All posts by kuumbablog

In 1995, several local Atlanta storytellers decided to form an affiliate of the National Association of Black Storytellers right here in Atlanta after attending the National Festival for several years. Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia was born. Kuumba means “Creativity” in Swahili. The sixth day of Kwanzaa celebrates Kuumba, the ability we all have to put our imaginations to work, and use our creative energies and talents to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

UpComing Event at ZOO Atlanta..Wild World Weekend

Kuumba Storytellers Of Georgia will share Stories in the Wild World Weekend Event at Zoo Atlanta. Kuumba Storytellers Christine Arinze, Verna Muthoni, Gwendolyn J. Napier and Kuumba’s Drummer, Brad Mason will embrace the stage on August 5, 2017 and August 6, 2017 in the Africa Plains area of the Zoo from 11am – 12 NOON.

Come Out and Bring the Family to hear some great Cultural Stories of Africa.

We will see you at Zoo Atlanta for Stories to Remember from the ” Zoo”.

Kuumba Youth Tattletales Rising Up –

Congratulations to  ALL KUUMBA STORYTELLERS OF GEORGIA  Youth Tattletales.  They are Rising Up in the Community and sharing Great Stories.

Great News…Youth Tattletale Jeremie Meadows has been chosen as  Youth Featured Storyteller for the National Association of Black Storytellers Festival and Conference in Wichita, Kansas in November 2017.  Kuumba Youth Tattletales..”Our Future Tellers”

Events and Updates for Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia

Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia Celebrated its Annual Mama Tales Storytelling Concert on May 7th with a dedication to Kuumba Storyteller Auntie Ernestine Brown and Its 2nd Annual Papa Tales Storytelling Concert on June 11th to Kuumba Storyteller Akbar Imhotep. Both Concerts were at the Hammonds House Museum in Beautiful West End Community with Wall to Wall Community Friends and Members.

Kuumba Storytellers will Sponsor its 1st Grandparents Tales on September 10th in Athens, Georgia with a Sponsorship with Humana . We are looking forward to our Sponsorship Project together this year. More Details To Come.

PAST, PRESENT, & FUTURE WITH Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia, Inc.

Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia Members are Back On The MEDIA SCREEN  Again with Blogging Information.

Time has passed from  the year  2014 up to now  2017.  Kuumba Storytellers Of Georgia have re-grouped in many ways.  We passed on the Torch of New Officers from outgoing President Ernestine Brown and Vice President Gwendolyn J. Napier, and Gloria Elder.  Kuumba applaud our outgoing Officers for their Outstanding Dedicated Services to the Organization.

Our new Officers President  Gwendolyn J. Napier, and Vice President Paul Freeman for 2016-2018 were extended the Torch to keep the Path Lit for Kuumba’s  Journey in Storytelling.

Our Mission has Continued and Our Stories Shared.









All Good Stories Must Come To An End!

Kuumba Storytellers & USASSCA - September 2014
Kuumba Storytellers & USASSCA – September 2014

WHERE DID THE TIME GO? It seems like yesterday when Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia and the Sudanese Families partnered together on October 26, 2013. We had a Meet and Greet session as Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia received the NSN Brimstone Grant and the rest was HISTORY. On November 13, 2013 we broke bread together forming friendships and stories.  Today was a special day 9-20-14 almost a year later as we are approaching the end of our project. We heard the same stories from our Sudanese Friends, but his time their stories showed all of the qualities of a Great Story.

The tips that were suggested from the Workshops of the Kuumba Storytellers were used to enhance their stories. It has really been a wonderful experience from the Beginning to the Ending as Kuumba Storytellers, Laverne Amponsah and I attended every meeting, workshop, and festival. We embraced our new families connecting together as “ONE”. I can truly say that our mission for Connecting Communities Together through Storytelling has been SUCCESSFUL.

