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12/05/2017 03:58 SAST | Updated 12/05/2017 03:58 SAST

Dynamic African Children Stories Are Relevant

Children's lives are like books and because each page is blank, African parents need to be cautious as to what is imprinted on each page.

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Based on the TED Talk of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian author), "The Danger of a Single Story."

Each African 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 adults set the tone for the continued growth the children will grow to take up in leadership roles within their respective nations.

Children's lives are like books and because each page is blank, African parents need to be cautious as to what is imprinted on each page. Their stories cannot be erased, rewritten, edited nor started over. Their lives are continuous pages that may branch off into different storylines, each storyline 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 and American children. As technology expands in households 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 storyline in their children by allowing or denying the infusion of reading and literature.

If parents encourage reading, cognitive development and the 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. 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 families and children of colour and culture.

Listening to Adichie, my interpretation is for African parents to understand how they shape, mould and create the stories of their children because society will continue to create their own story of African and American children of colour. Based on the colour of skin or the perceived cultural background, children will be given a false story as was done during colonisation.

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 (Igbo) was forever changed by colonisation. 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 colonisation.

When we allow one story to be told about a culture, gender, and lifestyle things can get twisted and misinterpreted. One story cannot be the representation of a whole culture or race of people.

Each new day is an opportunity to create a story of societal unity, progressive educational access and understanding the African's 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.

As the result of the dimensions of life, our stories cannot be rewritten because they happen each second, each minute, each hour of each day. As 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 misinterpreted. 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. Adichie states that, "The single story creates stereotypes, the problem is not that they are true but that 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 misled that 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 and it is inaccurate.

Each African child is important to the story of Africa because of the capacity for change, the ability to influence the stories of each other and the cultural stories that continue to expand. Listen to the stories of African Writers, both past and present: Chinua Achebe, Mariama Bâ, NoViolet Bulawayo, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Binyavanga Wainaina, Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta and Teju Cole. These are just a few that inspire, influence and encourage the African story.

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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