Storytelling Research: Implications for the Broader Higher Education System in South Africa
Keywords:Africa, Autoethnography, Digital Era, Higher Education System, Storytelling, ecosystem
The present investigation aims at promoting storytelling as a critical research discipline within the broader higher education system in South Africa. During the apartheid era and in democratic South Africa, storytelling was (and is) not part of the agenda for consideration in the broader higher education system. This status quo was due to multifarious factors including a myopic view of traditional scientific research. In the pre-colonial African communities, stories were told in the evening in the rural home around the fire to capture the attention of and educate the younger family members. Members of the community and adults within a family (e.g., mother, father, uncle, aunt, etc.) usually told stories which drew themes from lived realities. In their entirety, stories were posited towards teaching important lessons about life in general. Some stories were simple fiction-oriented, while others were non-fiction and premised on empirical life actualities. A story would predicate the characters as actual people in a real-life situation. In our modern digital era, some stories are stage-played or dramatised on television. Today, storytelling also involves public speaking by individuals known as “motivational speakers.” Among African societies, most stories featured themes involving a human being with wildlife species such as lion, leopard, baboon and wild rabbit, and many others. To make the discussion on storytelling more vivid and meaningful, an autoethnographic reflection on the story of the man and the leopard was used as an example in this article. In view of the reader-response concept, an articulation of the main ideas unfolding in the story follows the example presented in this paper. The study is based on a narrative analysis as an approach. A narrative analysis comprises literary genre as a theoretical framework.
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