Jambo Watoto digital assembly is a loving homage to the rich and wonderful cultures of Africa. Featuring stories and traditional rhythms from different regions of Africa including How Ananse Gained a Kingdom of Knowledge from a Kernel of Corn (Ashanti), The Hunterman and the Crocodile (Donso, West Africa), and The Lion’s Whiskers (Ethiopia)
The Hunterman and the Crocodile
Donso the hunter-man, against his better judgment, agrees to carry Bamba the Crocodile back to his home in the river. After carrying Bamba into the water and releasing him, Bamba takes hold of his arm, to make Donso his next meal. As they argue, about right and wrong and how a good deed should be repaid, they float by a cow, a horse, a chicken, and an old mango tree, and Donso begs them all to help. They all refuse and say that he deserves to be eaten by the Bamba.
Finally, a clever rabbit approaches and plays a trick on the Bamba to help free Donzo. Once they’re out of the river and Bamba is back up on Donso’s back, the tables are turned and the rabbit suggests that he take Bamba home to his wife “to make a great meal.”
On his way home, Donso learns that his wife is gravely ill and that she needs the tears of a crocodile to recover. He then gives Bamba his freedom in exchange for a gourd of his tears.
Donso learned his lesson and from that time forward he has reminded people of the importance of living in harmony with nature and the necessity of placing Man among – not above – all living things.
The Lion’s Whiskers
Finaye, a woman past childbearing age, longs for a family of her own. When she marries Tesfa and meets his motherless son Abebe, she is overjoyed. Fanaye tries hard to please the boy, but he wants no part of her.
Desperate, Fanaye seeks the wisdom of a shaman, a tribal medicine man. He sends her on a mission to gather three whiskers from a fierce lion for a magic potion that will win her Abebe’s love.
She collects the whiskers very carefully, by slowly gaining the lion’s trust. Once obtained, the whiskers are no longer needed, as Fanaye has also learned how she must likewise gain Abebe’s trust and love, with patience, respect, and discretion.
How Kwaku Ananse Gained a Kingdom of Knowledge from a Kernel of Corn
The angry sky god Nyame mistakenly thinks that Ananse the Spider has accepted his challenge and puts him to a seemingly impossible test. Nyame presents Ananse with a single kernel of corn and instructs him to somehow use that one kernel of corn to bring all of the people from the Kingdom Beyond the River back to Nyame.
Ananse must pass through four villages, and cross a river before he reaches his final destination. Although Ananse is just a spider he is able to use his imagination (and some trickery) to complete the task, and is granted all the wisdom of the universeJambo Learning Guide Book a Show
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Photos by David Bazemore. Directed by Eva Magyar and Boxtales Theatre Company. Written by Boxtales Theatre Company. Masks by Lindsay Rust. Lighting by Tony Mangini. Video produced by Renegade Pictures.