In Oak Cliff, a bookstore owner opens her doors for week-long Kwanzaa celebrations with a focus on passing the principles down to younger generations.
Oba William King is a traveling interactive storyteller known for his narrating, poetry and spoken word. On Wednesday, though, he was in Oak Cliff at the Pan African Connection Bookstore. If there was anything King wanted the children there to leave with, he summed it up with a few words.
“A sense of inclusion, a feeling of pride,” King said.
He was there to teach the art of storytelling on the fourth day of Kwanzaa called Ujamaa. Ujamaa is for the principle of cooperative economics. King says the teachings of Kwanzaa can be more easily committed to memory through the art of active storytelling.
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“In the story of our culture, of our heritage, of who we are, there are truths that are unchanged. And when you pass down stories in a family from generation to generation, it can stay true,” he said.
Dr. Lucy Houston, also known as Dinkinesh Madiba, knows something about longevity. She’s been a longtime supporter of Pan African Connection and taught her adult children the principles of Kwanzaa decades ago. She’s said events like the interactive storytelling class produce something priceless. She remembers what teaching her children about African American culture and history did for their confidence.
“They had a certain kind of self-esteem and self-efficacy, it didn’t matter what someone else said, they knew who they were,” said Houston.
The shop’s owner, Akwete Tyehimba, said the reason for Kwanzaa activities is simple.
“The most important thing for us is to pass this information on to the younger generations so they can then pass it on. So that’s why we do it,” said Tyehimba.
As for passing down the art of storytelling, King looks around at the children and their parents sitting in his interactive class, and he’s certain of one thing.
“They desire nothing but greatness from their kids,” he said. “And I’m sure we’re in good hands.”
For more information on Kwanzaa https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/north-texans-continue-the-celebration-of-kwanzaa/2847046/.