for old people and infants to while away the time, remember that the stories convey moral as well as historical issues which affect everybody in the community.