The Caribbean’s longest running storytelling festival, Ananse Soundsplash, returns for its 18th staging from November 17 to 22 and will be shared across the world wide web featuring a conference, book launch, panel discussion and storytelling on the theme Ananse WebSight his journey and cultural heritage across the African diaspora.
Minister of Culture, Youth, Gender and Sport, Hon Olivia “Babsy” Grange said that “Storytelling is part of our rich heritage. Growing up, it was one of the quintessential Jamaican pastimes. I’m happy to see that we’re using modern technology to carry-on this important tradition and to introduce the much loved folk characters to a new generation and to a wider audience.
I’m also excited by the focus on the role and representation of gender in Caribbean folklore in this year’s conference and festival. It is essential that we have these conversations as we continue to build a more inclusive and equal society.”
The featured storytellers include foremost Zulu storyteller from South Africa, Gcina Mplophe, who will headline the Gala International Opening on Tuesday November 17. Mplophe, an anti-apartheid activist, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author is deeply committed to the role of storytelling as critical to maintaining the connections between Africa and is diaspora.
The gala will also feature Kenyan filmmaker John Mukeni Nami; Co-director of the International Forum of Oral Narration (FINO) Dr Ruben Corbett who is based in Mexico; New York city based StoryCrafters, Dr Jeri Burns and Barry Marshall; and Caymanian storyteller, Rita Estavonitch.
Jamaican storytellers sharing the stage include author Elkanah Rhule, lecturer, Nicole Williams, teachers Rodney Joseph, Tamara Moyston, Damian Herridge and Richard Derby, community development specialist Hazel Yahmin Vaz, specialist researchers in cultural heritage Dr. Jean Small and Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks and librarians across the Jamaica Library Service network.
The storytelling conference will be held on November 17 under the theme Storytelling and Development, the Caribbean Experience.
November 19, International Men’ Day, will be recognized with the panel discussion, Understanding Gender in Caribbean Folklore.
National Storytelling Day, Friday November 20, will be hosted by the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library under the theme Head Come Before Book and will be featured on the Trelawny community radio station FIT FM with Beverley Edwards. The launching of Dr Amina Blackwood Meeks’s latest book “That’s A Good Idea” is a highlight of the day.
Sunday November 22 will have the year’s featured storytellers closing with Will the Real Ananse Please Stand Up, and is expected to be a rich experience of intriguing stories which place Ananse in the context of cultural reparation.
Jamaicans at home and abroad can join using the Jamaica Library Service YouTube and Facebook platforms @JamaicaLibraryService and on the YouTube and Facebook platforms of the Delaware–based Internet radio station rampoonradio.com which serves the Caribbean Diaspora.
Ananse Soundsplash is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and organised by Ntukuma The Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica, in collaboration with the Jamaica Library Service.
The conference and storytelling festival is a calendar event for Caribbean educators who learn new techniques to enhance their classroom teaching outcomes. It also unearths cultural materials that are used by creative professionals and academic researchers.
Ananse Soundsplash is one of the oldest storytelling festivals in the world being first staged in 1998 and rebranded in 2012 as Ananse SoundSplash. Since 2014, the Governor General has proclaimed November 20 as National Storytelling Day.