Malawian storytelling filmed

Jonas Agerbæk Jeppesen is a Master student in Communication and Philosophy at Roskilde University. He was a NAI study scholarship holder and spent the month of September at the Institute, planning for his second fieldtrip to Malawi. His project is entitled “Democracy, Oral Culture and Communication for Social Change in Rural Malawi”. The project explores Malawian oral culture and discusses its possible appliances in community radio and social change projects.

During his first field trip to Malawi, Jonas collected material which has resulted in two audiovisual productions: “The Town Girl” and “The Orphan”.

“The Town Girl” is an experimental adaptation of traditional Malawian storytelling, both in terms of form and content. Mrs. Tambala tells a story about a girl coming from town to meet her parents and friends in the village. The film features scenes shot in the town of Chitakale and in the villages of Tambala and Nkutha.

"This production is a short film where I experiment using oral literature as a background narrative for a story about a girl exploring town and village life in rural Malawi. The film has no explicit point or morale, but is rather an experiment, playing on semantic similarities and differences between audiovisual and oral performance media," says Jonas.

In the second production, the storyteller Mrs. Chikhwaza and her audience perform “Mwana Wamasiye” (“The Orphan”), while a transcript of the story in both Chichewa and English rolls over the screen. As a non-Chichewa speaker, this will take you close to experiencing a Malawian storytelling session – that is, if you join the prompt response chorus of the audience: “tilitonse” (“we are together”).

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