All of the Sudanese Storytellers were “AWESOME”.  Kuumba Storytellers who served on this project were Deborah Strahorn, the Project Manager; Workshop Facilitators were Ernestine Brown, Esther Culver, Laverne Amponsah, Janice Butt, Chetter Galloway and Gwendolyn J. Napier. Thanks to Roberta Malavenda, and to all of our Sudanese Friends of the Clarkston Community.

Gwendolyn Napier – Vice President of Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia

Brimestone Update

USASSCA members telling stories
USASSCA members telling stories








We are almost done!  All the stories for The Sudan and African American Oral Storytelling Project have been collected.  The stories are currently in the process of being translated.   Over the past year Kuumba, the United Sudan and South Sudan Communities Association (USASSCA) & CDF of Clarkston, GA has worked diligently on this venture.   From the initial gathering of the three entities in October 2013, to the recent “Tell Me a Story” Festival in May, we have made huge strides in meeting our goals.

The next steps include:

  • Reviewing the collected stories
  • Editing the stories into performance format
  • Coaching the Sudanese tellers
  • Kuumba Storytellers selecting stories to include in their own storytelling programs
  • A final concert presentation of the selected stories with USASSCA

Thanks to everyone for all of your hard work and continued support!

Deborah Strahorn – Brimestone Grant Coordinator

Tell Me a Story Festival

The Clarkston Cultural Literacy & Language Festival on Saturday, May 17, 2014 was an educational and informative success for the community.  The festival is a project of the Clarkston Early Learning Network (CELN). Its purpose is to showcase Clarkston and partner storytellers who share stories in English, and other languages. Literacy and language activities promote the importance of families singing, talking, and reading to their children in their native language.

 The theme for the 2nd annual festival was “Tell Me a Story”. Stories were told in English, Spanish, Somali, Nepali, Arabic, Dinka and Sign Language. The Festival started at 2:00 and ended well after 5:00 pm.  It is safe to say about 200 people attended of which 75 were children.  The families were treated to a wonderful afternoon of educational and entertaining activities.

 The festival featured Storytellers from the Brimstone applied Oral Storytelling  Initiative with Emmanual Gai Solomon as the MC. It also featured Gwen Napier (English), LaVerne Amponsah (English), Mohamud Barakut (English & Arabic), Ibrahim Barakut (English & Arabic), Abraham Deng Ater (English & Arabic) Fatima (English & Arabic), Abuk Wach (English), Nyanwal Ayon (English & Dinka), and Emmanuel Gai Solomon (English).  All of the above performed and told wonderful stories.

 LaVerne Amponsah and Gwendolyn Napier served as emcees for the first half of the program.  The festival successfully met the needs of everyone present.  Emmanuel Solomon of USASSCA also served as the emcee introducing the Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia.  The Kuumba Storytellers embraced the Clarkston Community with several African Stories including props, drumming and singing.  Also provided was a Kuumba display table of different African Artifacts to share with the audience.

 The Sudanese families performed and the stories were GREAT!  The stories were well received by the audience of adults and children. Emanuel performed his story “Who will put the bell around the cat’s neck?  By involving the children in his story he really brought the tale to life left smiles on everyone’s faces.   It was refreshing to see the strategies from the Kuumba storytelling workshops utilized and remembered.

 There was excitement in the teller’s voices and so many other signs of sure confidence.  This was another wonderful event for the Brimstone Project for connecting communities together with literacy and language.

 Gwendolyn Napier – Kuumba Vice President 2014 – 2016

Storytelling 102: Children’s Oral Storytelling Workshop

Workshop Presenter - Laverne Amponsah
Workshop Presenter – Laverne Amponsah

It was another wonderful day in the Clarkston Community for the Children’s Oral Storytelling Workshop. This was part of the BRIMSTONE PROJECT. We had a group that consisted of families with their children and adults. Kuumba Storytellers presented Storytelling Workshop 102 with Ernestine Brown, Laverne Amponsah, and Deborah Strahorn. Kuumba Storytellers, Janice Butt and Gwendolyn J. Napier served as Workshop Facilitators. Ernestine reflected back to Workshop 101 “The ABC’S of Storytelling” which was first presented to the group with Esther Culver, Janice Butt and Gwendolyn J. Napier on the importance of story selections and contents.  Janice reminded them to have a JUICY FACE when telling stories to reach the audience and that it was also helpful to use props and music to keep it simple – ‘KIS’. She concluded with a wonderful story that captivated the children.

