Thursday, October 31, 2013

Memories of My Childhood: Tales by Moonlight.

Image courtesy of Google Images

I have always had this undying love for African folklore. Even as a child, I remember how I would quickly go through hundreds of pages of storybooks that were given to us at school, to the chagrin of my Dad, who usually thought the books would have me silent for a couple of days :). For some strange reason, as I drove to work today I began to think about the things that kept me busy during weeknights and weekends during my early years, and one thing that stood out was "Tales by Moonlight".

As a child growing up in Nigeria, this was a programme that many looked forward to viewing each week. Unfortunately, I can't seem to remember what day it aired on NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) but, I do remember how the following morning's discussions at school focused mainly on the story viewed the evening before.

Tales by Moonlight was an awesome kids' show that had the lovely lady storyteller (I think she was Aunty Nkem or something) share folktales with a group of girls and boys in a village setting. These stories, as the title of the show suggests, were narrated in the evening by moonlight. Oh! How I miss those days. As soon as I heard her say "Story story", I would be automatically hypnotized by the TV for the next 30-35 minutes. Not even my favorite meal could take my eyes away from the screen. 

Well, Aunty would then magically transport us viewers into storyland as voice/ human actors re-enacted the story being narrated, depending on the nature of the story. Two of my favorites were "Why the Tortoise Has a Cracked Shell" and "Why the Sky is so High". These stories were not only entertaining, but also taught very valuable lessons/morals at the end. Let's not forget the colourful "Chocomilo kids are here" ad that ended with the "Chewy, Chocolaty Chunks of Fun tagline."

Sigh! If only we would continue to show some of these programmes, children would learn a lot from these instead of the "Ben 10s" and "Generator Rexs" that have nothing valuable to teach these children. Sadly, favorites like "By the Fireside" and "Thursday Theatre" just faded away into oblivion.

Do my Nigerian friends remember "Tales by Moonlight"? To my Ghanaian/other friends, remember any interesting programmes from your childhood? Please share.


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