Talking point | Zimbabwe

Fireside tales

Oral story-telling has a long history in Africa, and has taught generations of children vital lessons

No Violet Bulawayo looks past the camera to the left. She is wearing a pink and green patterned blouse.

NoViolet Bulawayo is a writer who has been awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing

In the village of my childhood, there were no televisions. Instead, we sat around the fire together in the evenings, just as my father had done with his grandmother and she with hers. We listened to the elders. Storytelling is an ancient tradition in Zimbabwe.

Mostly they were about animals - and often the tales had a message, such as not to be greedy. Oral traditions have held Africa together for a long time, even after the colonial powers established new borders there.

Today, however, children often sit alone in front of their mobile phones instead. In my books, I am inspired by the old tradition of story telling, and, for that reason, the protagonists of my satire "Glory" are depicted as animals.