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Monday, 15 October 2012

Throwback: Tales by Moonlight

Tales by Moonlight by Eziagulu Chukwunonso
This post was inspired by a conversation I had on my facebook page with a lady whose blog, TheAfricanLiteraturePost, I absolutely adore. It was in response to my Animal Narrators in African Literature post and she brought up African fables, in which we both mentioned Anansi. From Anansi, I began to think about how I used to love reading Anansi, and other folktales as a kid, and then I thought of "Tales by Moonlight". 

As a kid in Nigeria, every Sunday night my siblings, cousin and I would gather around the TV in the living room (on the floor, to simulate the experience as was on TV) in anticipation of Tales by Moonlight, which was shown on a TV station called NTA (Nigerian Television Authority). Tales by Moonlight was this amazing kids show where the "Aunty" (an older lady) would tell folktales (taken from  the different ethnic groups in Nigeria) to a group of girls and boys gathered around her on the floor listening to her wonderful tales. It was set in a village, and as the name suggests, the tales were told at night. It would start off with one of my favourite lines:

                                      Aunty: Story, Story
                                      Children: Story
                                      Aunty: Once Upon a Time
                                      Children: Time, Time

And then the "aunty" would begin her story, and we would all be magically transported to the story world, where actors would re-enact these wonderful tales. Being folktales, there were many animal roles - Mr. Tortoise always made an appearance - and by the end of the story we would learn the "moral of the story". 

I did do a bit of searching and it turns out that in 2002 a Tales of Moonlight book was published. Originally by Michigan State University Press, and then later by Heinemann Educational Books in Nigeria. On the Heinemann website the book is described as:
" a collection of interesting stories taken from prominent folklore of the country's different ethnic groups. It was adapted from the populat episodes of Tales by Moonlight, a popular drama series of the Nigerian Television Authority".

According to Amazon it's out of print and sadly I couldn't find any videos to share it here. Sorry! But if you grew up in Nigeria, do you remember Tales by Moonlight? And if you grew up in another African country, did you have similar TV shows on folktales?

2 comments:

  1. I have also been looking for the book especially the story of Nchanga and Enoma two sisters one fat and the other thin who constantly fought with each other..I cannot remember how the story ended as read as a child..

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