My Quest To Teach

June 1, 2016

TED TALKS – Creating Dynamic African Children Stories

Filed under: Education — William Jackson @ 8:30 am

TED TALKS – Creating Dynamic African Children Stories
William Jackson, M.Edu.
Edward Waters College –

Based on the dynamic presentation of
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian author)

  • TED Talks “The Danger of a Single Story.”


African children: each child has a story, a story that
defines their lives, a story of diverse emotional and
psychological dimensions, it is important that African
adults play a part in their children’s developing
stories because as African adults set the tone for
continued growth their children will grow to
take leadership roles in their respective nations.

Africa is not a country, but composed of individual
countries that make a continent. A continent so diverse
that species are still being discovered that have
been undisturbed for centuries. Books are being
re-written with accurate information that represents
the lives and heritage of African people.

Children’s lives are like books and because each page
or parchment is blank, African parents need to be
cautious as to what is imprinted on each page.
Childrens stories cannot be erased, rewritten, edited
nor started over. Their lives are continuous pages that
may branch off into different story-lines, but each
story-line is as important as the next because they
are the stories of that child.

Parents establish the foundation of a child’s language
development. The term “garbage in, garbage out” is a
technology term that can be applied to the educational
and cultural development of African children.
As technology expands in African households and in society
what goes into a child will come out. Technology is
a two edged sword and parents must guide their
children to determine what is good and what is bad.


African parents help to create a story-line in their
children by allowing or denying the infusion of reading
and literature. If parents encourage reading, cognitive
development, appreciation of diverse literary content,
their children will have a well rounded literary
background which allows for strong language development,
appreciation for diversity and promote the strengthening
of African societies. Far too long during European
colonization Africans were denied the gift of reading
and language, authors like Achebe and Solinka have
shared the tragic history of Africans being withheld
learning even about their culture and the African

I do not know the individual academic situations of
African families or children, so this is not a judgment
just educational guidance to help those that have a
desire to help African families and African children.
Education is vitally important for the sustaining of
African economic development and educational advancement.

Listening to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a
Singe Story,” on TEDx Talks
My interpretation is for African parents to
understand how they shape, mold and create the stories
of their children because society will continue to
create their own story of African children.

Based on the color of skin or the perceived cultural
background. Children will be given a false story as was
done during colonization and even today. African parents
must make sure an authentic story is heard loud and clear
about their culture, their societies and their children.
Chinua Achebe often shares how his culture (Ibo) was
forever changed by colonization. So transformative was
the change that his book, “When Things Fall Apart,”
was published, it resonated globally with many cultures
that were tragically affected by European, Japanese,
Chinese, and other cultural colonization.

Each new day is an opportunity to create a story
of societal unity, progressive educational access and
understanding the Africans place in the world. Each child
is a single story that is continuously being developed,
the story is written on the lifelines that are a trail of
deeds, actions, events and circumstances that cannot be
changed once done.

Because of the dimensions of life our stories
cannot be rewritten because they happen each
second, each minute, each hour of each day.
My story is not the same as my African brothers and
sisters; they do have a part in my story because of
my passion to learn about African people and culture.
Africans have a historical dimension that spans through
centuries of greatness and achievement, but if Africans
do not write the true story the world will not know and
tragically African children will not know their history,
as many African Americans do not know their history.

As Ms. Adichie states we cannot buy into a
single story based on the media (paraphrasing).
“Show a people as one thing, and only one thing
over and over again, and that is what they become.”
In many cases African children have been given the
wrong information and their perceptions of self
are wrong.

When we allow one story to be told about a culture,
gender, and lifestyle things can get twisted and
One story cannot be the representation of a whole culture or
race of people. The media will have you believe an opposite
truth than the reality. Ms. Adichie states that,
“The single story creates stereotypes, the problem is
not that they are true they are incomplete.”
This is one of the misconceptions African Americans have
of each other and the African culture, African Americans
have been so brainwashed and mislead they lost their
connection with Africa. They no longer see the historical,
cultural, ethnic, scientific, medical and global greatness
that is Africa. There is only one story that the media tells
that is inaccurate.


Listen to the stories of the past African Writers:
Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mariama Bâ,
NoViolet Bulawayo, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ngugi wa Thiong’o,
Binyavanga Wainaina, Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta, Teju Cole.
These are just a few that inspire, influence and
encourage the African story.

Europeans when they gained a foothold in Africa
forbid storytelling, they colonized and changed cultural
understanding, they ceased the ability of villages to
respect each other and destroyed the oneness of people
and the land. The story must be retold again and shared,
this is why children have dynamic stories because their
stories should link to the lives they live as Africans
not as colonizers would have them see themselves.

Educators in Africa have a tremendous job to teach
African children about their history and also to teach
African children what their place is in the world.


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