Author Archives: Bevin Magama

Storytelling As A Creative Tool in Schools

Storytelling, as an expressive art enables learners to be creative and express themselves in different ways, enjoy and contribute to others enjoyment through expressive performances. In schools storytelling helps pupils develop skills which are transferable, and also develop an appreciation of cultural values, identities and ideas. In some pupils,  performance storytelling gives them a base to think about a career in expressive arts. 

Photos courtesy of South Wales Argus Newspaper article:  http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/16286649.professional-story-teller-captivates-newport-school-pupils-with-visit/#gallery11

WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS

Creative Arts are the glue that makes learning fun. The Arts Council of Wales through their Lead Creative Scheme has been promoting creative practitioners to go into schools and share their creative practice. As a storyteller I have been benefitting from this project. I continue to work with dozens of schools using storytelling in a  creative, collaborative, and fun-filled endeavour with the objective of raising oracy levels, reading and writing, and confidence building. These efforts are in line with the requirement by the Welsh government’s curriculum for the study of English Key Stage 2-4.

These workshops and performances I conduct are immersive and interactive. Here are some pictures from some of the schools I have worked with.

 

PLATFORMA CONFERENCE OCTOBER 2017

From the 27 to the 28th of October, Newcastle was the host city for the Platforma Conference. This conference brings together groups and artists / performers of any background or political status (e.g. refugees and non-refugees), whose work examines the varied experiences of refugees both before and after they arrived and settled in their host country. It aims to  encourage new audiences to relate more closely and empathetically to the experiences of refugees.

Platforma is managed by Counterpoints Arts in partnership with organisations across the country. Platforma Festival runs every two years – the first was held in London (2011) , then Manchester (2013), Leicester (2015), Newcastle, Gateshead, Stockton & Middlesbrough (2017).

 

As a performer, I enjoyed my experience at this conference. Here are some of the highlights:

Young Women’s Empowerment

 

Sudanese Women's Dance

Tuwezeshe Akina Dada is a bespoke project that aims to give voice to young African women. It aims to empower them against all forms of violence and help them to develop their leadership skills thereby helping to influence and shape the decisions and actions that impact upon them.

The project’s main focus is to work with young women from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Somaliland as well as here in Wales, and across the UK. This project was launched by Sub Sahara Advisory Panel at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on the 10th of March 2017. Among the guest speakers were Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood whose message was “nationhood, visibility and empowerment. Welsh Labour Assembly member, Jenny Rathbone, called for greater role for African women in the diaspora to influence policy discussions.

As a storyteller, I shared with the audiences the story of How The Cat Became  A Woman’s Best Friend. This was a story about a woman’s resilience as told to me by my grandmother when I was seven years old.

 

how the cat became a woman's best friend Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood Id's Place catering Jenny Rathbone

Zimbabwe Family Day Newport, Feb 2017.

Newport is a small city in Wales. It has a vibrant Zimbabwean Community and among this community is the Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association led by Robert Muza. One of the aims the Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association is promoting community links and exchange visits between Newport and the Mufakose community in Harare, Zimbabwe. On the 18th of February 2017, the Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association hosted a family day. the day was filled with Zimbabwean storytelling, drumming, music, dancing and over and above everything else the attendees enjoyed the Zimbabwean cuisine. I enjoyed sharing traditional Zimbabwean folklore and playing mbira music for the audience.

Storytelling Newport

Extract from my book “Dreaming All Things Great”

BINMEN, SEAGULLS AND BROADWAY

 

Broadway is my street

It is not broad at all

Its broadness is in its diversity

Boasting of an assortment of commerce

A gentlemanly massage parlour

A second hand shop selling fridges and refurbished dishwashers

A few dodgy looking garages

A rundown refugee centre painted all black

Where mothers with dishevelled hair and tired eyes cling onto their worried husbands and children

Two workingmen’s pubs

Broadway is prowled by people

Of all ages, colour and creed

People from India, Far East, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and South Wales

This is the Cardiffness of my street

 

Throughout the weekend litter accumulates

Litter piles are high by Monday

By Thursday morning

Cars negotiating piles of rubbish bags

Thursday morning has its song

I follow this song

Blackbirds call

Seagulls scream

Scattered bins

Black bags ripped open

By the side of the bin

Lies a dead pigeon

Its stomach ripped open

Intestines trailing

Seagulls scrum

Pulling and tugging at the prize inside

By noon

Flies buzz

That stench from the bins

Those pigeon entrails

Now scattered all over

Passers-by hands over mouths

That overpowering smell

Evoking a vow of silence

On bystanders and onlookers

Watch your step

Or else you’ll be carrying the stench all day

Friday comes

Rubbish collection has not been done

Where art thou binmen?

 

By my window the sun percolates

Its yellow glow mesmerising

I stretch and yawn

Seagulls screech

Unemptied bins roll

Strewn waste from pavement  to road

The flock of seagulls competing with the flies

Where art thou binmen?

By the following Monday

My street is but a war zone

Seagulls and their foes

Run along the pavement

The clouds of last night

Splattering their tears

Over the bins and black bags

Slippery banana peelings

Maggots emerge out -of –date chicken pieces

Freed from the depth of black bags

A fiasco developing

Seagulls versus rats

Maggots versus flies

The wind has a mind of its own

Wafting into my window

Take this

It seems to say

The unbearable stench

Rising frustration

I pay council tax

But not for this

Cardiffian councillors and lovers

I plead

Where art thou binmen? 

 

The Brave Hunter and The Leopard

The Brave Hunter and the Leopard is a  beautiful and captivating storytelling piece. A bragging hunter whose appetite for hunting  leads him to hunting in a strange mysterious forest captures two leopard cubs. The leopard mother traces the footsteps of the hunter to reclaim her cubs. The story is told in singing and drumming by the talented, Sanganai, a Zimbabwean duo.Dancing Leopards

Little Sparks

A unique arts event was held in the very friendly vibrant cafe Gwdihw on the 6th of October 2015. Making Minds organised this well-attended event which was dedicated to raising awareness of mental health, reducing mental health stigma and discrimination. Multi platform artists including, Belle Blue ( Musician), Eric Ngalle Charles (Poet) of Black Entertainment Wales, myselfand many others shared their arts in support.Eric Charlesbelle blue

Wales Fair Trade Fair October 2015

Love Zimbabwe launched its 9th year Wales Fair Trade Fair at Abergavenny and Brecon on the 3rd and 4th of October 2015. The event was a big success. In my capacity as a storyteller, I took part in both events sharing stories with children and adults who attended. At the official opening of the Abergavenny fair, Martha Musonza Holman shared a smile with her husband David Holman whilst the leader of the Green Party Pippa Bartolotti cut the ribbon. Also officiating was councillor Martin Hickman. The hardwork that Love Zimbabwe does can be seen on http://lovezimbabwe.org/

Pippa Bartolotti , leader of the Green Party, myself and Councillor Martin Hickman.

Pippa Bartolotti , leader of the Green Party, myself and Councillor Martin Hickman.

My Mouth Brought Me Here

 

This one-off event took place at Butetown History and Arts Centre in Cardiff on the 18th of June 2015. Eric Ngalle Charles of Black Entertainment Wales  brought artists together. This was a memorable night of poetry, storytelling and music. The poetry and storytelling from Eric Ngalle had intellectual bite whilst the music from the highly talented upcoming artists King Jaguar and Carlton Curtis was enchanting and revolutionary.At this event I shared with the audience some folktales including How The Cat Became A Woman’s Best friend. This show is bound to remain in my long term canon as one of my best collaborations ever.