Laverne informed the audience that there were different storytelling learning styles, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. The children were able to identify each. Several props were introduced to the children that consisted of original African instruments and dolls. Laverne also shared a story with the children about being different and that it is ok to love yourself for just being you. Deborah Strahorn introduced the components of story connections: the story, the audience, and the storyteller. She demonstrated call and response to the group and showed ways to use storytelling props when telling stories to young children. Her presentation was great and the stories she shared were fantastic.

Our Sudanese friends shared their stories and demonstrated what they had learned from both workshops. We heard stories that were told in Dinka & translated back into English. These were all Dinka children’s stories preserved so that they will be passed down from generation to generation. Handmade instruments were used during story time as an introduction into their stories.

You will have an opportunity to read the children’s stories when the book is published. You will also hear them told in the community by Kuumba Storytellers. This was a wonderful program which included delicious Sudanese food prepared by the wife of USASSCA member Ibrahim. We went back for seconds, thirds and even had an opportunity to take a plate home. Our plates were full of food, workshops, great stories, & new friends. If you missed this program make sure that you do not miss the next one coming soon.

Gwendolyn Napier – Kuumba Storytellers of GA Vice President

Brimstone Spring Workshop & Festival

Deborah Strahorn of Kuumba at Dec. 2013 Workshop
Deborah Strahorn of Kuumba at Dec. 2013 Workshop


Kuumba & USASSCA have been busy on the Brimestone project. Two big events are in the works and upcoming for the spring. One event is another storytelling workshop by Kuumba Storytellers on April 19th, 2014. The location is TBD.

The other event is the May 17 Tell Me a Story Festival at the Clarkston Community Center – Clarkston, GA. Stories collected as part of the Brimestone project will be presented at this festival. Stay tuned for more details on both events as we progress through the project.  – Chetter Galloway


Children’s Stories from Sudan: A Family Event

Sudanese participants at the family story sharing event.
Sudanese participants at the family story sharing event.

Rubbing his belly to make a point, Ibrahim, a Clarkston middle school student, retold a story his grandmother told him. He told the story with great ease and some humor, all in Arabic, to a receptive audience of parents, youth, and storytellers. The storytelling event, held at the Clarkston First Baptist Church, January 18, 2014, was sponsored by the Darfur Communities Network, in partnership with Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia, United Sudan and South Sudan Communities Association (USASSCA), and CDF-A Collective Action Initiative. Translation was provided by Basmet Ahmed organizer of the event, and Emmanuel Solomon, president, USASSCA.

One of the fathers shared a story that he was told as a child. As he acted out the story, complete with cries of “help” in Arabic, the audience recognized it as a story similar to “The Boy who Called Wolf.” This story was called “Lies and Consequences” and in this version, the wolf is replaced by a tiger.

Emmanuel shared a story in English (a story he has also written in Dinka) about a cat and a bell, a story with no ending. The story resulted in a discussion about leadership and strategy. One of the mothers told two stories, one about a cat and mice and the tricks the cat played on the mice. The second was an “ode” to Sudan. She has many more stories to share, and another meeting is planned to hear and record her stories.

Gwen Napier, a member of Kuumba and a storyteller, brought drums that she had made out of wood and showed the youth how to use tape over the wood to make a drum like sound. Gwen likes to use “props” when she tells stories and encouraged the storytellers to creatively use drums, puppets, costumes, and other props to enhance their stories.

The Sudanese children stories collected through the Brimstone Story Telling Project will be written in Arabic, Dinka, and English. This spring and summer, the stories will be shared with the Clarkston community by the Sudanese storytellers.

The goal of the Brimstone award to the Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia is to collect, write, and disseminate oral children’s stories from Sudan.

For more information: Roberta Malavenda,